HMAS STIRLING, Australia -- Rear Adm. Rick Seif, commander, Submarine Group 7/Task Force (CTF) 74, visited Perth, Australia, to meet with the Sailors of the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Asheville (SSN 758) during its port visit to Royal Australian Navy (RAN) base HMAS Stirling, March 13-16.
While visiting, Seif was the senior U.S. Navy representative for multiple distinguished visitor tours of Asheville. The tours included visits by Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, Treasurer Jim Chalmers, and Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy, as well as leaders in the Australian defense industry and guests of the U.S. Consulate General Perth.
"The U.S.-Australia Alliance is ironclad," said Seif. "Our countries have long put forward a vision of peace and stability, and a commitment to the international rules-based order. By demonstrating increased submarine capabilities in Australia, we enhance our integrated deterrence and help maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific."
One opportunity to demonstrate U.S. submarine capabilities was through an underway embark for a group of Australian and diplomatic guests, organized by the U.S. Embassy, U.S. Consulate Perth and CTF 74. Guests were allowed a rare chance to see what life is like at sea onboard a nuclear-powered submarine and interact with the Asheville’s Sailors.
Seif also met with senior RAN leaders, including Vice Adm. Jonathan Mead, Chief Nuclear Powered Submarine Task Force, who toured the submarine with Marles, and Rear Admiral Matt Buckley, Head of Capability, Nuclear-Powered Submarine Taskforce, who accompanied Seif on the underway embark.
“Having the opportunity to take key stakeholders on a nuclear-powered submarine at sea was an experience few people get to see in their lifetime,” said Buckley. “Seeing the operations up-close and the knowledge and discipline of the U.S. submariners makes me excited for the Royal Australian Navy’s nuclear submarine future, and for the training our RAN officers and sailors will receive over the coming years.”
While Asheville was moored pierside, Seif held an all-hands call for the crew. There, he presented Lt. j.g. Michael Nix a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his work onboard, and pinned the “dolphins” on two newly-qualified junior submarine officers, Lt. j.g. Scott Seel and Lt. j.g. Zach Cutter, who was aboard Asheville, but is permanently assigned to another Los Angeles-class submarine, USS Springfield (SSN 761). The submarine warfare insignia, known as "dolphins" or "fish," is a pin worn on the uniforms of enlisted and officers of the U.S. Navy to indicate that they are qualified in submarines. To earn the right to wear the pin, aspiring submariners must successfully complete a rigorous qualification process.
Asheville is assigned to Commander, Submarine Squadron (COMSUBRON) 15, which is located at Polaris Point, Naval Base Guam, in Apra Harbor, Guam, and consists of four Los Angeles-class attack submarines. The submarines are maintained as part of the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed submarine force and are readily capable of meeting global operational requirements.
This is the third U.S. Navy submarine to visit HMAS Stirling in the past 12 months. The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Springfield visited in April 2022, and the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Mississippi (SSN 782) visited in November 2022.
Submarine Group 7 directs forward-deployed, combat capable forces across the full spectrum of undersea warfare throughout the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Arabian Sea.
For more news from Commander, Submarine Group 7, visit www.csp.navy.mil/csg7/.