Los Angeles-class submarine USS Helena returns from six-month mission

Sailors cross the brow of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Helena (SSN 725) as it returns to its homeport of Naval Station Norfolk. Photo: US Navy

The U.S. Navy’s Los Angeles fast-attack submarine USS Helena (SSN 725) completed her six-month deployment to the European Command and Central Command areas of responsibility returning to Naval Station Norfolk Wednesday, June 21.

USS Helena (SSN 725) operated under the guidance of a Chief of Naval Operations released document that addresses how the Navy will adapt to changes in the security environment.

Titled “Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority by Strengthening our U.S. Naval Power at Sea and by Expanding and Strengthening our Network of Partners”, the document was released by Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson in January 2016 and can be read here.

“I could not be more proud of the job the Sailors of Helena have done over the past six months as they dealt with material issues, cold environments, and the lack of communications with their family that is inherent in the submarine service,” said Cmdr. Jason Pittman, Helena’s commanding officer. “They have taken a 30 year old ship to some of the most challenging environments that submarines can operate and stayed at sea with no significant material issues. They have worked hard for six months and the results that they have achieved stand as a testament to their resiliency and teamwork.”

During the deployment Helena steamed more than 35,000 nautical miles and was able to conduct port visits in Haakonsvern, Norway; Faslane, Scotland and Brest, France.

While on deployment, Helena had two officers and 16 enlisted crew members earn their warfare qualifications. They also had 13 Sailors promoted to the next pay grade. There were some additions to the Helena family during the time away as well.

Helena is the 38th Los Angeles-class attack submarine and fourth ship to bear the name of the capital city, Helena, Mont. The submarine was built by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation, Groton, Connecticut, and commissioned July 11, 1987. The 360-foot ship has a current crew compliment of 16 officers and 134 enlisted sailors, and displaces more than 7,100 tons of water.

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