Cmdr. Will Wiley official photo


The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS John Warner (SSN 785) conducted a change of command at Naval Station Norfolk, Dec. 18.

Cmdr. Ryan Heineman relieved Cmdr. Will Wiley as commanding officer of John Warner.

Capt. Jeffrey Juergens, commodore, Submarine Squadron 6, offered remarks and commended Wiley on a successful tour.

“John Warner has won the Battle ‘E’ for being the best submarine in the largest submarine squadron every year Will has been in command,” said Juergens. “The boat has also received the highest grade in engineering inspection every year Will has been in command, something I don’t think has ever been done before. Will also won the Stockdale award for being the best commanding officer in the entire Navy. I truly don’t know how Will’s commanding officer tour could have gone better. He was given a good boat, a stellar crew, and he did everything he could to produce absolutely eye watering results.”

Wiley spoke of his role as commanding officer and reflected on his time spent with the boat’s crew.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve as the commanding officer for John Warner and this outstanding crew,” said Wiley. “They have done everything I’ve asked during my tour regardless of the situation or challenge facing them. It doesn’t matter what we put in front of them, from nation state aggressors to COVID-19, they find a way to accomplish the mission. They hail from the Bay Area of California to Beacon, New York, and for almost two years pursued excellence on a daily basis in order to maximize the lethality of this great warship.”

Wiley’s next assignment is at Naval Reactors Line Locker in Washington, D.C.

Upon assuming command, Heineman expressed his eagerness to lead John Warner’s crew and begin tackling challenges together.

“I look forward to the exceptional opportunity to be the commanding officer of John Warner,” said Heineman. “Like any ship, we will face challenges going forward and I’m eager for the chance to work through those with this high performing crew. I’m confident my experience and training by the Submarine Force prepared me to take on the responsibility of commanding officer. I could not be more excited to serve with this crew of dedicated Sailors as we work toward deployment.”

Fast-attack submarines 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.

John Warner is the 12th Virginia-class attack submarine and the first ship to bear the name of Senator, John Warner. The submarine was built by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation, Groton, Conn., and commissioned Aug. 1, 2015. The 377-foot ship has a current crew complement of 15 officers and 117 enlisted Sailors and displaces more than 7,800 tons of water.

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