(Via Ho’okele News)
Machinist’s Mate Fireman Bradley Hale of the Los Angeles-class, fast attack submarine USS Tucson (SSN 770) hugs his girlfriend, Jessica Hill, at the submarine piers following the return of the submarine to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on March 7.
Story and photo by MC1 Steven Khor
Submarine Force Pacific Public Affairs
The Los Angeles-class, fast attack submarine USS Tucson (SSN 770) returned March 7 to Pearl Harbor from a deployment to the western Pacific region. Families and friends gathered at the submarine piers at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to welcome back the returning Sailors.
“I could not be more proud of my crew’s accomplishments during this deployment,” said Cmdr. Ted O’Harrah, Tucson’s commanding officer. “They executed their assigned tasking in a manner which reflected great credit on the ship, the crew and the entire submarine force.”
O’Harrah said despite half of the crew being on their first deployment, they consistently demonstrated the flexibility to meet numerous unique tasks with enthusiasm as they supported the operational commander’s priorities.
The crew’s efforts also directly enhanced relationships with key regional allies, including the Republic of Korea, Japan and Singapore.
In addition to gaining the experience of operating in the western Pacific, the deployment afforded Sailors the opportunity to work on qualifications.
Thirty Sailors became submarine-qualified and are now entitled to wear the enlisted submarine warfare insignia.
Lt. Cmdr. Bill Filip, Tucson’s executive officer, said the crew at one point in the deployment sounded the submarine’s whistles and bells to celebrate crossing south of the equator. There was also a brief celebration to mark the halfway point in the deployment.
Various underway successes led to an even more memorable return back to homeport in Pearl Harbor.
For spouse Brandi Estrada, having her husband Lt. Giovani Estrada back home made up for missed plans with him during the past holiday season.
“We [she and their son] are very excited to have him home,” said Estrada. “This is the first time we got to see him in six months, so it was pretty rough. We are looking forward to going to Maui to soak up the sun and spend time as a family.”
Tucson is the second ship of the U.S. Navy to bear the name of the Arizona city. It is the 59th Los Angeles-class attack submarine and the 20th of the improved Los Angeles-class attack submarine to be built. Twelve vertical-launch missile tubes for Tomahawk cruise missiles provide Tucson with great offensive capability. Retractable bow planes give the ship increased maneuverability and under-ice surfacing potential.