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    Naval Submarine School holds change of command

    Naval Submarine School welcomes new Commanding Officer

    Photo By Petty Officer 3rd Class Maxwell Higgins | 220128-N-MQ631-1066 GROTON, Conn. (DJAN. 28, 2022) Capt. Eric Sager, left, properly...... read more read more



    Story by Ensign Charles E. Spirtos 

    Naval Submarine School

    GROTON, Conn. -- Capt. Eric M. Sager relieved Capt. Steven W. Antcliff as commanding officer of the Naval Submarine School (NSS) during a change of command ceremony at Naval Submarine Base New London on January 28, 2022.

    Capt. Jack D. Houdeshell, commanding officer, Submarine Learning Center, served as the presiding officer and Capt. (ret.) Denis Boyer, submarine force subject matter expert, or graybeard, served as guest speaker.

    Boyer stressed the importance of NSS in maintaining submarine force readiness, and lauded Antcliff for his achievements as the leader of NSS during a historically unprecedented time in the nation’s history. For his accomplishments during his tenure as commanding officer, Antcliff was presented with the Legion of Merit.

    “The Navy’s mission is relentless, especially during this challenging time, and the American people will continue to rely on us to defend them from harm and protect our national interests around the world,” said Boyer.

    “The responsibilities of our Naval Submarine School are absolutely essential to the wider mission of helping our submarines become combat ready ships with battle-minded crews that are truly resolute, ready, and lethal.”

    Boyer praised Antcliff’s leadership in managing the NSS’s large student throughput—about 1,700 students per day on average—in the context of a global pandemic which forced the Navy to rapidly adapt to a new operating environment.

    “Thankfully, you were able to nimbly lead our team and we remained focused on the mission,” said Boyer. “You stepped up and delivered workable [solutions], no doubt benefitting the entire submarine force.

    Antcliff credited the success of his tour at NSS to the dedication and versatility of the staff.

    “The staff and students at NSS taught me a lot about tenacity in the past 24 months,” said Antcliff.

    “When faced with the challenge of COVID within weeks of my change of command, tenacity kept the schoolhouse open and graduating Sailors to man the fleet. Sub School never stopped training Sailors or preparing submarine crews for deployment, even during the height of the pandemic. Their tenacity resulted in the graduation of over 70,000 students.”

    Sager gave a message of encouragement to the NSS staff and looked forward to a productive tenure as commanding officer.

    “NSS staff, I am impressed by your professionalism and am excited to be joining a top-notch team. I challenge you to raise the bar as we reach for new heights!” said Sager.

    Sager also issued a challenge to the students at NSS, saying that “you must work hard to answer the call and ensure you are optimally prepared.”

    Antcliff enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear machinist’s mate in 1990 and earned his commission through the Enlisted Commissioning Program in 1996 after graduating from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He earned his Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College in 2012.

    At sea, Antcliff served as junior officer aboard USS Narwhal (SSN 671) and USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (SSN 708); engineer officer aboard USS Connecticut (SSN 22); executive officer aboard USS Miami (SSN 755); and commanding officer aboard USS Virginia (SSN 774).

    Antcliff’s shore tours included submarine watch officer and regional employment officer for Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic; force radiological controls officer and assistant force nuclear power officer for Commander, Submarine Force Pacific; and as deputy director of training at Naval Submarine School in 2016, and then as prospective commanding officer instructor. He will be continuing on to serve as the commanding officer of the Submarine Learning Center.

    Antcliff’s personal decorations include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards), and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards).

    Sager is a native of Weymouth, Massachusetts. He received his commission in 1998 after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. Sager also received a Master of Science in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University.

    At sea, Sager’s assignments include service as a division officer aboard USS Honolulu (SSN 718) where he completed a Western Pacific deployment; engineer officer aboard USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740) (Gold) where he completed four strategic deterrent patrols; and as executive officer aboard USS Norfolk (SSN 714), where he completed a deployment to the U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Central Command areas of responsibility.

    Sager commanded USS California (SSN 781), leading his crew on an unplanned surge deployment and a scheduled U.S. European Command deployment in 2016. His team was awarded the 2016 Battle “E” and was the Submarine Force nomination for the 2016 Fleet Forces Battenberg Cup. Sager is a recipient of the 2017 Vice Admiral Stockdale Award for Inspirational Leadership for his time in command.

    Ashore, Sager has served in various positions including at Nuclear Power Training Unit; Submarine Squadrons 16 and 20; on the staff of Commander, Submarine Forces as the Tactical Readiness Evaluation team executive officer, deputy commodore of Submarine Squadron 12, director of the Undersea Forces Aggressor Squadron, and as the Submarine Force Atlantic Prospective Commanding Officer instructor.

    Sager is privileged to have been a part of many outstanding teams having earned three retention excellence awards, four Battle “E” awards, two Meritorious Unit Commendations, a Navy Unit Commendation, and the Arleigh Burke Trophy.

    The Naval Submarine School (NSS) is part of the Submarine Learning Center, and builds a foundation upon which officers and enlisted personnel are prepared to develop the competence and proficiency in skills necessary to operate and maintain their submarines.

    The NSS provides realistic, relevant, and challenging team training to submarine crews to prepare them to conduct challenging operations in dangerous environments.

    Through modernized training, the NSS prepares officers and enlisted submariners with the resilience and knowledge necessary to be immediately successful on their submarines.

    The NSS is dedicated to providing submarine Sailors the necessary tools and knowledge to be immediately successful on their submarines by embracing the best instructors, training facilities, lead submariner’s and submarine crews, so they are ready for prompt and sustained combat operations at sea.

    For more information on the Naval Submarine School, visit



    Date Taken: 01.28.2022
    Date Posted: 03.03.2022 14:26
    Story ID: 415706
    Location: GROTON, CT, US 

    Web Views: 564
    Downloads: 0