Sunday, December 25, 2011

USS Texas Returns from Her Maiden Western Pacific Deployment

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ronald Gutridge, COMSUBPAC Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The Virginia-class submarine USS Texas (SSN 775) returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after completing her maiden Western Pacific (WESTPAC) deployment Friday, Dec. 23.

"The crews' demeanor is that of excitement and pride as we return from our very successful six month deployment to reunite with our families in our beautiful homeport of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii," said Cmdr. Bob Roncska, commanding officer USS Texas. "The new and advanced capabilities of Texas were showcased, and she met all milestones and exceeded all expectations while conducting missions vital to national security and numerous exercises with our allied partners. It is simply a surreal experience to be commanding officer of the most technically advanced submarine."

This was the first overseas deployment for more than a third of the crew. More than 20 Sailors and three junior officers completed submarine qualifications and are now authorized to wear the Submarine Warfare insignia or better known to submariners as "dolphins".

Texas conducted port visits in Guam; Yokosuka, Japan; Busan, South Korea; and Subic Bay, Philippines. The port visits to Japan and South Korea provided the opportunity for Texas to demonstrate some of the capabilities that a Virginia-Class submarine has to host country distinguished visitors, both civilian and military.

"The crew performed flawlessly, both underway and in-port," said Roncska. "Their abilities as undersea warriors were demonstrated time and again with outstanding results. Their conduct on liberty as ambassadors of the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Submarine Force was impeccable."

Machinist Mate 2nd Class Jared Mankins describes his first deployment as something he will never forget.

"This deployment was a life changing event for me," said Mankins. "Specifically, I experienced foreign cultures and submarine operations you can only imagine about. This ship and crew are awesome!"

Commissioned Sept. 9, 2006, Texas was the second Virginia-class attack submarine constructed and the first submarine to be named after the Lone Star State.
The state-of-the-art submarine is capable of supporting a multitude of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike, naval special warfare involving special operations forces, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.