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USS Georgia Gold Crew Returns Home

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS100208-18
Release Date: 2/8/2010 6:11:00 PM

From Commander Submarine Group 10 Public Affairs

KINGS BAY, Ga. (NNS) -- Sailors from USS Georgia (SSGN 729) Gold Crew were greeted by family and friends as they arrived at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Fla., Feb. 8.

Georgia began its maiden SSGN deployment from its homeport, Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., Aug. 6, 2009.

In October 2009, Georgia Gold Crew flew to Diego Garcia and completed crew exchange with the Blue Crew. By using Diego Garcia as a crew exchange point, the SSGN can maintain a continuous presence in its area of operation for 70 percent of the year.

Georgia Gold Crew was scheduled to conduct a crew exchange and return to Kings Bay in December 2009, but their deployment was extended.

"When they got delayed, we felt like deflated balloon," said Cheryl Aston, whose husband is Georgia Gold Crew's chief of the boat. "Now we are very anxious and excited, it doesn't feel real."

Georgia Gold Crew's command support team has been preparing for the welcome home for days. They coordinated buses, decorations and refreshments with NAS Jacksonville and kept in close contact with the families trying to keep them up-to-date on the crews arrival in Jacksonville, located about an hour from Kings Bay.

The command support team also arranged for a family day Feb. 6. Families met at the base housing community center to decorate a banner and make signs welcoming their Sailors home.

"While our husbands are away, we try to be there for each other," said Kathy Brown, wife of Georgia Gold Crew's commanding officer. "The fact that we are close and take care of each other shows in our numbers. We had 90 people RSVP for Saturday's (Feb. 6) event; we must be doing something right."

The crew has also been very productive, they are returning with a full crew of qualified submariners.

When a Sailor enters the submarine service he has about one year to qualify submarines. To qualify, he must complete a qualification card, pass a test and a board. During each of these tasks the Sailor must show a working knowledge of damage control, navigation, propulsion, combat, electronic and auxiliary systems. The qualification board is made up of senior Sailors who are considered experts on their systems.

"In my 27 years this has never happened before, for all of our young Sailors to have earned their dolphins," said Chief of the Boat Master Chief Gary Aston. "It was great to see them transition from boys to men during this deployment, I'm very proud of them."

Georgia Gold Crew will conduct one more crew exchange before Georgia returns to Kings Bay from a year long deployment.

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