SSN 725 Helena
USS HELENA (SSN 725), named for the city of Helena, Montana, is the fourth United States Ship to bear the name.
USS HELENA (SSN 725), a 688 class nuclear attack submarine is the 37th ship of the class, and is the fourth United States Ship to bear the name of the capital city of the state of Montana. SSN 725's keel was laid on September 16, 1984 at General Dynamics Corporation, Electric Boat Division, Groton, Connecticut. She was launched June 28, 1986 and commissioned USS HELENA on July 11, 1987.
Following a successful six-month deployment in the Seventh Fleet area of operations, USS HELENA returned home to San Diego in mid-December 2003. Upon their return, HELENA was awarded the 2003 Commander, Submarine Squadron Eleven Battle Efficiency "E" and Supply Blue "E."
The Battle "E" is awarded annually to the submarine that exhibits the highest state of departmental readiness in their group to carry out their wartime tasks. A submarine's performance during weapons inspections, training exercises, tactical readiness examinations, operational performance and overall readiness all contribute to the award.
While on deployment, HELENA participated in various exercises with U.S. assets and allied countries, including a multi-national exercise with Australia. In addition to its numerous operating commitments HELENA was able to enjoy port visits in South Korea, Japan, Australia, Guam and Saipan.
Commissioned on July 8, 1897, HELENA (PG 9) saw extensive action in Cuban waters during the Spanish-American War, exchanging gunfire with the enemy batteries at Fort Tunas, Cuba. She participated in the closing of the Port of Manzanillo by sinking or destroying eight enemy vessels on July 18, 1898. On November 3, 1898, she sailed from Boston, Massachusetts for the Philippines, where she provided naval gunfire support during the Philippine Insurrection.
The second HELENA (CL 50) was commissioned on September 18, 1939 and was moored at 1010 Dock, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on the morning of December 7, 1941. Sustaining severe damage from Japanese torpedo bombers, she was repaired and returned to the Western Pacific where she earned seven battle stars and the first Navy Unit Commendation ever awarded. She was lost during the American invasion of New Georgia when hit by three Japanese torpedoes in rapid sequence. Seven hundred and thirty nine of nine hundred and eight crewmembers were rescued by various means.
Launched on April 28, 1945, the third HELENA (CA 75) was commissioned on September 4, 1945. She fought with pride during the Korean Conflict, earning four battle stars and the first Korean Presidential Unit Citation awarded to a naval unit.
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