The crew of the submarine USS Hawaii said goodbye to friends at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Monday as the state’s namesake Virginia-class submarine departed for a six-month Western Pacific deployment.
"We are very proud to be the USS Hawaii, in Hawaii, and take a tremendous amount of pride in the fact that we will be representing these beautiful islands, our Navy, and our nation while deployed," said Cmdr. Steve Mack, the sub’s commanding officer.
Since returning in February 2011 from her maiden Western Pacific deployment, the first for the Virginia class, Hawaii has undergone maintenance and conducted training in preparation for this deployment, the Navy said.
"The submarine is in excellent material condition. Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and the Fleet Maintenance Branch team do an outstanding job of keeping our ships ‘fit to fight,’ and we are well prepared for sustained operations at sea away from all shore-based maintenance support," Mack said.
This will be the first time deploying for many of Hawaii’s sailors, and for others that have deployed previously, this will be their first chance to deploy to the Western Pacific, according to Mack.
Measuring 377 feet long, weighing 7,800 tons when submerged and a crew size of 129, Hawaii is one of the Navy’s newest and most technologically sophisticated submarines.
The submarine is capable of supporting a multitude of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike, naval special warfare involving special operations forces, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, irregular warfare and mine warfare.