Monday, February 08, 2016

USS Cheyenne Returns from Western Pacific Deployment

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason Swink, Pacific Submarine Force Public Affairs
PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Cheyenne (SSN 773) returned to Pearl Harbor, Feb. 5, completing a regularly-scheduled five-month deployment to the Western Pacific.

The submarine's commanding officer, Cmdr. John Stafford, who hails from Staten Island, New York, said his crew's performance was admirable.

"They were resilient when they needed to be, and creative with their tactics, keeping the ship on point and on mission," said Stafford. "I can't say enough about the effort they put in to get there and stay there."

Lt. Cmdr. Jeremy Johnston, USS Cheyenne's executive officer, had high praise for the crew's performance.

"New crew members excelled," Johnston said. "It was a tough task, but they took it head on and worked hard. We supported our junior crew through a rigorous training and qualification program backed with practical evolutions and on-the-job training. On Cheyenne, we say that our best resource is new people."

Senior Chief Sonar Technician Julio Hernandez, Cheyenne's chief of the boat, from Brawley, California, said the crew performed phenomenally.

"We made the crew own the training, so they trained each other," said Hernandez. "It was the Sailors training the Sailors, which was effective because they owned it and believed in it."

While deployed, 15 Sailors and four officers earned their designation as qualified in submarines and now wear the dolphin warfare insignia. Additionally, eight Sailors were advanced in rank, three officers were promoted, and 14 junior Sailors reenlisted while underway.

"My favorite part of deployment was the relationships we strengthened as a crew," said Electronics Technician 1st Class Taquan Monrose, from Newport News, Virginia. "We spent months together doing some things other people couldn't imagine."

Cheyenne achieved a number of milestones while under way, including participation in anti-submarine warfare exercises with Submarine Group 7, a port visit to Subic Bay in the Philippines, participating in volunteer work at a school for physically-challenged children, and organizing a beach clean-up.

Upon returning home to Pearl Harbor, Stafford and his crew looked forward to reuniting with family and friends.

"We talked about doing a lot of big trips; but to be honest with you, I am just looking forward to Lanikai Beach, maybe movie night on Friday night, and going to church on Sunday," said Stafford. "If I could get back to that routine, I would consider it a great success."

Waiting on the pier were friends and family with leis, banners and signs, with many of the greeters cheering their return.

Debora Ann Harris traveled from Coconut Creek, Florida, to welcome home her son, Lt. Logan Harris.

"He always has been a leader and is very industrious," said Harris. "We are just so very proud of him. The excitement of them coming in is almost overwhelming."

Homeported in Pearl Harbor, USS Cheyenne is named after the city of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and was the last of the 62 Los Angeles-class submarines to enter service in the U.S. Navy. Commissioned Sept. 13, 1996, Cheyenne measures more than 360-feet long and weighs more than 6,000 tons when submerged.

In 2003, Cheyenne earned the distinction of "first to strike" as the first ship to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Since then, the submariners aboard have modified the original "Live the Legend" motto to "Ride the Legend," representative of the warrior spirit of the crew and the pride they take in their mission and namesake city.