Story & Photos by Damon Runyan
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Story and photos by NLUS member Damon Runyan. Left to right: (NLUS stands for Navy League of the United States) Ms. Vanessa Gutierrez, proud mother of awardee, Cadet Chief Petty Officer Jesus Gutierrez, NLUS Theodore Roosevelt awardee, NLUS representative Damon Runyan, NSCC Triton Battalion Commander LTJG Dave Adair. Today, Jesus was promoted to the rank of Cadet Chief Petty Officer, for his outstanding performance and demonstrated leadership over the last three years. This is the highest rank achievable in the Sea Cadets and has been awarded to less than 1% of all Sea Cadets. Also, Dave Adair was issued and authorized by NSCC Headquarters with wear the Command Pin on his uniform. Congratulations to LTJG Dave Adair! There were numerous awards handed out by Veteran and active duty organizations today to the outstanding Sea Cadets of the Triton Battalion.
Story & Photos by Dick Brown
May 9, 2016
USS ALBUQUERQUE is now inactive, but is still a commissioned ship in the fleet, but not for long. She has been in dry-dock at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNSY) in Bremerton, WA for the past two months. There the combat veteran submarine is being defueled, decommissioned and dismantled. Official decommissioning is tentatively scheduled for December 22, 2016, however it now looks like this will slip into January. USS ALBUQUERQUE (SSN-706) is the 19th Los Angeles-class attack submarine. Her construction contract was awarded to General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, CT in October 1973 but her keel was not laid down until December 1979. She was christened and launched in March 13, 1982. Mrs. Nancy L. Domenici, wife of US Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), served as ship’s sponsor. She was on hand for the boat’s commissioning on March 1983 and again at the boat’s Inactivation Ceremony in San Diego last October. After 33 years of service to our Nation and our Navy, she is now being retired.
USS ALBUQUERQUE (SSN-706)
Illustration courtesy of USS Cincinnati Cold War Memorial Project
ALBUQUERQUE surfacing off Morocco, Operation Majestic Eagle, in 2004. US Navy Photo.
Photos by Damon Runyan
April 11, 2016
CDR Dan Reiss - Commanding Officer of USS NEW MEXICO presents NM Governor Susana Martinez with a Special Command Coin April 11, 2016
Certificate from NM Governor Susana Martinez to CDR Dan Reiss, Commanding Officer USS New Mexico (SSN 779) during visit to New Mexico April 11, 2016
USS New Mexico (SSN 779) meet with NM Governor Susana Martinez April 11, 2016
Photos by Dick Brown
March 20-21, 2016
USS Albuquerque SSN-706 crew with Balloon Museum Manger Paul Garver & museum mascot Marine Corporal Jack
USS Albuquerque SSN-706 crew in Albuquerque International Balloon Museum gift shop with Executive Director Jill Lane
USS Albuquerque SSN-706 CDR Don Tenney at Sandia Crest
USS Albuquerque SSN-706 CO, Oniel Vega, Will Espersen, COB Neal Bederson at Sandia Crest
USS New Mexico SSN-779 CDR Dan Reiss & Governor Susana Martinez in Santa Fe with gift book
USS New Mexico SSN-779 CO & Governor Susana Martinez
USS New Mexico SSN-779 crew & Governor Susana Martinez
USS New Mexico crew including CDR Dan Reiss, LTjg Michael Meade, Senior Chief Norman Clarke, EDMC Bill Haussler, PO1 Matthew Vine, PO1 Christopher Coates with New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, Monday, April 11, 2016, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Photo by Damon Runyan
by Damon Runyan
Lieutenant Commander, US Navy (Ret.)
Chairman, USS NEW MEXICO Committee
Navy League of the United States
New Mexico Council
March 20-21, 2016
Absolutely great DV cruise aboard USS NEW MEXICO, accompanied by CO Dave Adair and Sea Cadet PO3 AJ Rivera of Triton Battalion (Albuquerque). We were also joined onboard by 10 Congressional / Senate staffers, RADM Richard, Director Undersea Programs, Dr. Roper, Director Strategic Capabilities Office, and three other escorts. Dick Brown had the opportunity to spend well over an hour topside on the bridge with the CO on the transit back to Port Canaveral. Dick admits that this was his last chance to be a guest and ride a U.S. Navy submarine. During our trip, the CO, CDR Dan Reiss, took the submarine on a deep submergence dive to exactly 000 feet, no more / no less. What a thrill to be a part of that event in the Control Room watching crewmen on “our” submarine perform their duties with clockwork precision. After we returned and moored in Port Canaveral, I was able to spend some time with the Captain in his stateroom going over the itinerary for their upcoming visit to New Mexico in April.
