GROTON, Conn. -- The Los Angeles class attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768) returned to Naval Submarine Base New London from a regularly scheduled deployment Nov. 17.
Hartford, under the command of Cmdr. Steve Wilkinson, returned from the European Command Area of Responsibility where it executed the nation's maritime strategy in supporting national security interests and maritime security operations.
"I could not be more proud of the crew's efforts while on this deployment," said Wilkinson. "Through their hard work and dedication we were able to successfully complete all of our missions and taskings."
Hartford left its homeport May 15 and steamed more than 28,000 nautical miles during the deployment. Port visits were conducted in Haakonsvern, Norway; Faslane, Scotland; Lisbon, Portugal; and Portsmouth, England.
"I want to add my congratulations to the chorus of senior leaders who have commended your noteworthy performance on deployment - well done," said Rear Adm. Rick Breckenridge, commander, Submarine Group 2. "There is no greater reward than to mark the final turn upon return to Groton and be greeted by loved ones, Hartford fans, and a very grateful nation."
USS Hartford Ombudsman Kelly Zierenberg is one of many loved ones who looked forward to the return of the submarine and her crew. Zierenberg reflected on the tight bond formed while the boat was deployed.
"I have been a Navy wife for 21 years, and I have never seen a stronger group of people. The way we have pulled together and have helped one another is truly amazing," said Zierenberg. "From making meals for our new moms to helping one of our own after a minor surgery, who didn't have immediate family in the area, we all came together, especially during the hurricane."
Amanda Armstrong was one of the first to greet her husband, Chief Electronics Technician (SS) Nakia Armstrong with the "first kiss", when USS Hartford returned from deployment. Another family also enjoyed the time honored "first hug" when the submarine pulled in. Melody Greway and her son Teague, greeted Lt. Edward Greway. Additionally,five babies were born during the deployment .
While on deployment, family members and crew found ways to stay physically fit. More than 20 spouses and relatives of Sailors stationed aboard the submarine took part in the 19th annual ING Hartford, 5k, half and full marathon, in mid-October. Nearly a dozen Sailors, including Wilkinson, collectively biked, ran, and rowed "768" miles, which is equal to the submarine's hull number.
USS Hartford, commissioned Dec. 10, 1994, is the second U.S. naval vessel to be named in honor of the city of Hartford.