Tuesday, August 13, 2013

USS New Mexico Completes Inaugural Deployment

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/EXW) Jason J. Perry, Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs
GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- Virginia-class attack submarine USS New Mexico (SSN 779) returned to Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn., Aug. 12, after completing its inaugural deployment.

Under the command of Cmdr. George Perez, New Mexico transited more than 34,000 miles over the course of six months while conducting national security operations in the European region.

"New Mexico's performance on her inaugural deployment was exemplary," said Perez. "I could not be more proud of the way the crew, families, friends and supporters of New Mexico came together over this last year to make this first deployment a success."

This was the first deployment for more 70 percent of the boat's crew members.

"New Mexico met all operational commitments on time, due in large part to the sacrifice of every Sailor on board. The crew's dedication to accomplishing the mission was truly inspiring," said Perez.

New Mexico visited three ports while deployed, which included Haakonsvern, Norway; Faslane, Scotland; and Rota, Spain.

The crew is now looking forward to reuniting with family and friends while enjoying some well-earned time off, said Perez.

As the boat moored to the pier, friends and family anxiously awaited their Sailors. A few loved ones didn't have wait too long.

Erica Neufeld was awarded the "first kiss" honor. She was the first to welcome her husband Chief Electrician's Mate Wayne Neufeld home with their son Jacob.

Electrician's Mate 1st Class Jason Burke was greeted with the "first hug" from his wife Deidra Burke and three children Isaac, Ethan and Owen.

Day's before the boat's arrival, Commander, Submarine Group 2 Rear Adm. Ken Perry sent a message congratulating the crew for a successful deployment.

"As you return to 'The Submarine Capital of the World' and a warm welcome from families and friends, know that you have earned the respect of your Submarine Force shipmates and the thanks of a grateful nation," Perry wrote.

"By your outstanding deployment, New Mexico represented the fighting spirit of the Navy and truly lived to your ship's motto - 'Defendemos Nuestra Tierra' (We Defend Our Land)."

New Mexico was commissioned March 27, 2010 and is the second Navy vessel to be named for the 47th state.