USS NEW MEXICO arrives Port Canaveral
USS NEW MEXICO moors pierside Port Canaveral
LTJG Adair - RADM Richard - Cadet PO3 Rivera Port Canaveral FL
Cong-Senate Staff and Four New Mexicans Prepare to Board the USS NEW MEXICO
Dave Adair enters USS NEW MEXICO
Dick Brown enters USS NEW MEXICO
Damon Runyan climbs into USS NEW MEXICO at Port Canaveral FL
Sea Cadet AJ Rivera enters USS NEW MEXICO
Damon Runyan enjoying a quick hand of Canasta with SSN779 Chief of the Boat Norm Clarke in the Chiefs Mess onboard USS NEW MEXICO
LTJG Adair - LT Tommy Plummer - Dick Brown - Port Canaveral FL
Sea Cadet Rivera and others listen to description of torpedo tube operations on board USS NEW MEXICO
At USS NEW MEXICO’s fourth Change of Command ceremony on January 8, 2016, CDR Daniel Reiss relieved CDR Todd Moore as the submarine’s Commanding Officer. Due to winter weather, the ceremony took place indoors at the Dealey Center theater at Naval Submarine Base New London, Groton, CT. Commanders Reiss and Moore read their orders in the presence of the Commodore of Submarine Development Squadron 12, CAPT Leonard Dollaga, and 200 attendees.
Ceremony venue, Dealey Theater at Naval Submarine Base New London.
CDR Moore, who assumed command on September 16, 2013, had the once-in-a-lifetime experience of participating in under-ice operations (ICEX 2014) and made history when NEW MEXICO became the first VA-class boat to surface at the North Pole. Then in 2015, CDR Moore guided the boat on her second 6-month deployment in European Command’s Area of Responsibility where the boat’s assigned missions included testing experimental gear and supporting various fleet exercises. CDR Moore explains, “It is a difficult and dangerous business to take a submarine to sea, but we have the finest sailors in the world who make it look easy every day.” Guest speaker, CAPT Michael Brown, USN(Ret), mentioned that Sixth Fleet Commander, VADM James Foggo, is calling NEW MEXICO’s deployment the best in 2015.
CDR Dan Reiss delivers his remarks at the Change of Command ceremony.
CDR Dan Reiss already has valuable VA-class experience. He served as Operations Officer and Navigator aboard USS VIRGINIA and is a USS MISSISSIPPI plankowner where he served as the Executive Officer. He is looking forward to his NEW MEXICO command and acknowledged the crew rising to every challenge under CDR Moore’s leadership. “That is a tradition we will carry on as we face new challenges, so Todd and every other sailor who has served on this boat can continue to say proudly, ‘I am a New Mexico Submariner!’”
New Mexico Council President and retired Navy Captain Chuck Vaughan presents engraved pen set to CDR Moore, a congratulatory gift on behalf of our local Navy Leaguers.
CDR Moore’s next duty assignment, beginning this Spring, is at the Naval War College in Newport, RI. In the meantime he will be doing operations planning at COMSUBDEVRON12 for two months.
At the Change of Command reception at the Reunions Deli & Grill on base, Commanders Moore and Reiss shake hands in front of the ceremonial cake.
763 Committee members Buck Rackley (l) and Jach Morris with the crew signed USS Santa Fe (SSN-763) flag
Santa Fe High School NJROTC Cadet, Hayden Cummings, carrying the Navy League New Mexico Council flag
God Bless the USA!
After months of planning, 32 people headed to Pearl Harbor, HI, to support the USS Santa Fe (SSN-763) Homecoming and Change of Command Ceremonies. CDR Timothy Poe made a special effort to have the Change of Command two days after Homecoming allowing the delegation from New Mexico to take part in both activities. Included in the group was New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, First Gentleman Chuck Franco and 3 family members. Also in the group were two NJROTC cadets, one each from Santa Fe High School and Los Alamos High School. The Navy League of the United States New Mexico 763 Committee sponsored the cadets airfare and hotel. Santa Fe Fire Chief Erik Litzenberg represented the City of Santa Fe after Mayor Gonzalez was unable to attend. Everyone in the group were met at the Honolulu airport by Elena Poe, wife of USS Santa Fe (SSN-763) Commander Timothy Poe, and others.
