USS Columbia attack submarine returns from deployment

USS Columbia (SSN 771) returns to the submarine piers of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Photo: US Navy

U.S. Navy’s Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Columbia (SSN 771) returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on November 18, completing her six-month Western Pacific deployment.

While deployed, Columbia visited the ports of Yokosuka and Sasebo, Japan, as well as the island of Guam. They also qualified three officers and 13 enlisted sailors in submarines and advanced 16 sailors in paygrade.

“The crew performed admirably,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Anthony P. Torres, also from Houston, Texas. “Our newest members completed several of their initial submarine qualifications and gained valuable experience, while our senior crewmembers were able to earn senior level qualifications.”

For many sailors, this deployment was an opportunity to put forth months of training into real world scenarios.

“My most memorable achievement was when I qualified my first underway watch station,” said seaman James E. Rickard, from West Palm Beach, Florida. “In my mind, that gave me the opportunity to prove myself and show my work ethic to my peers.”

USS Columbia was commissioned in 1995 and was the last Los Angeles-class submarine to be built at the Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton, Connecticut. Columbia is capable of carrying out Tomahawk strike operations, anti-submarine and surface ship tracking operations, surveillance and intelligence gathering, and even Special Forces insertions.

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