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    Former First Lady congratulates USS Houston on final deployment

    Former First Lady congratulates USS Houston on final deployment

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Swink | PEARL HARBOR (OCT. 28, 2015) Sailors and officers stand topside aboard the Los...... read more read more

    PEARL HARBOR, HI, UNITED STATES

    10.28.2015

    Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Swink 

    Commander Submarine Forces Pacific

    PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - Former First Lady of the United States and ship's sponsor Barbara Bush congratulated the crew of the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Houston (SSN 713) via video message for a job well done before it returned to Pearl Harbor from the final scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific Region, Oct. 28.

    "I am extremely proud of the work you have done on this final deployment," said Bush. "Years from now, you will look back and feel a deep sense of honor and pride on your accomplishments."

    The First Lady went on to congratulate the commanding officer, Cmdr. Scott McGinnis; the executive officer, Cmdr. Steven Dawley; and chief of the boat, Sonar Technician Senior Chief Paul McCrory. "Your leadership has paved the way for the successful conclusion to the amazing 33 year journey of warship Houston."

    "To the crew, it is your hard work that has made a difference in preserving freedom and protecting our way of life," said Bush. "Like those brave Sailors that took to the sea in the cause of freedom aboard the previous USS Houston, you are the guardians of their heritage and you carry their noble spirit in the service of our great nation."

    Skipper McGinnis attributed the success of one of the oldest submarines in the fleet to the outstanding performance of his crew, guided and mentored by the wardroom and chief's mess.

    "Chiefs and division officers utilized their vast experience to coach young Sailors into a cohesive, success-driven team," said McGinnis. "The deck-plate leadership energized and motivated the significant portion of the crew who had not previously deployed."

    Steaming more than 35,000 nautical miles, Houston conducted a variety of operations vital to national security and bilateral exercises in support of U.S. 7th Fleet Theater Security Cooperation goals. Houston's crew enjoyed five port calls conducting community relations activity and engaging with foreign navy counterparts.

    During the deployment, 16 enlisted submariners and 3 officers became submarine qualified and are now entitled to wear the submarine warfare insignia, or dolphins. Houston Sailors also advanced in rank at a rate 20 percent higher than the Navy average, including four new chief petty officers.

    Chief of the Boat McCrory, a Pittsburgh native, was impressed with his crew's ship handling and their ability to stay on station through some very unique operations.

    "This was a great last ride for the Houston," said McCrory. "Out of the seven deployments I have done, that was by far the best performance I have seen from any crew I have had the pleasure of serving with."

    Friends and families gathered at the submarine piers on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam with banners and signs to welcome home the Houston crew as she returned to Pearl Harbor's historic submarine piers.

    "We're so proud of him," said Theresa Rodriguez, who traveled from her hometown of Brick, New Jersey, to welcome home her son, Electronics Technician 2nd Class John Rodriguez. "We just can't imagine what he goes through, but it's amazing."

    Electrician's Mate 1st Class Joshua Rasmussen from Becker, Minnesota, surprised his girlfriend, Samantha Barnum, when he dropped to one knee with a marriage proposal on the red carpet.

    "It's so surreal, I don't even believe it," said Barnum. "I am very proud of him, and glad he's back."

    As the ship's sponsor, Bush christened the 360-foot attack submarine in March of 1981. In its 33-year career, Houston has earned numerous awards and accolades including two Navy Unit Commendations and two Meritorious Unit Commendations.

    "Thank you for your dedication, service and hard work. I wish you a safe journey home. God Bless USS Houston and all who sail and have sailed aboard her," said Bush.

    Houston is the fourth U.S. Navy vessel named in honor of the city of Houston, Texas. She is a Los Angeles-class submarine displacing 6,900 tons. She can be fitted with Mk-48 torpedoes and Tomahawk missiles.

    For more information about Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit www.csp.navy.mil.

    -CSP-

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 10.28.2015
    Date Posted: 10.29.2015 03:36
    Story ID: 180266
    Location: PEARL HARBOR, HI, US 

    Web Views: 2,488
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