Governor Martinez, First Gentleman, one security person, two NJROTC cadets and NLUS New Mexico 763 Committee Member Rick Carver took a boat ride out to the mouth of Pearl Harbor, met the Santa Fe and rode her into port. Governor Martinez had the honor of riding the sail into the pier. Waiting for us were our group of welcomers including an estimated 200 family members. Also waiting for the boat's arrival were several welcome home banners one of which was provided by The Navy League of the United States New Mexico Council and another by First National Bank Santa Fe. In addition, waiting on the pier were 150 gift bags filled with items donated from around Santa Fe, one bag for every crew member. The Governor’s reaction, “I am thrilled and honored beyond words to be able to be a part of the USS Santa Fe Homecoming Ceremony”.
As a sidenote, the USS Houston (SSN-713) also had their homecoming 2 hours after the Santa Fe arrived and NLUS New Mexico 763 Committee members Ron Olexsak and Rick Carver were able to take part; this was her last Homecoming. Their welcome home group was under 100, no mayor, no governor, and no committee members to greet them.
A quick reception followed which included presenting Sailor of the Year, Jr Sailor of the Year, and 5 new Chiefs each an engraved plaque. A special plaque was presented to COB Juan Gonzalez who will be leaving duty aboard the Santa Fe. The XO, LCDR Carter read the Governor’s Proclamation. The Governor, NLUS New Mexico Committee member Mike Warren and 2 cadets from Los Alamos High School and Santa Fe High School presented the 7 awards. The day ended celebrating CDR Timothy's Poe’s birthday at the Hale Koa Hotel’s famed Barefoot Bar.
The National Park Service put out the red carpet for the group headed out for a special wreath ceremony at the USS Arizona Memorial. For this visit the group totaled 75 including Governor Martinez and her entourage, the NLUS New Mexico 763 Committee, crew family members, Commander Timothy Poe and PCO Foret. The evening was spent at a Luau at the Hale Koa. The highlight was being introduced to other Hale Koa guests.
Change of Command:
The 763 Committee was establish within the Navy League of the United States New Mexico one month after Commander Poe took command of the USS Santa Fe (SSN-763). During the past 3 years a special bond has been developed with the CDR, his wife Elena and the crew and their families. Commander Poe’s remarks included recognition of the committee’s support which has evolved to requests from other boats asking how we do it. “The respect and appreciation shown to these Sailors by the people of New Mexico cannot be described in words, “ said Poe. Each member or the 763 Committee present was introduced by CDR Poe. During the Ceremony the Legion of Merit was awarded to CDR Poe by RADM Phil Sawyer, Deputy Commander U.S. Pacific Fleet.
CDR Poe now heads to Norfolk to lead a tactical readiness inspection team. He will put on his Captain bars next September. Moving forward the 763 Committee on behalf of the NLUS New Mexico Council has established a warm relationship with the new Commander Jacob Foret and his familiy. Plans are in the works for a possible Memorial Day weekend crew visit in Santa Fe.
PCO and Family
Photo Courtesy of Rebecca Shirmacher. Welcome Home USS Santa Fe SSN-763
Photo Courtesy of Honey Montes. Homecoming First Kiss
Photo Courtesy of Renee White. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez waves to crowd onshore from aboard 763
Photo Courtesy of Honey Montes. 763 Homecoming Banners
USS Santa Fe Returns from Western Pacific Deployment
MC2 Jeff Troutman, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Hawaii, Oct 28
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM - The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Santa Fe (SSN 763) returned to Pearl Harbor Oct. 28, fulfilling a regularly-scheduled six-month deployment to the Western Pacific.
The deployment was Santa Fe's second in three years to the Western Pacific, and included port visits to Japan, Guam and Singapore.
"We had an outstanding deployment," said Cmdr. Timothy Poe, Santa Fe's commanding officer. "We conducted extended operations in some of the world's most challenging environments and helped develop the next generation of submarine experts. I could not be prouder of this crew and all their accomplishments. They met every challenge and exceeded every expectation."
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez was on hand to welcome the Santa Fe crew home, joining the crew for the ride into the pier-side homecoming, where she talked directly with Santa Fe Sailors and families to express appreciation and share the strong namesake relationship between the submarine and the capital city of New Mexico.
"Reflecting on today's events, I can't put into words the pride I feel celebrating the homecoming of the Santa Fe with it's crew members," said Martinez. "It's unbelievable, the sacrifices the men of the Navy's submarine community make to protect this great country of ours. Saying 'thank you' is never enough, but it's the only words to express the gratitude I have for their service."
