Thursday, August 12, 2010

USS Albany Returns From Deployment

By Kevin Copeland, Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Albany (SSN 753) returned to Norfolk Aug. 11 from a regularly scheduled six-month deployment.

The submarine departed its homeport at Naval Station Norfolk on the deployment, February 12.

Commanded by Cmdr. Thomas "TR" Buchanan, Albany conducted operations in the European Command area of responsibility, conducting Maritime Security Operations while supporting national security interests. In executing the Chief of Naval Operation's Maritime Strategy, Albany further demonstrated the submarine force's great capability in providing global presence.

"Albany deployed to the European Command 6th Fleet, conducting patrolling operations in the Mediterranean Sea and Norwegian Sea," said Buchanan. "We spent more than 30 days above the Arctic Circle, which earned our crew members the Arctic Service Ribbon. Albany successfully completed hundreds of maintenance items and repairs over the course of the mission and maintained 100% accountability for the sensitive classified material entrusted to our care."

In addition to the many operational successes Albany experienced during the deployment, there were plenty of personnel milestones.

"There is nothing more rewarding than observing a young petty officer mature into being a leader of his watch team," continued Buchanan. "This deployment saw several Sailors rise to the challenge of qualifying senior enlisted watch stations, dramatically increasing the depth of Albany's experience. In total, 16 first and second class petty officers qualified diving officer of the watch, chief of the watch or engineering watch supervisor. Plus, 30 new crew members achieved a career milestone by earning their coveted Dolphins by qualifying in submarines."

During the deployment, the submarine traveled approximately 34,500 nautical miles, which is the equivalent of traveling back and forth from Norfolk to Miami 23 times. Port visits included Rota, Spain; two visits in Faslane, Scotland; two visits to Haakonsvern, Norway; and Lisbon Portugal.

"Albany engaged in several important diplomatic efforts over the course of the deployment," said Buchanan. "We hosted foreign and American dignitaries including U.S. Ambassadors to Spain and Portugal; Commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet; Commander of the Norwegian Submarine Force; and service members from several foreign navies. The tours sponsored by Albany helped spread goodwill and build mutual understanding among international militaries."

While the operational tempo and personnel milestones were professionally rewarding for the Albany men, they are glad to be home and ready to write the next chapter in the Albany legacy.

"We are looking forward to a well-deserved stand down, and spending time with our loved ones at our favorite restaurants in Hampton Roads and at Tides ballgames. However, we will remain dedicated to continuing this deployment's success into the coming months, and we will remain focused on ensuring maximum readiness for deployments and exercises after stand down, and in the long-term on preparing the boat for its upcoming shipyard at the beginning of 2011."

Fast-attack submarines like Albany have multifaceted missions. They use their stealth, persistence, agility and firepower to deploy and support special force operations, disrupt and destroy an adversary's military and economic operations at sea, provide early strike from close proximity, and ensure undersea superiority.

Albany is the fifth U.S. Navy ship to bear the name of New York's capital city. Built by Newport News Shipbuilding and General Dynamics Electric Boat Division, Albany was commissioned April 7, 1990 as the 43rd nuclear-powered Los Angeles-class submarine. The 360-foot ship was the last one to slide down the incline of greased wooden shipways at Newport News Shipbuilding. Albany's crew compliment includes 13 officers and 121 enlisted Sailors.