NEWS | July 23, 2020

Attack Submarine USS Minnesota Earns Meritorious Unit Commendation

By Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic Public Affairs

The Secretary of the Navy awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) to the crew of the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Minnesota (SSN 783), July 9.

The award recognized the crew for their outstanding performance during their deployment to the U.S. European Command area of operations from June to December 2019.

Capt. Ted O'Harrah, commodore of Commander, Task Force 69 based in Naples, Italy, emphasized the importance of Minnesota’s contributions to national security, allied support, and maritime stability.

“Minnesota's skill and dedication to the mission while forward deployed in support of maritime security operations was remarkable and extremely worthy of this recognition," said O'Harrah. "Time and again Cmdr. Flaherty and his superb crew reinforced the 6th Fleet legacy of providing 'Power for Peace' in concert with our NATO allies and partners."

Minnesota is homeported in Groton, Connecticut at Naval Submarine Base New London and assigned to Submarine Squadron 4, which is part of the Atlantic Submarine Force.

According to the award citation, Minnesota’s crew "conducted demanding missions vital to national security and multiple theater anti-submarine warfare operations and simulated combat engagements. Minnesota’s tactical focus, precise reporting, and excellent reliability resulted in a high-interest intelligence event, the success of which reflected the superb training of the crew. The ship also conducted the first forward-deployed weapons handling event in Norway, exercising a critical wartime capability and delivering a strong strategic message of forward combat presence to allies and potential adversaries alike.”

Minnesota’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Thomas Flaherty, praised the crew for their dedication and commitment.

“My crew worked tirelessly to conduct the first forward-deployed weapons handling event in Norway, demonstrating our nation’s power and capabilities,” said Flaherty. “I am extremely proud of our Viking team for their dedication to excellence and commitment to the mission.”

Vice Adm. Daryl Caudle, commander, Submarine Forces, said Minnesota’s deployment is a great example of the major impact and unique capabilities our undersea forces continuously provide to their operational commanders.

“Minnesota’s ability to flawlessly conduct deployed operations and maintain superior combat readiness is a testament to the outstanding Minnesota crew,” said Caudle. “I couldn’t be more proud of their efforts to improve our wartime lethality and help sustain America’s maritime superiority.”

The Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation is awarded to any unit of the Navy or Marine Corps that has distinguished itself, under combat or non-combat conditions, by either valorous or meritorious achievement, which renders the unit outstanding compared to other units performing similar service. Former Secretary of the Navy John T. McNaughton established the MUC in 1967 to recognize units which display valorous or meritorious achievement.

Minnesota was commissioned Sept. 7, 2013, and is the third U.S. warship to bear the name and the second of two named for the state. It is 377 feet long and holds a crew of approximately 147, consisting of 18 officers and 129 enlisted Sailors.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.