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Submariners Return Home to Naval Station Norfolk from Iraq

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070420-04
Release Date: 4/20/2007 11:53:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christina M. Shaw, Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Navy Customs Battalion ROMEO, a group of reservists including submariners from all over the continent, returned to Naval Station Norfolk from a deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on April 17.

The submariners, usually known for spending numerous months without seeing daylight, represent a prime example of what Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael G. Mullen refers to as the Navy taking on more of a presence on the ground.

“America’s Navy provides unique and enduring operational options for the president and combatant commanders,” stated Mullen in a 2006 Proceedings article [What I Believe: Eight Tenets That Guide My Vision for the 21st Century Navy, January 2006].

Rear Adm. Jay Deloach, Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Resources, Requirements and Assessments, was there to welcome the Sailors home and thank them for their contributions to operations overseas.

“Congratulations on your completion of a very trying deployment. You all worked brilliantly as a team helping us out in this time of need,” said Deloach.

Sailors who deployed with ROMEO worked with the Army and Air Force in different locations throughout Iraq and Kuwait inspecting passengers, personal baggage and vehicles from deploying and redeploying units. The inspectors provided the first line of defense against the introduction contraband, foreign pests and pathogens before it was sent back to the United States.

Senior Chief Sonar Technician Submarines Steven Blythe said he feels the interaction was an eye opening experience.

“We were able to collectively pull together and compare our different areas of training with the Army and Air Force’s. We were all very well trained and because of that we were able to quickly adapt to the scenarios thrown at us,” said Blythe.

ROMEO has been replaced by another battalion, Customs Battalion SIERRA, which will spend between six and seven months in Iraq.

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