Sailors Return Home For The Holidays Following Historic Deployment
(December 8, 2009)
GROTON, Conn. (Dec. 1, 2009) - Chief Electrician's Mate Michael J. McCoy shares the traditional "First Hug" with his daughters during the Los Angeles-class submarine USS San Juan (SSN 751) homecoming to Naval Submarine Base New London. San Juan was deployed to the U.S. European and African Command areas of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steven Myers
||GROTON, Conn. (12/1/2009 - NNS) -- Los Angeles-class attack submarine
USS San Juan (SSN 751) returned to Naval Submarine Base New
London, Dec. 1, following a regularly scheduled six-month
deployment to the U.S. European (EUCOM) and U.S. Africa
Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility (AOR).
San Juan made history during the deployment when she pulled
into Simon's Town, South Africa, Nov. 4, setting the stage
for a series of first, at-sea engagements with the South
African Navy submarine force.
"It was a unique experience," said Lt.j.g. Jason
Patton, who rode aboard one of the South African
submarines for three days during the deployment.
"Their submarine is much smaller than ours.
Also, it was a diesel submarine and not nuclear.
It's a very capable platform. It's a
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I feel very
and blessed to be
able to be one of the few that got to experience
In addition to South Africa, San Juan's 134 officers and
crew members acted as ambassadors for the United States
while conducting port calls in Souda Bay, Greece; Diego
Garcia; and Port Victoria, Seychelles.|
"It was an amazing deployment, which began June 1," said
Cmdr. Ollie Lewis, San Juan commanding officer. "I was
incredibly impressed. The crew came together at every
opportunity in order to make a difference. The operations we
were involved in had a direct impact on the global war on
terror. The groundbreaking diplomacy with the South African
Navy really gave us an opportunity to learn so much about
them and them about us."
While making its historic port call in Simon's Town, San
Juan worked with and learned from the South African navy on
various maritime pursuits, including regional security
cooperation activities, military-to-military exchanges and
community relations activities.
"This historic visit is a sign of our continued friendship
with South Africa and another important step in our efforts
to work together in addressing maritime issues," said Lewis.
"We appreciate the opportunity to work with a peer navy and
submarine force, and believe both our Navy and [South
Africa's] will benefit from this exchange."
San Juan is the first submarine to return to home port for
the holiday season in December and many family members were
eager for the return of their loved ones.
"It's been a really long time," said Heather McCoy, wife of
Chief Electrician's Mate Michael J. McCoy. "I'm very
excited. This is the longest deployment we've done. We're
used to boomer (Ohio-class submarines) life. So, this is
long for us. The longest we've ever done is three months.
This is twice as long." The McCoys, including their
daughters Kaitlynn, 9, and Brittanny, 15, were designated to
receive the traditional "First Hug".
Aisling Hatch, 21, received the traditional "First Kiss"
from her husband, Sonar Technician 3rd Class Tad Hatch.
San Juan is the third ship of the U.S. Navy to be named for
Puerto Rico's capital city. The first San Juan (SP 1352) was
acquired by the Navy from the San Juan Packing Company of
Seattle and used as a minesweeper and patrol boat during
World War I. The second vessel (CL 54) was an Atlanta-class
anti-aircraft cruiser that served during World War II.
San Juan's keel was laid August 9, 1985. The submarine was
launched Dec. 6, 1986 and commissioned August 6, 1988.
By Navy MCS 2nd Class Elena Velazquez
Naval Surface Forces Public Affairs
Navy News Service
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