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USS Columbia En Route to Arabian Sea

Navy Newsstand

12/11/2002 11:11:00 AM

From Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- USS Columbia (SSN 771) left family and friends behind Dec. 6 for a six-month deployment with the USS Constellation (CV 64) Carrier Battle Group in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"Leaving is always difficult for our crew and their families and even more so during the holidays," said Cmdr. Duane Ashton, Columbia commanding officer. "We have a great support team for the families, however, and I am comfortable with the fact that they will be taken care of while we are deployed."

Columbia was christened in 1995 by former first lady Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). The Los Angeles-class attack submarine is approximately 360-feet long and carries a crew of 130 men.

"The crew has been preparing for this deployment, and we are all ready to go and do our part for the war on terrorism," Ashton said. "Every member of the crew is a God-send, and I am truly blessed to be serving with them."

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