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USS Georgia Ready for Return

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Story Number: NNS080327-14
Release Date: 3/27/2008 3:15:00 PM

By Lt. Taylor Clark, Submarine Group 10 Public Affairs

KINGS BAY, Ga. (NNS) -- USS Georgia (SSGN 729) held a return-to-service ceremony at the Naval Submarine Base in Kings Bay, March 28.

The ceremony marks one of the biggest milestones for this newly converted SSGN submarine since its commissioning ceremony in February 1984.

That same year, Capt. Brian McIlvaine, Georgia's current commanding officer, graduated with distinction from the United States Naval Academy. Twenty-four years later, the boat and its captain find themselves together at an exciting time and McIlvaine couldn't be happier.

"This is the job that I asked for. I'd have to say it is the best one that I have had," McIlvaine said.

At the end of 2006, his detailer asked him if he wanted to roll early and change to a new command in 2007.

"I didn't know it at the time but the timing really was fortuitous because there were four SSGN command tours on that slate - two on USS Michigan (SSGN 727) and two on USS Georgia. SSGN was tops on my list. So I was very, very fortunate to get command of Georgia," he said.

Not that the new command hasn't come without challenges. McIlvaine said after being in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for the past few years, bringing the boat and crew to a new base means establishing new working relationships with the major commands on base like Trident Refit Facility (TRF) and Squadron 16/20.

"We had some growing pains working through that," said Mcilvaine. "That being said, TRF did a fantastic job getting us ready and out to sea a day early."

The other challenge McIlvaine points to is being underway and getting the crew focused on being their own repair facility at sea.

"Fixing and keeping ourselves at sea with the goal of returning to port in better shape than we left, that is key," said Mcilvaine.

The Georgia crew has been back in port for a week working the plethora of details that it takes to pull off a successful ceremony of this scale. Working the detailed life on board a submarine at sea makes the crew familiar with this type of up-tempo.

There are a number of submarines that are named for a state and could potentially be stationed in their home state – Texas, Hawaii, Virginia, Connecticut and North Carolina. The fact that Georgia is currently the only one that is stationed in its home state isn't lost on McIlvaine.

"We consistently get a great deal of support from the community here. I would say that is the case for all the boats stationed in Kings Bay, but I think we have the advantage of getting just a little bit extra because of our hull's name," said McIlvaine. "It's just a great state. A great area to be homeported in. It's a great community to be a part of."

Following the return-to-service ceremony, the boat and its crew continue with their busy timetable. The boat has scheduled May 3, as the official date for their crew split to Blue and Gold, in conjunction with an exchange of command ceremony.

Georgia is scheduled for their first deployment in July 2009.

For more news from Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, visit www.navy.mil/local/subasekb/.



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