Sunday, December 18, 2011

USS Asheville Returns from Deployment

POINT LOMA, Calif. (NNS) -- USS Asheville (SSN 758) returned to Naval Base Point Loma, Calif., Dec. 16, following a four-month deployment in support of combating transnational organized operations in the U.S. Fourth Fleet area of responsibility.

The deployment supported U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command campaign strategy and the maritime strategy, which includes maritime security, forward presence, sea control, and power projection. Asheville traversed more than 20,000 nautical miles throughout the deployment.

While operating in the SOUTHCOM area of responsibility, which includes the Caribbean, Central and South America, Asheville participated in missions to counter the growing connection among narcotics groups, illicit trafficking networks, and hybrid criminal-terrorist-insurgent organizations. The submarine also conducted two port visits to Panama, furthering relations with U.S. partners in Central America.

"The linkages between drugs, drug money and the rise of transnational criminal organizations directly undermine regional security and threaten the vital economic development on which all regional partners depend," said Rear Adm. Kurt Tidd, commander, U.S. 4th Fleet. "Asheville brings the unique capabilities of a submarine to help counter these non-traditional security threats."

Cmdr. Jerry Miranda, USS Asheville commanding officer, said he is very proud of his crew and its accomplishments.

"It is certainly a privilege to be entrusted to command such a capable warship on another deployment. Asheville performed superbly in many facets of submarine operations," Cmdr. Miranda said. "In addition to the ship's operational successes, 28 Sailors were advanced in rank, and 18 more earned their submarine warfare qualification; an incredible feat for any command.

"I cannot possibly convey the gratitude I feel for the support the crew received from the family and friends of USS Asheville during this long stretch from home. The sacrifices each family member made to allow us to remain deployed and excel are greatly appreciated," Miranda said.

Asheville, the Navy's 30th Los Angeles-class, fast-attack submarine, was commissioned Sept. 28, 1991. Displacing more than 6,900 tons, Asheville is home to nearly 140 Sailors and is based out of Naval Base Point Loma, San Diego.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command's joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.