USS PENNSYLVANIA - USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735) Blue and Gold crews were presented the Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) June 18 in a ceremony on Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor for completing the most successful return to strategic service to date for an Ohio-class submarine following a refueling overhaul.<br /> <br /> According to the award citation from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, Pennsylvania was recognized for meritorious service from Sept. 2012 to July 2013 during which the ship completed an engineered refueling overhaul (ERO) and returned to service 27% faster than previous fastest time for a ballistic missile submarine. This resulted in three months of additional SSBN operational availability.<br /> <br /> “You not only completed your overhaul period faster than it’s ever been done before, but you did it better,” said Rear Adm. Dietrich Kuhlmann, commander of Submarine Group 9 to the Pennsylvania Blue and Gold crews. “Every milestone and event that you had to go meet to regain your strategic mission proficiency, operational ship-driving proficiency, and tactical weapons proficiency we’re done better collectively than any boat had ever before coming out of that transition period. This is fantastic testament to the leadership and professionalism of everyone standing here.”<br /> <br /> While completing their 32-month ERO and expedited return to service, Pennsylvania also earned a third consecutive Pacific Fleet Retention Excellence award.<br /> <br /> “This award, while recognizing a lot of work completed about a year ago, is very much well deserved,” said Cmdr. Tiger Pittman, Pennsylvania Gold crew commanding officer. “We were able to accomplish what we did in large part due to the hard work, dedication and teamwork both crews displayed. We couldn’t have done this though without our families. They support us in the long hours, long weeks, and the time at sea, and that allows us to come to work focused and accomplish our very challenging and complex jobs.”<br /> <br /> The MUC was established by Former Secretary of the Navy John T. McNaughton in 1967 to be given to a unit for valorous or meritorious achievement.<br /> <br /> Pennsylvania Gold crew recently returned home to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor following an Ohio-class SSBN record-setting 140-day patrol. The submarine is one of eight Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines homeported at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, providing the survivable leg of the nation's strategic deterrent forces.