When Cmdr. Roger Meyer led the attack submarine Miami on a successful five-month deployment in 2010, he couldn’t have known he’d be the last commanding officer to take the boat on patrol.
But a May 2012 fire set by a worker at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, effectively ended the Miami’s service life. Despite a 10-hour effort to battle the blaze, led by Meyer, it would’ve cost $450 million to repair the sub — an expenditure that the Navy decided in August wasn’t worth it.
Instead of 10 more years of service, five more deployments and a handful more commanding officers, the Miami held what’s scheduled to be its final change-of-command ceremony Friday in a shipyard auditorium. Cmdr. Rolf Spelker relieved Meyer and will lead what remains of the crew until the ship’s inactivation, set for spring.
“The crew’s resiliency over the last two years is a true testament to their upstanding character,” Spelker, who’ll leave his post as action officer in the force structure, resources and assessment directorate under the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said in a Friday news release. “I will do everything I can to continue the proud legacy of the USS Miami team.”
That team is now a 150-person crew, with 65 of those sailors in the process of transferring, according to the release. More than 70 Miami crew members have served with deploying sub crews since the ship entered the yard, the release said; eight of those are currently on deployment, The Day newspaper reported Friday.
The sub was commissioned in 1990. The shipyard worker found guilty of setting the fire was sentenced in March to more than 17 years in prison.