Jacksonville University alum takes command: Capt. Phil Castellano leads SUBRON 12

April 30, 2024

A Jacksonville University alum and U.S. Naval Captain has been entrusted with the leadership of a decorated Naval squadron. On Friday, April 19, Capt. Phil Castellano ‘00 took command of Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) 12 in a traditional change of command ceremony held pierside at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut.

SUBRON 12’s mission is to provide attack submarines that are ready, willing, and able to meet the unique challenges of undersea combat and deployed operations in unforgiving environments across the globe. It is one of two SUBRONs based out of SUBASE New London, alongside Submarine Squadron 4, commanded by Capt. Jason Grizzle.

Castellano spoke briefly during the ceremony stating, “I take humility and pride knowing that I have been chosen to do this job.”

Adm. William Houston, director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, served as guest speaker and Vice Adm. Robert Gaucher, commander of Naval Submarine Forces, presided over the ceremony.

"When you talk about squadron twelve, it is more than just those submarines, it’s the staff,” Houston said during his remarks. “It is a tough job being on the staff of a submarine squadron and this squadron has done an amazing job."

Castellano, a Tampa Bay, Fl. native and graduate of Jacksonville University, arrives at Squadron 12 after serving as a submarine perspective commanding officer instructor for the submarine force. His previous submarine tours include USS Asheville (SSN 758), USS Georgia (SSGN 729), and USS Pasadena (SSN 752) and USS Toledo (SSN 769).

"Leading the world’s premier instrument of war on this waterfront is incredible,” Castellano added. “Squadron 12 has a storied legacy of excellent Capt. Phil Castellano at podiumdedication from its sailors and officers and, moving forward, we will keep sustaining and building upon its legacy, ensuring we remain in the forefront of capabilities."

CDR David Cordova, Executive Officer/ Assistant Professor of Naval Science at Jacksonville University’s NROTC, said Castellano’s selection to command SUBRON 12 is a testament to the legacy of excellence the program’s graduates embody. “As we see one of our own be selected for such a prestigious role, along with similar achievements from alumni such as Vice Adm. Michael Boyle and Rear Adm. Lex Walker, it motivates us to continue to provide the highest caliber of training to our current students,” he said. 

Fast-attack submarines are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence. They are 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 preparation of regional crises.

Cmdr. Cordova added that the University’s NROTC program is designed to prepare graduates like Capt. Castellano for leadership roles within the Navy. “We are confident that the training we offer to our students now will be critical to them accomplishing similar achievements.”

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