Many at the homecoming also expressed their gratitude for the strong namesake support.
"Just knowing that the people of Santa Fe stand behind our crew while we are on mission makes the hard days bearable," said New Mexico resident Lt. Keith Skillin, the navigator and operations officer onboard. "This career makes it easy to feel like the rest of the world has forgotten you, but knowing that the support from the people of Santa Fe and the people back home reminds us all that even though we are the 'silent service,' there are people out there thinking about us and remembering we are here."
While deployed, 30 Sailors and three officers earned their designation as qualified in submarines and now wear their dolphin warfare insignia.
"Getting qualified in submarines and earning my dolphin warfare insignia was the most rewarding part of this deployment for me," said Electronics Technician 3rd Class Nathan Tillery. "I'm looking forward now to venturing around the island of Oahu; I didn't get a chance to when I first got here, because we left on this deployment soon after I arrived."
Measuring more than 360 feet long and weighing more than 6,000 tons when submerged, Santa Fe is one of the stealthiest submarines in the world.
The submarine combines stealth, endurance, and agility to provide a highly cost effective and capable ship, ready on a moment's notice to carry out a multitude of missions. Commissioned on Jan. 8, 1994, Santa Fe is the 52nd ship of the Los Angeles-class and is based out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
USS Albuquerque Arrives in Bremerton for Inactivation
Commander Submarine Group Nine, DVIDS, Oct 28
The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) arrived at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility to commence the inactivation and decommissioning process, Oct. 28.
An inactivation ceremony was held in San Diego to honor the boat’s 32 years of service on Aug. 28. During the ship’s life, Albuquerque deployed 19 times, visited over 20 countries and steamed over 500,000 miles.
“The ship’s success is directly attributable to a cohesive crew that through the years has maintained a ‘can-do’ attitude,” said Cmdr. Don Tenney, Albuquerque’s commanding officer. “I am exceptionally proud of the crew who just completed a six-month WESTPAC deployment and immediately turned to the business of moving the ship and their families to Bremerton, and started preparing the ship for decommissioning.”
Albuquerque completed its final six-month deployment Aug. 21, which was followed by a change of command where Tenney relieved Cmdr. Trent Hesslink.
“USS Albuquerque has a rich history that includes highly successful missions in both war and peace,” said Tenney. “She is known as the 'Sure Shooter' of the fleet because of her 100 percent success rate on Tomahawk missions during the Kosovo conflict in 1999.”
During the inactivation process, the submarine will be de-fueled with the hull retained in safe storage until decommissioning. Albuquerque is scheduled to decommission in 2016.
“We view the decommissioning as our next mission and are determined to execute it with the precision and thoroughness that are the hallmarks of the submarine force,” said Tenney. “We understand that our success here is critical, so we can make our highly-trained Sailors available to newer ships in the fleet.”
Albuquerque was second ship of the United States Navy to be named for Albuquerque, New Mexico. The keel was laid by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics in Groton, Connecticut, Dec. 27, 1979. The boat was launched March 13, 1982, and commissioned May 21, 1983.
CDR Moore presenting appreciation gift to Navy League member Damon Runyan at El Pinto restaurant.
Crew members visiting a patient at the NM VA Hospital.
CDR Moore with North Star 4th graders.
CDR Moore with 4th graders at North Star Elementary.
LT Mike Hughes 779 Comm officer briefing freshman Midshipmen at UNM NROTC.
Master Chief Dan Wilson 779 ANAV briefing Midshipmen at UNM NROTC.
CDR Todd Moore 779 CO briefing Midshipmen at UNM NROTC.
CO and COB with 779 crew members at UNM NROTC in front of ships wheel from the battleship USS NEW MEXICO BB-40.
CDR Todd Moore with Navy League member Damon Runyan at the UNM NROTC.
Lt Mike Murphy-Master Chief Dan Wilson-CDR Todd Moore-LT GOV John Sanchez-Senior Chief Norm Clarke-PO3 Justin Stockdale-PO1 Nick Moore.
CDR Todd Moore - CO of SSN779 - presents NM LT Governor John Sanchez with laser engraved crystal replican of USS NEW MEXICO.
L-R PO3 Stockdale-MC Wilson-SC Clarke-CDR Moore-LT Hughes-PO1 Moore 10-26-15 at the NM Round House.
