USS Toledo Holds Change of Command
05 February 2021
NORFOLK, VA --
The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Toledo (SSN 769) conducted a change of command at Naval Station Norfolk, Feb. 5.
Cmdr. Joel Holwitt relieved Cmdr. Philip Castellano as commanding officer of Toledo.
Capt. Jeffrey Juergens, commodore, Submarine Squadron 6, spoke on Castellano’s performance during his time as the boat’s commanding officer.
“Phil, you knocked your command tour out of the park. You’ve done a great job getting through what a lot of people have told me was one of the most successful deployments that we’ve seen in recent memory,” Juergens said. “You’ve done a phenomenal job as Toledo’s commanding officer!”
Castellano offered parting remarks to the crew of Toledo as he reflected back on his time as the commanding officer.
"Serving the Toledo family has been the most rewarding, most humbling and most exciting experience of my life,” Castellano said. “I am proud to have had the honor to serve as commanding officer of the best frontline SSN in the fleet.”
Castellano will transition to a role as Prospective Commanding Officer Instructor to teach the next generation of submarine commanding officers.
Juergens spoke about the leadership qualities Holwitt will bring to Toledo after assuming command.
“Joel, welcome to the squadron,” Juergens said. “You have a very challenging task taking Toledo from the shipyard to being an operational submarine, but I know you’re the right guy for the job.”
Holwitt spoke on his excitement to join the crew, and said he is prepared to lead the way as commanding officer.
“To my new shipmates of USS Toledo – thank you for welcoming me into your great team. It is the honor of a lifetime to be one of you,” Holwitt said. “Together, we are going to get our ship back to sea on time, in superb material condition, and ready for combat.”
Holwitt earned his commission upon graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2003. Prior to assuming the role of Toledo’s commanding officer, he served four previous tours on fast-attack submarines, including an assignment as the executive officer of USS North Dakota (SSN 784).
He served as Tactical Development Department Head and Capability Development Department Head at Undersea Warfighting Development Center Tactical Analysis Group, in Groton, Connecticut.
He also previously served as an assistant nuclear officer program manager at the Nuclear Propulsion Program Branch (OPNAV N133), as well as the Navy Fellow in the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Strategic Studies Group, in Washington, DC.
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.
Toledo is the third U.S. naval vessel to be named after the city of Toledo, Ohio. Los Angeles-class submarines form the backbone of the Navy’s Submarine Force.