ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (NNS) -- USS New Mexico (SSN 779) commanding officer and chief of the boat visited the Virginia-class attack submarine's namesake state, Jan. 29-31, in honor of the ship's commissioning nearly three years ago.
Cmdr. George Perez, commanding officer, USS New Mexico and his chief of the boat, Master Chief Electronics Technician (SS) Steven Fritzler met New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM), members of the USS New Mexico Committee and the New Mexico Navy League members.
"As USS New Mexico prepares to depart on her maiden deployment, it is important for us to personally convey to our namesake state and the New Mexico Committee just how much the crew appreciates their support," said Perez.
Dick Brown, chairman, USS New Mexico Committee coordinated the visit as a way to continue forging the strong bonds between the state and their namesake submarine.
"Scheduling a meeting between our governor while the State Legislature is in session and the commanding officer of a submarine is quite a challenge," said Brown. "But it's all part of our committee's work in helping to maintain strong ties between the submarine and its namesake state."
Brown and his committee vice chairman, retired Lt. Cmdr. Damon Runyan, have been spearheading other collaboration opportunities with the boat and the state to include a letter-writing initiative between an Albuquerque-based elementary school. Forty-five students attending the North Star Elementary School sent letters to the crew of the Virginia-class submarine in 2012, to which Sailors have since responded.
"We just received 45 letters back from individual crew members addressed to the kids," said Brown. "What a wonderful opportunity for a pen-pal exchange."
Copies of the letters submitted by the students of North Star Elementary School are also viewable online at the committee's website: www.ussnewmexico.net.
New Mexico was commissioned March 27, 2010 and was the sixth Virginia-class submarine to be commissioned. There are currently 127 officers and enlisted Sailors assigned to New Mexico.
For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/Subgru2/.