By Kevin Copeland, Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic Public Affairs
NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Cmdr. Chris Osborn relieved Cmdr. Scott Luers as commanding officer of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Boise (SSN 764) during a ceremony held onboard the submarine at Naval Station Norfolk, Aug. 21.
A native of Westminster, Md., Luers earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ocean Engineering from the Naval Academy in 1995, and a Master's Degree in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University in 2007.
"I am truly proud of all that Boise has accomplished over the past few years," said Luers. However, I can take credit for very little. While much of what you'll hear today centers around Cmdr. Osborn and me, the truth, as any skipper worth his salt will tell you, is that each and every accolade and recognition received by the ship was the result of a stellar, professional, enthusiastic crew of submarine Sailors.
"Steaming over 33,000 miles during our recent Central Command deployment, a distance equivalent to circumnavigating the earth one and a quarter times, these Sailors faced numerous material, psychological and physical challenges and overcame each to return safely home to our loved ones. In doing so they sailed in four different theaters of operation, conducting missions vital to our national security in some of the most heavily transited, shallow waters of the world, and executed numerous port visits and goodwill events. Each of these told friend and foe alike, in no uncertain terms, that the United States was present and accounted for, and knowledge of our professionalism added a high degree of uncertainty to their calculations. All the while we operated, far from friendly ports, these Sailors kept their 23-year-old ship running smoothly."
Luers assumed command of Boise, Feb. 22, 2013, as the submarine's 10th commanding officer. Under his command, the submarine completed a deployment to the Central Command Area of Responsibility, Jan. 16, 2015, where the crew executed four missions vital to national and global security. The submarine was also awarded the 2014 Commander, Submarine Squadron Six Battle Efficiency Award.
"Crew of Boise, I am honored and humbled to have been your commanding officer," said Luers. "I consider you true shipmates, and look forward to our paths crossing again, as they inevitably will. Congratulations on everything you have accomplished. Keep up the great work that I have witnessed every day, defending our nation while serving onboard this amazing submarine as a Bronco. Chris, it is now your turn. You bring an impeccable record to BOISE and, based on my short 30 day observation, are a slam-dunk to take Boise into the next chapter in her history. Congratulations!"
Luers' next duty will be as the operations officer in the Operations and Special Operations Directorate at SUBLANT. Capt. Paul Snodgrass, Commander, Submarine Squadron Six and immediate superior in the chain of command, presented Luers with his second Meritorious Service Medal.
Brian O'Neill, Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic's (SUBLANT) deputy operations and special operations officer, and retired U.S. Navy captain who was Luers commanding officer onboard the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Albany (753), was the guest speaker.
"Boise is a superbly designed and constructed submarine," said O'Neill. "It is the finest most sophisticated warship ever built; encompassing the most advanced technologies man has developed. They are a tribute to human ingenuity, genius and craftsmanship. But the key element is really the men who serve aboard this magnificent ship, the fine crew of USS Boise. You joined the world's finest navy and then signed up for one of the most respected fraternal organizations in the history of naval warfare - the United States Submarine Service. You represent the top 4% of the U. S. Navy. Hold your heads high and be proud of your service."
"Submariners work hard and they must be an opportunity for to have fun, but it isn't all fun. The goal is always mission accomplishment and Scott and the entire Boise team have been doing just that. Under Scott's leadership, Boise successfully completed four nationally-tasked missions in four different areas of responsibility. Those missions are the cool ones we can't talk about. The Boise team did a fantastic job, in fact, they were the first boat in the history of the submarine force to accomplish some portions of the mission. Scott is a superb example of patriotism, leadership, sacrifice and dedication to duty.
"Chris, congratulations on being selected to relieve on Boise. You stand on the threshold of an adventure. Please embrace your tour and be sure to share the magic and sense of adventure with your entire crew. I envy you."
Osborn's previous duty assignment was the Submarine Readiness and Military Construction Officer at SUBLANT. A native of Freeland, Mich., he enlisted in the Navy in 1990 as a nuclear-trained Electrician's Mate. Selected for the Nuclear Enlisted Commissioning Program, he earned his Bachelors of Science Degree (Summa Cum Laude) in Mechanical Engineering from Auburn University. He received his commission through the Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Fla., in October 1997.
He earned his Masters of Science in Operations Research from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. His thesis on the at-sea effects of an alternate watch standing schedule for U.S. submariners garnered an Excellence in Undersea Warfare Technology award from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center.
"I would like to thank the mighty crew and exceptional families of the USS Boise," said Osborn. "I cannot express enough how blessed, privileged, and excited I am to be your commanding officer. Your team spirit and esprit-de-corps is unlike any other, and I look forward to continuing with you Boise's long legacy of excellence. I know many of you have worked very hard taking this fine warship thousands of miles from friendly shores on your recent deployment, and through your untiring efforts, have been able to share in many successes. Together, we will prepare Boise to execute a full range of war fighting capability in her next decade of service. Our mission will be challenging, but I know of no better crew who is up to the task. I cannot wait to tackle the challenges that lay ahead for us."
Dignitaries attended the ceremony were former Secretary of the Interior, U.S. Idaho Senator, and Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne; Boise Councilwoman Elaine Clegg; retired Vice Adm. Al Konetzi; and Tom Killingsworth, Chairman of Boise Commissioning Committee.
Fast-attack submarines like USS Boise are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence. The submarine is designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare - from open ocean anti-submarine warfare to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to projecting power ashore with Special Operation Forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or preparation of regional crises.
Boise was built by Newport News Shipbuilding and commissioned November 7, 1992. The 360-foot submarine is the second naval ship to be named in honor of the city of Boise. The crew compliment includes 13 officers and 116 enlisted Sailors.