By Lt. Luis Luy, USS Houston Public Affairs
SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Houston (SSN 713) arrived in Sasebo, Japan, for a visit as part of its deployment to the Western Pacific, Sept. 10.
The visit strengthens the already positive alliance between the U.S. and Japan through the crews' interaction with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
It also demonstrates the U.S. Navy's commitment to regional stability and maritime security in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
"Being in Sasebo is a phenomenal opportunity to further our relations with the Japanese Navy while expanding our positive presence in the region. The objective of this visit is not only to enhance our operational readiness but to experience and learn from the Japanese culture," said Cmdr. Scott McGinnis, USS Houston's commanding officer.
Houston is a fast attack submarine equipped with four torpedo tubes, two countermeasure tubes, and the ability to deploy and operate around the globe. Houston's design and crew spirit has earned recognition for being one of the fastest and fiercest vessels in the Pacific.
"Prior to arriving in Sasebo, Houston enhanced its tactical readiness by completing additional navigation and submarine operations training in addition to participating in the CARAT Singapore Exercise in July," said McGinnis. "Houston has been hard at work and is now ready to replenish her resources while also enjoying the exceptional cultural and entertainment opportunities this visit offers."
"Since departing Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, mighty warship Houston and her crew have been deployed to the 7th Fleet AOR demonstrating both the professionalism and perseverance of a proud Western Pacific asset," said Senior Chief Sonar Technician Paul McCrory, the chief of the boat aboard Houston. "My crew is looking forward to much deserved rest and an excellent port visit in Sasebo. We are also excited and grateful for the hospitality and the opportunity to experience Japanese culture and all Sasebo has to offer."
Many crewmembers are excited to experience the rich culture of Japan.
"I am looking forward to visiting Nagasaki and experiencing as much Japanese culture as possible," said Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Aaron Breemer.
Measuring 360 feet long and displacing 6,900 tons when submerged, Houston is one of the stealthiest submarines in the world. This submarine is capable of supporting a multitude of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, intelligence and surveillance and reconnaissance.
Houston is homeported out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and is the fourth U.S. Navy vessel to be named after the city of Houston, Texas. In commemoration of the heavy weight cruiser USS Houston (CA 30), most commonly known as the Ghost of the Java Coast, which was lost in the Battle of the Java Sea, Houston (SSN 713) was commissioned Sept. 25, 1982 and has starred in deployments, exercises and the famous submarine movie, The Hunt for Red October. Houston is the 132nd nuclear-powered submarine and the 20th of the Los Angeles class.