Thursday, August 30, 2007

Key West Returns from Deployment

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Hight, USS Key West Public Affairs

Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Key West (SSN 722) returned to its homeport of Pearl Harbor on Aug. 28, following a seven-month deployment to the Western Pacific.

The Key West left Pearl Harbor in January to support U.S. commitments in the Western Pacific and to strengthen foreign U.S. relations.

“It is overwhelming to be home,” said Culinary Specialist 3rd Class David Quintero after receiving the ceremonial first kiss. “There are so many emotions and so much joy.”

Cmdr. Thomas Ishee, Key West’s commanding officer, said the deployment was a great success because of the pride and professionalism of the crew.

“They did a fantastic job,” he said. “They are the finest crew that I have had the pleasure of serving with.”

In addition to producing four new chief petty officers and 35 submarine warfare specialists, Key West conducted multiple community relations in Japan and Hong Kong and participated in six national and theater-specific operations.

Key West is the 35th Los Angeles-class submarine and was commissioned Sept. 12, 1987, at Naval Base, Norfolk. It transferred to its homeport in Pearl Harbor in July 1996.