USS Michigan (SSGN 727), a U.S. Navy guided missile submarine, arrived at Busan, South Korea on April 25.
Michigan’s arrival to South Korea was seen as a show of force to North Korea which was celebrating 85 years of the founding of its military.
The port visit is also likely to provoke a reaction from North Korea which objects to the deployment of U.S. aircraft carriers and nuclear-powered submarines to the Korean Peninsula. Reacting to the deployment of the USS Carl Vinson to North Korean waters, the Pyongyang regime on Sunday said it was ready to sink the carrier.
The U.S. Navy, however, said the USS Michigan sailors were on a routine stop in South Korea where they are scheduled to engage with ROK military and local community.
USS Michigan is one of four Ohio-class submarine that were converted from ballistic-missile to guided-missile submarines. Armed with tactical missiles and equipped with superior communications capabilities, guided-missile submarines are capable of launching missile strikes and supporting Special Operation Forces (SOF) missions. Each SSGN is capable of carrying over 150 Tomahawk missiles.
“This visit is yet another example of the steadfast ROK and U.S. naval partnership,” said Rear Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea. “We [U.S. and ROK navies] work closely with one another every day of the year and this well-deserved port visit is a chance for Michigan Sailors to enjoy the wonderful Busan culture that U.S. Navy Korea Sailors experience each and every day.”
“This crew has displayed incredible professionalism and dedication throughout this deployment,” Capt. Joe Turk, Michigan’s commanding officer, said. “Every sailor understands the importance of our mission and every one of them is dedicated to ensuring that mission is a success. I simply cannot be more proud of their service.”
Michigan is homeported in Bremerton, Washington and is forward deployed from Guam.