BOISE, Idaho — The USS IDAHO welcomed its new commander, Randall Leslie, during a change of command ceremony held at the Submarine Base New London Friday afternoon.
The pre-commissioning of crew members is a routine for U.S. Navy vessels, during the construction phase to prepare for its eventual launch. The USS IDAHO is the first Navy vessel to be named after Idaho in over 100 years.
The submarine is a Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, and is set to be commissioned into active US Navy service in 2025. Since 2020, U.S. Navy Commander Nicholas Meyers has been in charge of the submarine's crew; Commander Randall Leslie took the helm as the unit's new commander on Friday, Dec. 2, in Groton, Connecticut.
For the last two years, Commander Meyers led many visits with his crew members to Idaho, in order to enjoy Idaho's famous hospitality. During those visits, crew members would participate in parades, attend sports events, take backcountry snowmobile trips, visit the Idaho National Laboratory and river raft.
In a statement, Commander Meyers said, "I am grateful and deeply honored for all the support I received over the past few years from this outstanding crew, the squadron staff, the patriotic shipbuilders at Electric Boat, people of the great state of Idaho and, perhaps most of all, my wonderful family," Meyers said. "I look forward to seeing all that the future-USS Idaho accomplishes under the skillful leadership of Cmdr. Leslie, and in defense of the United States of America."
When speaking of his predecessor, newly appointed Commander Leslie said, "Cmdr. Meyers' inspiring leadership has prepared the crew of the future USS Idaho to be successful for many years to come. It's a true honor for me to take command now and serve with this tremendous crew as we work with our Electric Boat teammates to get the Gem of the Fleet ready for sea," said Leslie.
Former Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne leads the USS Idaho Commissioning Committee and serves as an advisory board chair; he had this to say of the former commander:
"Commander Nick Meyers has done an exceptional and exemplary job of carrying out the roles of building up the crew to readiness standards, building rapport with the shipyard workers, building rapport with the submarine's namesake state and building the culture of the ship in a way that embodies the values, history and ethics of the Great State of Idaho," said Kempthorne.
Governor Kempthorne also noted that the motto of the ship reflects Idaho's own state motto: "Esto Perpetua," or, Let it be forever.
The USS Idaho Commissioning Committee is hoping for more future crew visits to the state and is looking forward to welcoming Commander Leslie while he becomes familiar with our state and our citizens.
"I could not have reached this point without the sage advice of my Navy mentors over the years and the loving support of my family, and to them, I express my deepest gratitude," said Leslie. "To the Sailors of Idaho, I'm truly excited to join you as we carry on the warfighting legacy of the men and women that have served throughout the history of the land we now call Idaho."
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