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    USS California returns from deployment

    USS California returns from deployment

    Photo By Chief Petty Officer Joshua Karsten | 240214-N-GR655-1148 GROTON, Conn. (February 14, 2023) – Cmdr. Kenneth Kirkwood,...... read more read more



    Story by Lt.j.g. Wallis Lawrence 

    Submarine Readiness Squadron (SRS) 32

    GROTON, Connecticut – The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS California (SSN 781), under the command of Cmdr. Kenneth Kirkwood, returned to Naval Submarine Base New London on Wednesday, February 14, completing a six-month deployment to the U.S. European Command area of operations.

    Capt. Thomas O’Donnell, commander of Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) 12, under which California operates, praised the crew’s successful deployment and welcomed them back home.

    "I am proud to welcome the California and her crew back for the first homecoming in 2024." O'Donnell said. "This crew repeatedly excels in all aspects of warfighting and I am constantly impressed by their achievements."

    "The constant presence of U.S. Navy submarines abroad acts as a reminder to our adversaries of the lethal edge the United States has among any and all competitors and these sailors demonstrate that lethality every day." O'Donnell added. "Our unwavering presence is vital to maintaining our dominance in the undersea domain and the California exemplified that presence. I want to congratulate the crew on their stellar performance and give a special thanks to their families for their continuous love and sacrifice back home."

    During its deployment, California steamed nearly 39,000 nautical miles and made port calls to Norway, Scotland and Spain. While deployed, 34 personnel earned their submarine warfare devices – commonly referred to as “dolphins.”

    Petty Officer Second Class Fabian Sanchez, winner of the traditional “first hug,” was among the first sailors to depart the boat to greet his wife, Samantha Sanchez and children, Alaya, 4, Makayla, 2, and Ezekiel, 1.

    “Thank god he’s home.” Sanchez said. “It’s amazing my valentine is finally home.” She continued.

    USS California was the eighth Virginia-class submarine built when it was commissioned in October of 2011. SSN 781 is the seventh U.S. Navy ship named for the state of California, most recently following a nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser in commission from 1974-1999. Previous ships to bear the name USS California included a Tennessee-class battleship that was active during World War II and a Pennsylvania-class cruiser that went on to serve during World War I.

    The submarine California has a crew of more than 130 personnel, is more than 377 feet long and can displace nearly 7,900 tons.

    The Virginia-class of nuclear-powered fast attack submarines are designed for a broad spectrum of open-ocean and littoral missions. Fast-attack submarines are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence. They are designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare, strike warfare, special operations, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, irregular warfare and mine warfare. Fast-attack submarines project power ashore with special operations forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or response to regional crises.



    Date Taken: 02.14.2024
    Date Posted: 02.14.2024 16:39
    Story ID: 463902
    Location: GROTON, CT, US

    Web Views: 1,565
    Downloads: 2