NORFOLK, Va. – Cmdr. David Grogan relieved Capt. Jesse Zimbauer as commanding officer of the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Indiana (SSN 789), October 12, 2018, during a change of command ceremony held at the Eli Hall on Naval Station Norfolk.
Zimbauer assumed command of Indiana in February 2015 and, following the change of command, will report to Commander, Submarine Squadron Six.
“When we start qualifications as a new submarine, by instruction you start with the commanding officer and the engineering officer as the only qualified people, and we build from there,” Zimbauer said. “It has been amazing being in the shipyard and watching the whole ship and crew come together.”
During his remarks, Zimbauer recognized those who have had the biggest impact in shaping his career — his family, friends and shipmates past — and shared with them the most enjoyable part about being the commanding officer of a submarine.
“For me, being one of the crew is my favorite part about this job,” Zimbauer said. “It’s a very hard job but I’ve had a very cheerful, motivated crew. We do a job that has consequence to it and has service to the nation, and, at the end of the day, this job is about standing up and doing something for the great people of this country.”
Former Director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion, Adm. (Ret) Kirkland Donald, was the feature speaker and presided over the event, and lauded Zimbauer for his consummate professionalism, submarining expertise, and presence and leadership on the Norfolk waterfront.
“Command at sea is the ultimate test for naval officers. We frequently refer to it as the crucible. It is the best job you will ever have, and at the same time, the most stressful,” said Donald. “Captain Zimbauer, your promotion to the rank of captain is based more on what the Navy believes you are capable of verses what you have done. You will continue to be challenged in the days to come but rest assured that the days on this ship prepared you for that challenge.”
Grogan reports to Indiana from Naval Submarine School Groton, where he served as the executive officer.
“Captain Zimbauer, thank you for providing the greatest gift any new commanding officer could ask for: a well-trained crew and an immaculate ship,” said Grogan, and followed with a message to the crew. “Indiana, you’ve built a high-performance race car from scratch, completed performance tests, and time-trials. You’ve expertly completed every twist and turn in the track and exceeded expectations in earning your place at the front of the starting grid. We’ll now take her for a final tune up before we start the race of our lives, our first deployment. Start your engines. Hooyah, Hoosiers!”
The Indiana is a flexible, multi-mission platform designed to carry out the seven core competencies of the submarine force: anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, delivery of special operations forces, strike warfare, irregular warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and mine warfare.
It’s 377 feet long and 34 feet wide and weighs nearly 7,800 tons, powered by a nuclear reactor to push the boat through water at speeds of more than 25 knots while submerged.