|Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Houston (SSN 713) departs Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for a regularly scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific. (U.S Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Steven Khor/Released)|
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Steven Khor, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet
Houston's Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Paul Davis, said the submarine and her crew are ready to deploy to the 7th Fleet area of operations where they will focus on maritime security operations and theater security cooperation in order to promote conditions for regional stability.
"Although she is one of the older submarines in the fleet, she is fully modernized, benefitted from quality maintenance while at Pearl Harbor, and is fully ready to conduct sustained operations at sea," said Davis.
Davis said of the 139 Sailors who will be deploying, 59 of the Sailors will be on their first deployment.
Davis said the goal is to ensure safe operation while providing a highly effective asset to the 7th Fleet commander. At the same time, the crew wants to take advantage of the operational time underway to improve both their team skills and individual qualifications as well as visit some ports to engage with the regional partners.
Davis added that being from Guam and relocating to Hawaii in 2012, the crew is excited and is looking forward to the challenges of deployment and sustained underway operations.
For Culinary Specialist Seaman Randon Booth, a first deployment brings much emotion.
"I'm excited. I'm looking forward to learning my rate, I want to get better at what I'm doing, as well as seeing some places I've never seen before," said Booth.
Houston is the fourth United States Navy vessel named in honor of the city of Houston, Texas. She is Los Angeles-class submarine that is 360 feet long and displaces 6,900 tons. She can be fitted with Mk-48 torpedoes and Tomahawk missiles.