USS Olympia Returns from Deployment
Story Number: NNS050811-06
Release Date: 8/11/2005 1:58:00 PM
From USS Olympia Public Affairs
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- USS Olympia (SSN 717) returned from a six-month Western Pacific deployment Aug. 6.
Olympia departed Pearl Harbor Feb. 7 and joined the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Strike Group.
During their deployment, the crew was involved in many missions, including an integrated exercise simulation. Chief of the Boat Henry Schwind said the crew functioned like a “well-oiled machine.”
“The crew had great focus and were complete professionals,” he said.
Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Michael Passalacqua reported to the submarine before the deployment. He said he was nervous, but the crew helped him adapt.
“Deploying is what we do in the Navy to help protect our country,” said Passalacqua. “At first, I was a little apprehensive when I reported on board. However, everyone aboard helped me get settled and used to the daily routine,” he said.
Despite the long hours and many missions, the crew still had time for a little relaxation and visited many ports, including Saipan, Japan, Singapore and Guam. Some Sailors volunteered their time to communities by making minor repairs to local nursing homes and orphanages. They even had time for a swim call between missions in the warm Pacific waters.
“Sometimes life on board can be challenging, but stuff like this is why I’m staying in for another tour,” said Lt. John Bacholzky, after taking a dive from the ship’s fairwater planes.
After a clean-up in Saipan of an old War World II memorial, the mayor of Saipan recognized the crew’s effort with a short speech, a few mementos and a picnic at the park.
In June, when Olympia visited the home of the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) submarine force in Chinhae, the Korean submariners were gracious hosts, providing tours of their submarines to the crew. During the visit, Olympia had the honor of hosting the commander of the ROK Submarine Flotilla aboard for a tour and lunch.
The ROK admiral was extremely impressed with the crew’s professionalism and expressed gratitude for the submarine’s visit to Chinhae.
Following the port visit, Olympia joined the ROK submarine Lee Sun Shin to conduct an exercise. The exercise provided excellent real-world training opportunities for both submarines.
Olympia arrived in Guam July 6 for a scheduled 10-day repair period alongside the deployed submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40).
The crew worked hard to conduct a number of repairs during this visit and took full advantage of Frank Cable’s remarkable capabilities. After completing the upkeep period, Olympia conducted several exercises with another submarine, destroyer and maritime patrol aircraft, culminating in an exercise torpedo firing.
The nuclear-powered attack submarine was also provided a chance to highlight the best of submarine life when two groups of Midshipmen joined the ship during the last two months of the deployment. The Midshipmen spent a few weeks aboard to learn about the many aspects of submarine operations and to experience the camaraderie of a close-knit crew.
The chief of the boat was pleased with his crew’s performance throughout the deployment.
“The results were phenomenal in every possible way,” said Schwind. “I could not ask for anything more. The current level of performance of the crew was perfect, and I have never seen another crew perform this well.”
Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Timothy Johnson said this was an exceptional deployment.
“I am very proud to be a part of such a successful deployment - to be able to contribute something back to our nation and still experience as many foreign ports as we did,” he said.
Olympia is the Navy's 104th nuclear-powered submarine and the 95th attack submarine. Launched at Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Newport News, Va., Olympia was commissioned Nov. 17, 1984.
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