US guided-missile submarine Michigan returns from 30-month deployment

USS Michigan (SSGN 727) (Gold) arriving at Republic of Korea's Busan Naval Base for a port visit in 2017. Photo: US Navy

US Navy’s Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN 727) returned home to the Pacific Northwest on May 13, after spending almost three years forward-deployed in the Western Pacific.

Since its departure in December 2016, Michigan was forward-deployed to Guam, where it conducted surveillance, training and other critical missions in the 7th Fleet Area of Operation.

“Both Michigan Blue and Gold crews worked tirelessly together, and with our maintenance partners from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and the Guam-based submarine tenders Frank Cable and Emory S. Land, to keep an aging ship ready to fight at the tip of the spear in the Western Pacific,” said USS Michigan Blue’s commanding officer Capt. Bradley Terry.

“Keeping a submarine as complex as Michigan deployed for approximately 30-months is an extremely noteworthy accomplishment and demonstrates the remarkable skill, capability, and resiliency of our submarine Sailors and their families that support them.”

Michigan also worked with partners from the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) in Busan to build and maintain maritime partnerships. The rotating crews swapped seven times throughout the deployment.

“We all have great reasons to be proud of the seven crews that have kept Michigan operationally deployed for nearly 30 months,” said Capt. Christopher Kline, deputy commander, Submarine Squadron 19. “ We welcome the ship and her crew back home with the confidence that the team is ready for all challenges as the ship enters their maintenance period.”

Both Michigan Gold and Blue crews received the 2018 Submarine Squadron 19 Battle Efficiency Award (Battle E) while forward deployed. The Battle “E” is an award of merit presented to the most proficient submarine crews in each squadron. This signifies Michigan’s sustained superior technical performance and combat readiness throughout the year.

The ship is scheduled to begin a Major Maintenance Period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF).

Michigan’s return to the Pacific Northwest makes this its forth deployment since its conversion from a Trident ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) in 2007.

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