Minnesota's namesake ship recognized as best ship in the Atlantic Fleet

Minnesota submarine
GROTON, Conn. (Dec. 20, 2019) Sailors assigned to the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Minnesota (SSN 783) stand topside as they pull into their homeport at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn., Dec 20, 2019, following a deployment. Minnesota deployed to execute the chief of naval operation’s maritime strategy in supporting national security interests and maritime security operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steven Hoskins/Released)

GROTON, Conn. — Minnesota’s namesake ship, the USS Minnesota, was recently recognized as the best ship in the Atlantic Fleet after winning the Battenberg Cup Award, according to a news release from the U.S. Navy.

The Battenberg Cup Award is presented annually to the ship, or submarine, selected by the fleet commander as the best all-around in the Atlantic Fleet based on accumulation of crew achievements.

The Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine is based out of Naval Submarine Base in New London, Connecticut. Under the command of Cmdr. Thomas Flaherty, Minnesota’s crew achieved excellence in all aspects of submarine operations.

"Every Minnesota sailor should be proud of their record of sustained excellence and superior teamwork,” said Adm. Christopher Grady, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

During her numerous operations, Minnesota outperformed peers and amassed unmatched standings by achieving first-place marks in overall battle efficiency, engineering readiness, personnel metrics, weapons readiness and communication.


“The crew of USS Minnesota went above and beyond during their numerous operational commitments in 2019, and are incredibly deserving of this prestigious award,” said Vice Adm. Daryl Caudle, commander, Submarine Forces. “I am immensely proud of these warriors who have demonstrated sustained excellence in submarining, unbounded energy and professional enthusiasm. Thanks to their hard work and relentless dedication, Minnesota directly contributed to maintaining the undersea dominance of the Submarine Force.”

Minnesota also won the 2019 Retention Excellence Award that recognizes superior command accomplishment in executing programs and policies that best enable sailors to succeed in naval careers.

"It is a proud moment for our Viking team, and we are honored to receive this award," Flaherty said in the news release. "I am extremely proud of my crew's accomplishments, including a very successful deployment to the European Theater. The Viking team demonstrated sustained excellence across multiple mission areas and continues to exercise tactical initiative and expertise."

Commissioned on Sept. 7, 2013, Minnesota is the 10th Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine. It is the first submarine to bear the name Minnesota and the third U.S. Navy vessel to carry the name Minnesota. It is 377 feet long with a beam of 34 feet. Virginia-class, fast attack submarines have a crew of approximately 149 made up of 18 officers and 131 enlisted Sailors.

Fast-attack submarines like Minnesota are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities — sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence. They are designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare. Fast-attack submarines project power ashore with special operations forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or preparation of regional crises.

USS Mitscher and USS John C. Stennis were also nominated as best all-around within their commands, and were congratulated for their performance.

“Outstanding achievements by the crews of each command made the selection process extremely difficult,” Grady said. “All finalists distinguished themselves by their exceptional performance, and can be justifiably proud of their accomplishments.”

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at
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