by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton, Submarine Force Pacific
The Virginia-class fast attack submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776) returned home to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after completing its latest deployment June 6, 2019.
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The crew was greeted on the historic submarine piers of Pearl Harbor by a bustling crowd of well-wishers and families, eager to welcome the Sailors home after a successful deployment.
“Every member of the crew prepared for, sustained and successfully executed all phases of this deployment,” said Cmdr. Sterling S. Jordan, commanding officer of Hawaii and a native of San Francisco, Calif. “From our initial training to the final transit home, we overcame challenges together.”
Jordan expressed pride in the accomplishments and performance of the crew with 65 percent completing their first deployment.
“As commanding officer it is has been my privilege to lead such a fine group of professional young men who selflessly carry out our nation’s most important tasking and I could not be more proud of their accomplishments,” said Jordan.
During the deployment, four babies were born and 13 Sailors and two officers earned their submarine warfare qualification.
“Every member of the crew performed above and beyond their own expectations as a result of rigorous study and preparation,” said Master Chief Machinist’s Mate Jeffery L. Hiscocks, Hawaii chief of the boat and native of Long Beach, Calif.
Hiscocks said the combined effort of strong senior leadership and motivated Sailors led to the crew performing beyond perceived limitations and maximized the ship’s potential.
During their deployment, Hawaii traveled over 40,000 nautical miles conducting operations vital to national security and engaged in a number of international cooperation activities including an exercise with the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle.
“One of the most memorable moments of the deployment for me was pulling into our first foreign port as a crew,” said Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) 2nd Class Jason J. Rutkoski, a Sailor assigned to Hawaii and a native of Montgomery, Pa. “Many of the junior members of the crew have only known the waters around Pearl Harbor. Coming from a small town in rural Pennsylvania I had never imagined setting foot in a place like Japan.”
Affectionately known as the War Canoe by its crew, USS Hawaii was escorted through Pearl Harbor’s historic waters by outrigger canoes, also known as waka, by members of the Outrigger Canoe Club.
“It was awesome seeing the canoes in the water escorting us through the harbor,” said Hiscocks. “Coming home from deployment is always special but being able to arrive in the namesake vessel for the state and be greeted by a Hawaiian blessing was a special moment I know the crew won’t soon forget.”
“The success and fate of the Hawaii depends on every member of this team, said Jordan. “We can all take solace in what we have contributed to the larger mission of peace through demonstrated and overt operational proficiency.”
At 377-feet long, USS Hawaii is slightly longer than a football field. The vessel has a 34-foot beam, and is able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and will operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged.