NORFOLK — The Los Angeles fast-attack submarine USS Montpelier (SSN 765) returned to Naval Station Norfolk, Feb. 5, after completing a successful deployment to the European Command and Central Command areas of responsibility.
During the deployment, the crew executed the Chief of Naval Operations' Maritime Strategy in support of national security interests and maritime security operations.
During the underway, Montpelier steamed more than 38,319 nautical miles. The crew conducted port visits in Souda Bay, Crete; Manama, Bahrain; Jebel Ali, UAE; and Toulon, France.
"I am continuously amazed by the inherent resilience and dedication demonstrated by submariners," said Cmdr. Steve Mongold, Montpelier's commanding officer. "Montpelier is manned by an exceptionally talented crew."
While on deployment, Montpelier had 18 crew members earn their warfare qualifications. They also had 15 promoted to the next pay grade.
After spending major holidays overseas, the Montpelier Sailors were ready for their homecoming in Norfolk.
"We are looking forward to being reunited and spending time with our family, friends, and loved ones," said Mongold. "Montpelier celebrated Thanksgiving with a turkey dinner and all the fixings, prepared by our outstanding culinary specialist division. Christmas Day was spent in Jebel Ali."
According to Mongold, Montpelier's crew celebrated the New Year reflecting on their accomplishments in 2015 and preparing for their journey home.
First time ombudsman Cassie Tatum, wife of Chief Fire Controlman Thomas Tatum, summed up the overall excitement of the Family Readiness Group (FRG).
"Everyone's incredibly excited to have their Sailors back home," said Cassie. "While in the shipyard for repairs, we had a lot of crew changeover, so this was a first deployment for many of our families. We all made it through and did amazingly well."
Monthly FRG meetings that turned into potlucks; social media groups created to share advice and provide a forum for questions and answers; along with monthly newsletters were some of the vehicles used to keep the families engaged and create a bond among the families on the homefront.
"I think most people will be able to look back on this time and say they made at least one friend that made a difference," said Cassie.
The wintry weather may have delayed the boat's arrival, but for Cassie and the rest of the families that surrounded Pier 3, "it's right on-time."
Fast-attack submarines like Montpelier have multi-faceted missions. They use their stealth, persistence, agility and firepower to deploy and support special force operations, disrupt and destroy an adversary's military and economic operations at sea, provide early strike from close proximity, and ensure undersea superiority.
Montpelier is the third ship in the U.S. Navy to be named for the city of Montpelier, Vermont. Built by the Newport News Shipbuilding Company and Drydock Company, the "Mighty Monty" was commissioned March 13, 1993. The submarine has a crew complement of 15 officers and 129 enlisted. The submarine is 360-feet long, and can travel in excess of 25 knots.