Sunday, December 19, 2010

USS Olympia Returns Following Pacific Deployment

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ronald Gutridge, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The Los Angeles-class submarine USS Olympia (SSN 717) returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Dec. 17, after completing a six-month deployment to the Western Pacific region in support of 7th Fleet operations.

"After a four-year refueling overhaul, the crew of Olympia was eager to get their submarine back overseas into the Western Pacific area of operations," said Cmdr. Mike Coughlin, USS Olympia commanding officer.

Olympia conducted a variety of operations and several training exercises throughout the deployment, contributing to the nation's strategic posture in the region. Olympia also strengthened relationships with Japan during several engagements with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force submarine, JDS Takashio (SS 587).

During the deployment, 28 new enlisted submariners became submarine qualified and are now entitled to wear the enlisted submarine warfare insignia. A majority of the crew also completed advanced qualifications, including Engineering Watch Supervisor, Diving Officer of the Watch and Chief of the Watch. These qualifications provide greater watch bill flexibility and helped ensure that Olympia's performance will remain strong.

"With about 60 percent of the crew making their first Western Pacific deployment, invaluable training and experience was obtained," said Coughlin.

With more than 32,000 nautical miles steamed and aside from the challenging operations, the crew made several port visits which included Sasebo and Yokosuka, Japan, throughout their six months away from Pearl Harbor.