By MC2 Tyler Caswell
The Navy's top submarine commander welcomed the future submariners of the U.S. Naval Academy's Class of 2017 to the fleet at a dinner and reception Feb. 27.
Commander, Submarine Forces, Vice Adm. Joe Tofalo addressed the 134 first-class midshipmen who were selected to be submariners about the current and future capabilities status of the submarine community.
"You are the future of the submarine community, and we need you to ... step up to be part of this legacy we have," said Tofalo. "If you think about a submarine, there is not one single defensive weapon on a sub. We are all teeth."
Tofalo said that during World War II submarines made up less than 2 percent of U.S. Navy forces but were responsible for about 55 percent of maritime losses.
"Now submarines are responsible for over 50 percent of our nation's nuclear weapons," he said.
The assignment dinner is an annual event and represents a unique opportunity for the midshipmen to meet fleet submarine officers and be welcomed into the community.
"All of these senior submarine officers are here tonight, because they want to be here with you," said Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter. "I am thrilled you are here tonight. This is a special community. The past warrior spirit of the Navy is here, and I believe the future of warfare is here in this class of 2017."
Midshipmen were greeted by senior submarine officers including Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Integration of Capabilities and Resources Vice Adm. Joe Mulloy, Director of Strategic Systems Programs Vice Adm. Terry Benedict, Director of Innovation, Technology Requirements and Test & Evaluation Rear Adm. David J. Hahn, and Program Executive Officer for Submarines Rear Adm. Michael E. Jabaley.
"It’s exciting because we are offered a perspective at the highest level," said Midshipman 1st Megan Hartman. "We get an overall view of what the submarine community is doing as a whole. It’s really valuable to have them here giving an overarching picture of the community they are welcoming us into."
The Naval Academy Class of 2017 received their service assignments Nov. 17, 2016, and will graduate May 26.