779 Crew in the Governor's Cabinet Room at NM State House.
Great photo sent by USS New Mexico SSN-779's second CO, CAPT Mark Prokopius, from Guam. He is now the Commanding Officer of a huge submarine tender, the USS Emory S. Land. His email below gives more detail. "Greetings from Guam. We recently tended USS Santa Fe SSN-763 here in Apra Harbor and were able to get a pretty good picture with both the ESL and Santa Fe leadership with the New Mexico flag you sent out. Look for a post on Facebook on our home page. Feel free to share."
The flag shown is one flown at the North Pole and sent to CAPT Prokopius by Dick Brown.
L to R: CAPT Eugene Doyle, Squadron 11 Commodore
RDML Stuart Munch, Senior Assistant to Deputy Secretary of Defense A former USS Albuquerque Commanding Officer
CDR Don Tenney, Current Commanding Officer
Mr. Michael Riordan, Mayor Berry's Chief Operating Officer
LCDR Chris Brownm USS Albuquerque Executive Officer
LCDR Juan Cometa, Chaplain
L to R: Mrs. Nancy Domenici + New Mexico U.S. Senator Pete V. Domenici
Welcome Home, USS New Mexico SSN-779. STS2(SS) Watts, CDR T.D. Moore, LT Wittkopp, LTJG Kubacj, LT Romeo and on top high fiving it is LCDR USN (ret) Damon Runyan, Chairman of the Navy League of the United States New Mexico Council 779 Committee. Photo courtesy of The Day, Dana Jensen, staff photographer.
Photo By Michelle Runyan
GROTON, CONN. -- The Virginia-class attack submarine USS New Mexico (SSN 779) returned to its homeport at U.S. Naval Submarine Base, New London from a regularly scheduled deployment on Friday, Sept. 4, 2015.
Under the command of Cmdr. Todd Moore, New Mexico returned from the European Command (EUCOM) area of responsibility where the crew executed the Chief of Naval Operation’s Maritime Strategy in supporting national security interests and Maritime Security Operations.
“The role of the submarine is to deploy forward, remain undetected, operate behind enemy lines, and bring covert firepower and intelligence collection to bear against any potential aggressors,” said Moore. “New Mexico deployed to EUCOM, operating as an asset in supporting Commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet operations. We stood ready to perform all tasks when called upon. In conducting deployed operations like New Mexico completed, the U.S. Navy builds operational experience throughout the world, defending our homeland by projecting power globally. The crew is proud to have part of something so important.”
During the deployment steamed more than 36, 000 nautical miles, equal to circumnavigating the globe one-and-two-third times. Port visits were conducted in Haakonsvern, Norway; Rota, Spain; and Faslane, Scotland.
“In each port the crew enjoyed terrific relations with our allies,” said Moore. “The port visits provided an opportunity to interact with foreign navies, thereby building better cooperation between our countries. The crew enjoyed the many cultural experiences of each country, as well as the opportunity to relax and replenish supplies.”
During the deployment the crew of New Mexico distinguished themselves through performance and professional achievement.
“Throughout the deployment we had seven officers and 14 enlisted Sailors earn their submarine warfare qualifications,” continued Moore. “We had 15 petty officers advance in rank; two were selected for chief petty officer; and one each was selected for senior chief petty officer and master chief petty officer.
“New Mexico seems to enjoy stormy weather. We deployed during one of the many blizzards that struck Connecticut last winter. While our spouses suspect we left them only to avoid shoveling the snow, I must inform we also had our rough weather. The North Atlantic produced storms with 30-foot waves, but both the boat and crew held up well. This was the first deployment for a large portion of the crew, whose experience had been limited to short underway periods and training simulators. The long training period prior to deployment proved to be more than adequate as the crew successfully employed the ship in theater for nearly six consecutive months with virtually no lost operational time.”
The New Mexico is looking for calmer waters since they have anchored at home.
“We plan to enjoy friends and family members, make trips with loved ones, and reconnecting with those we have not seen in a long time,” finalized Moore. “We are looking forward to spending time participating in outdoor activities and basking in the sun, an activity we have been without for several months. We aim to catch up on the many TV shows, movies and sporting events that we missed, in addition to all the world events since we deployed. Following our leave period, we are looking forward to executing maintenance and training to ensure New Mexico can maintain the highest state of readiness.”
As the submarine force’s sixth Virginia-class ship, New Mexico was commissioned March 27, 2010 in Norfolk, Va. It is the second Navy vessel to be named for the 47th state.
As the most modern and sophisticated attack submarine in the world, New Mexico enables five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence. The ship is a flexible, multi-mission platform designed to carry out the seven core competencies of the submarine force: anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, delivery of special operations forces, strike warfare, irregular warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and mine warfare. New Mexico can operate in both littoral and deep ocean environments and presents combatant commanders with a broad and unique range of operational capabilities.
