Friday, July 04, 2014

USS Virginia Returns from Surge Deployment

From Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs

GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- Attack submarine USS Virginia (SSN 774) returned home to Groton, Conn., July 3, after completing a 14-week surge deployment overseas.

Virginia's crew of more than 140 officers and enlisted personnel departed March 28 to conduct assigned theater security missions in the U.S. European Command region.

Cmdr. Steven Antcliff, Virginia's commanding officer, expressed pride in his team's performance.

"The surge deployment proved the professionalism and dedication of the crew and their families," said Antcliff. "Crew performance was outstanding."

Virginia deployed one month after completing a six-month deployment in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility Feb. 13.

Vice Adm. Philip Davidson, the 6th Fleet commander, sent Virginia's crew a congratulatory message days before the submarine arrived home from the latest deployment.

"Well done to the officers and crew of USS Virginia," said Davidson. "Your presence unquestionably enhanced America's safety and security."

Davidson characterized the crew's ability to deploy for nine of the past 11 months as a "testament to the readiness and tenacity" of the submarine force.

As the first ship of the Navy's next-generation attack submarine class, Virginia is a highly capable undersea platform.

The submarine is equipped to conduct covert surveillance, attack land targets with Tomahawk cruise missiles, support Special Forces, and hunt other ships and submarines.

The 377-foot-long vessel is the Navy's 10th vessel and first attack submarine named for the nation's 10th state.

USS Howard Returns from Deployment

From Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The guided missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83) returned to Naval Base San Diego from a seven-month deployment to the Western Pacific Ocean, July 3.

Deployed since Dec. 2, 2013, Howard's crew of nearly 300 Sailors is completing a successful deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations where the ship conducted exercises with the Republic of Korea navy, among other events.

The ship also conducted anti-submarine warfare missions and multiple theater security cooperation events including an April 11-14 port visit to Manila, Republic of the Philippines.

"Howard represented the nation in the 7th Fleet during exercises and operations while strengthening relationships with our allies and regional partners," said Cmdr. John Fay, Howard's commanding officer. "It's satisfying to think of the successes we enjoyed and great to return home to family and friends."

The ship also operated with the USS George Washington (CVN 73) Carrier Strike Group and transited to Hawaii with international navies participating in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise later this summer.

Howard is named in honor of Marine Corps 1st Sgt. Jimmie E. Howard, a combat veteran of both Korea and Vietnam who was awarded the Medal of Honor, Silver Star and three Purple Hearts during his 27 years of service.