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USS Oklahoma City Returns from Six-month Deployment

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050121-10
Release Date: 1/21/2005 2:47:00 PM

By Chief Journalist (SW/AW) Mark O. Piggott, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Oklahoma City (OKC) (SSN 723) returned to Norfolk Naval Station in Norfolk, Va., Jan. 20 after completing a six-month deployment that circumnavigated North America.

Oklahoma City deployed to the Pacific Ocean in July 2004, and within three weeks, completed an inter-fleet transfer under the Arctic.

"It was really an opportunity for the submarine to conduct a first-of-a-kind deployment," said Cmdr. Gordon C. Williams, Oklahoma City's commanding officer.

"We transited under the ice, the first time a submarine of this class, a 688 first-flight, went under the ice to the Pacific," he added. "So it was kind of a worldwide deployment for us."

In the Pacific, OKC conducted operations in support of national security interests and the global war on terrorism.

"It was very challenging, but the crew was well prepared," Williams added. "We trained six months prior to deployment, and I was continually amazed as to how well the crew did."

"Three months of practice, plus time in the trainers for a transit under the ice," said Master Chief Machinist's Mate (SS) Eric Antoine, chief of the boat. "We moved right into tasking, being tasked all over the Pacific, and to see these junior Sailors mature and develop as men and Sailors was something to see."

The submarine completed its circumnavigation of North America by transiting back to the Atlantic through the Panama Canal and returning to its homeport in Norfolk.

With stealth, endurance and agility, fast-attack submarines like Oklahoma City are multimission capable - able to deploy and support special forces operations, disrupt and destroy an adversary's military and economic operations at sea, provide early strike from proximity to a target, and ensure undersea superiority.

"This was a once in a lifetime adventure," said Electronics Technician 2nd Class (SS) Sean Miller. "It was a little tense at first (transiting under the ice), but that's the great thing about being on a submarine, being able to go where no one else can go."

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