New submarine commander has Jessamine County connection

Published 10:45 am Tuesday, March 28, 2023

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A Louisville native, who also attended the University of Kentucky and Asbury University, took command of a U. S. Navy nuclear fast attack submarine in a traditional U.S. Navy change of command ceremony on March 24, at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine.

Cmdr. Kyle Calton, a 1999 graduate of Louisville’s Male High School, has taken over as skipper of the USS Cheyenne (SSN 773), which was commissioned in 1996 as the last of the 62 Los Angeles-class submarines, before the launch of the newer Virginia-class fast-attack submarines.

“Commanding a U.S. Navy submarine is something very few people will ever have the honor to do. It’s an incredible privilege and a powerful responsibility,” said Calton during the change of command ceremony.  “Many officers who go on to even higher ranks will say that command of a Navy ship was the highlight of their careers.  Growing up in Louisville, I learned the value of hard work and trying my best in school.  That’s where I, with the support of my family and friends, built the foundation to reach this point in my Navy journey.  I have traveled the world representing our country, but my fondest memories are always of My Old Kentucky Home.”

Calton’s previous sea tours include a tour as executive officer, or second-in-command, of the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS North Dakota (SSN 784), as well as prior tours aboard the Los Angeles-\\class USS Alexandria (SSN 757) and USS Hartford (SSN 768).

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Fast-attack submarines are multi-mission platforms, 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 response to regional crises.

Outgoing commanding officer Cmdr. Samuel Bell had led the Cheyenne crew since January of 2021, and Calton gave him high praise.

“Cmdr. Bell has led the crew of Cheyenne through a period of tremendous change and has perfectly lined this team up to return to the fight better than ever,” said Calton. “I’m humbled to have this opportunity to follow in his footsteps and work with these amazing and dedicated submariners as we complete that journey and get back to the tip of the spear.”