NORFOLK (NNS) -- A Pre-Commissioning Unit California (SSN 781) Sailor, originally from Compton, Calif., reflects on serving aboard the Navy's newest Virginia-class submarine on the eve of her commissioning, Oct. 29.
"As a native Californian, I'm proud to represent the Golden State," said Chief Culinary Specialist (SS) Luis Siguenza, who is one of 12 Sailors from California assigned to the submarine. "This is a great crew that has been working hard to prepare for the commissioning."
Siguenza was promoted to the rank of chief petty officer in September and is not the only member of his family currently serving in the U.S. Navy.
His older brother, Chief Machinist's Mate (SW) Carlos Siguenza, who was also selected for chief petty officer this past cycle, is currently stationed aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). The brothers' nephew Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic (AW) Edwin Siguenza is stationed in Atsugi, Japan. The two brothers and nephew all joined the Navy in the 1990s.
When asked why he joined the Navy, "It was a way to get out of the neighborhood and see the world," said Siguenza. "I also had talked to my brother, who joined the Navy before me, and his service inspired me."
Cmdr. Dana Nelson, California's commanding officer reflects on the pride he has for the 137-member crew of enlisted and officers whose average age is 27.
"The crew of California is talented, hard working, and resilient, really everything you would want and is a shining example of what is right with America today," said Nelson.
Sailors serving aboard this submarine are the backbone of the Submarine Force's success. As it has been done for the past 111 years, the Submarine Force's ability to maintain undersea superiority depends on the dedicated, technically skilled and engaged undersea warriors serving the nation today and into the future.
"Saturday's event is a great day in the life of a ship representing the beginning of our life in the Fleet and the end of the construction phase," said Nelson. "It's also a time to pause and reflect on the hard work by the crew and the professionals from the shipyard to Hunting Ingalls Industries - Newport News Shipbuilding and General Dynamics Electric Boat in order to answer the nation's calling."
The partnership between the shipbuilders and the Navy has proven to be a key factor in the success of the Virginia-class acquisition program. The cooperative efforts of this team are evident today as the USS California becomes the latest in the series of submarines ready to defend our national interests.
California is designed to dominate both the littorals and deep oceans and will serve as a valuable asset in supporting the core capabilities of the Maritime Strategy. California will be commissioned Oct. 29 at Naval Station Norfolk. The ceremony, which begins at 11 a.m., will be streamed live on www.navy.mil.
For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/Subgru2/.