New Mexico is 377 feet long, has a 34-foot beam, able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and operates at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged.
On August 28, 2015 at Naval Base Point Loma, San Diego, CDR Trent Hesslink was relieved by CDR Don Tenney, becoming the 14th Commanding Officer of USS Albuquerque (SSN 706).
It was only a week before the Change of Command ceremony when the boat returned from her 19th and final overseas deployment. While operating in the Fifth Fleet’s area of responsibility, USS Albuquerque conducted several missions of vital importance to national security. She participated in exercises with the Royal Australian Navy and made port calls in Australia, Oman and Diego Garcia.
The honored guest speaker was retired Rear Admiral Mike McLaughlin, former Commander Submarine Squadron 11 (CSS11). He introduced the current CSS11 Capt. Gene Doyle who awarded CDR Hesslink another Meritorious Service Medal. CDR Don Tenney enlisted in the Navy in 1989, and following nuclear power training, graduated from the University of Arizona in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in nuclear engineering. His previous assignment was CSS11’s deputy commander for readiness.
In the crowd of approximately 120 were Council President Chuck Vaughan, Secretary Kris Vaughan, and Dick and Donna Brown, representing the Navy League’s New Mexico Council.
As called for by tradition at all of Albuquerque’s change of command ceremonies, the keys of a Rolls Royce were passed to the new skipper. The tradition started at commissioning when Mayor Harry Kinney issued a challenge. The first skipper who brought the boat up the Rio Grande for an Albuquerque port call would win the fabled car.
CDR Trent Hesslink is piped ashore. His next assignment is with the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.
CDR Don Tenney, as the new skipper of USS Albuquerque, addressed his remarks to the crew: "I am incredibly excited about serving as your commanding officer. I look forward to working with you as we bring Albuquerque's distinguished service to the United States to a close."
Twelve of the boat’s 15 chiefs on the brow. Fifth from the right is Chief of the Boat FTCS(SS/DV) Brian Doyle.
Five Tenney brothers. CDR Tenney also has three sisters.
Seven siblings on the brow.
Commanding Officer CDR Don Tenney and Executive Officer CDR-select Chris Brown.
NAVAL BASE POINT LOMA, CALIF. (NNS) – The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) returned to its homeport Aug. 21 following its final regularly-scheduled deployment.
Albuquerque, under the command of Cmdr. Trent Hesslink, returned from the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility where the crew executed the Chief of Naval Operations' Maritime Strategy in supporting national security interests and maritime security operations.
"This crew did an absolutely amazing job," said Hesslink. "We trained well, left at the top of our game, and to close out Albuquerque's service life with such a successful deployment, I couldn't ask for more."
Albuquerque left its homeport of San Diego on Feb. 6 and steamed more than 50,000 nautical miles during the deployment. Port visits were conducted in Stirling, Australia; Duqm, Oman; and Diego Garcia.
For one Albuquerque Sailor, this final deployment was bittersweet.
"I've been aboard for four years and to know this is it, it's tough to imagine this boat no longer being at sea," said Electronics Technician Petty Officer 1st Class Derek Warren. "I have a lot of memories on this boat, and I will certainly miss it."
In its more than 32-year career, Albuquerque deployed more than 15 times, steamed more than 500,000 miles, and visited nearly 20 countries. Albuquerque was also one of the first nuclear submarines to experience combat, gaining the moniker of "Sure Shooter of the Submarine Force."
Albuquerque is scheduled to transit to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, in Bremerton, Washington, later this year for its inactivation and decommissioning.
Albuquerque was commissioned May 21, 1983. Measuring more than 360 feet long and displacing more than 6,900 tons, Albuquerque has a crew of approximately 140 Sailors. Albuquerque is capable of supporting various missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
A small Welcome Home note found in one of 150 gift bags, one for each and every crew member.
Bags donated by the San Diego USO
Note the Welcome Home Lei on the Sail
Excited family members waiting for their sailors aboard the USS Albuquerque SSN-706
A-10 Warthog takes off from NAS North Island, the USS Albuquerque SSN-706
entered the ship channel from final deployment
An estimated 300+ family members were on hand for Homecoming
CDR Tenney (left) will become the last Commanding Officer of the USS Albuquerque SSN-706 on 28 August 2015.
The First Homecoming Kiss
The Flags Atop the Sail