On January 21, 1954, Nautilus was christened and launched into the Thames River. On January 17, 1955, the message “Underway On Nuclear Power” was sent and changed the Navy forever. The world’s first nuclear powered submarine, Nautilus will forever stand as a testament to innovation and the incredible advancements in technology made after WWII. It is well known that besides being the first nuclear powered submarine, Nautilus was also the first vessel to pass under the North Pole, making history with the message “Nautilus 90 North” Her achievements have forever been immortalized at the Submarine Force Museum. The museum preserve submarine heritage. It is the only place in the world where someone can gain a first-hand look at this historic landmark. Nautilus was designated a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior on May 20, 1982. On April 11 1986, eighty-six years to the day after the birth of the Submarine Force, Historic Ship Nautilus was opened to the public. The role of maintaining and running the nautilus and the museum falls to the Officer in Charge. As we celebrate the 64th anniversary of the nautilus christening, we also say goodbye to one officer and welcome another.
According to the United States Navy regulations in Article 0807, the Change of charge ceremony has the outgoing CO call all hands to muster and reads the order of detachment and turn over the command to his or her relief who will then read the orders of relief and assume the command. The new commanding officer will salute the outgoing officer and say, “I relieve you sir.” To add to the events of list of events in January for the historic ship, such change of charge occurred on January 16th, as her crew said goodbye to LCDR Reginald Preston and welcomed LCDR Bradly Boyd.
LCDR Reginald Preston came to the Nautilus in April 2016, following in the footsteps of the directors before him who took on the task of maintaining the legacy of one of the most important submarines in the US Navy. Originally, from Lyman, Nebraska, LCDR Preston received his commission through the Naval reserve Officer Training Corps in 2003. Following the completion of nuclear power training, he reported to USS Helena in San Diego, California. Qualifying in Submarines on Helena, he served as the Chemical and Radiological Controls Assistant, Assistant Operation Officer, and interim Engineer Officer. In 2010, he reported to the USS Chicago where served as Engineer Officer. While on the Chicago, he would help transform her back into a warship ‘certified for tasking’ in the Seventh Fleet area of responsibility after a homeport shift to Guam. He would go on to serve as both the Operations Officer at Submarine Group Two and the Chief of Staff for the enlisted Women in Submarines task Force. His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, and navy Achievement medal. During his time at Historic Ship Nautilus, LCDR Preston has only maintained the excellent recorded of OIC’s at the museum. His work at the museum only furthered the museums mission to be a highly regarded museum and a must stop for those traveling in the area. LCDR Preston also “led a team of experts in rewriting the technical requirements for nautilus which previously necessitated the ship to be maintained at a level nearly commensurate with operational submarines. Preston’s revised requirements not only allowed for cost-wise upkeep and maintenance at a level that preserves Nautilus for futures generations, but did so with the expectation the ship would continue to host more than 150,000 visitors annually.” He was also “instrumental in laying the groundwork to establish a future water taxi dock at the museum. As one of almost 20 Historic and cultural sites on the banks of the Thames River, the Submarine Force Museum is one of four anchor sites in the Thames River Heritage Park.” His next tour will be as the Director of Submarine On-Board Training at naval Submarine Base New London. While the crew and staff will miss him, they wish him well in his next placement and look to the future with LCDR Bradley Boyd.
LCDR Boyd, a graduate of Ohio State University, received his commission through the naval Reserve Officer Training Corps in 2004. In 2011, he earned a Master of the Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. In 2006 he reported to the USS Dallas, (one of the older submarines in the fleet) as the Main Propulsion Assistant, Damage Control Assistant, Quality Assurance Officer, Assistant Operations Officer, and interim Weapons Officer. In 2011, he reported to USS Bremerton in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii as the Navigation/Operations Officer. LCDR has been awarded the Navy Commendation Medal and the Navy Achievement Medal and various campaign and unit awards. During the speech at the Change of Charge ceremony, LCDR Boyd remarked how he went from one old boat to another, the Dallas to the Bremerton. He went on to say how it was only fitting to end up at the oldest Nuclear Powered submarine the Navy had. Both Preston and Boyd remarked at the difficult task running a museum ship can be. There is no training for such things in the Navy. Despite the learning curve and the difficulties that arise, both officers emphasize the importance of the museum as a place for submarine history to be preserved. It functions as a learning environment for those new to the force to see the greatness that they have entered into as well as a place for veterans to come and honor their past. It also serves as the bridge for those outside the service to understand the achievements and sacrifices these sailors have made. LCDR Preston was stated how he was honored to have served in such as position and Boyd is excited to step into the shoes and help usher the museum forward.