Wednesday, December 16, 2009

USS Michigan Returns from Its Maiden SSGN Deployment

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Gretchen M. Albrecht

BANGOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS Michigan (SSGN 727) returned to Bangor, Wash., Dec. 12, after successfully completing the boat's maiden deployment as a guided-missile submarine.

Michigan completed 67 strategic deterrent patrols as an SSBN before entering the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility for an engineered refueling overhaul and SSGN conversion in February 2004 and returned to service June 12, 2007.

"The deployment was highly successful, as it demonstrated the viability and adaptability of the SSGN Concept of Operations," said Capt. John Tammen, Commodore Submarine Squadron 19. "Both crews were able to deliver the numerous SSGN capabilities to the Combatant Commander and executed all assigned missions, including several that were vital to national security.

The boat deployed Nov. 10, 2008, and conducted numerous missions in concert with Naval Special Warfare, experimented with unmanned aerial vehicles, and completed several theater security cooperation engagements with foreign countries enhancing relationships with countries along the Pacific Rim.

"It feels outstanding to return to our homeport after completing a successful year forward deployed on the tip of the spear," said Master Chief Electronics Technician Thomas Metcalf, Michigan chief of the boat.

While on deployment the boat made liberty port calls in Hawaii, Guam, Singapore, Japan and South Korea.

"I really enjoyed seeing new places and meeting new people from all over the world," said Yeoman 3rd Class (SS) Jeremy Jurgensen. "Going to Japan and seeing all the historic events that took place and all the monuments that Japan has to offer was probably my favorite."

Many Sailors are glad to be home and are looking forward to some well-deserved time off with their families.

"It feels fantastic to come home from a successful deployment and have the admiration of your family and friends for doing your part to serve this great country," said Missile Technician 1st Class (SS) Cody Brophy. "I'm looking forward to spending time with my family for the holidays and getting some time to ski in the mountains of Washington."

Michigan Commanding Officer Capt. Charles Logan credits the boat's success to his dedicated Sailors and their families.

"Every day is a good day when you're in command of a warship like this one - manned by this hard-working and motivated crew," said Logan. "Both crews return with the satisfaction that we have done our part to further national interests during Michigan's first yearlong deployment as an SSGN. Motivation for this group is not an issue, and the successes the ship has achieved would not have been possible without their total effort and the support we receive from our families."

Michigan will off-load the over 100 cruise missiles and 40 tons of weapons and explosives it carried on deployment, and then go directly into a four-month major maintenance period and dry-docking at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Bremerton, Wash.