February 25, 2019 – The Los Angeles-class, fast-attack submarine USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720) returned to its homeport at Naval Submarine Base New London on Monday, Feb. 25, marking the successful completion of its final deployment.
The ship’s sponsor, Dr. Carol Sawyer, a retired professor, traveled from San Diego, California to welcome the ship home and rode on the tug alongside the boat as she made her way down the Thames River to be moored at pier six of the naval base. As ship’s sponsor, she has made a point to be at every single change of command for USS Pittsburgh, but this marks her very first homecoming.
“This is the greatest honor of my life,” said Sawyer. “I tell everyone I meet there are only three things people need to know are important to me: my family, my students and my submarine.”
Under the command of Cmdr. Jason Deichler, Pittsburgh is returning from the European Command Areas of Responsibility where the crew executed the Chief of Naval Operations’ Maritime Strategy in supporting national security interests and Maritime Security Operations.
During the deployment Pittsburgh steamed approximately 39,000 nautical miles or 44,880 statute miles, equal to approximately 1.8 trips around the world at the equator or nearly eight round trips from New London, Conn., to San Diego. Port visits were conducted in Faslane, Scotland, Rota, Spain and Haakonsvern, Norway.
Though the ship visited several international ports, none were more memorable than returning home to their families.
Shelby Parden and her three-year-old daughter, Lucella, were the first to welcome home their loved one, Machinist’s Mate Nuclear Second Class Kyle Parden, as winners of First Hug.
“I am ecstatic that my husband is home – he’s my person,” said Shelby Parden.
Sarah Bruno-Jezierski, fiance of Electrician’s Mate Nuclear Second Class Joseph Consolo, traveled from upstate New York to welcome him home with the First Kiss on his birthday, which just so happened to be the same day as the ship’s homecoming.
“I am super proud of him and the rest of the crew and so glad that he made it through,” said Bruno-Jezierski.
Wyatt Shuman, younger brother of Sonar Technician (Submarines) Third Class Burke Shuman, traveled with their mother from Arizona to welcome his brother home with surprise news that he has joined the Navy too and will leave for boot camp to be an Aviation Boatswain’s Mate on July 9 of this year. Wyatt presented his brother with the same Navy Brother shirt that Burke once gave him on the pier at homecoming.
“It feels amazing to follow in his footsteps,” said Wyatt Shuman.
Fast-attack submarines like USS Pittsburgh are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence. The submarine is designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare – from open ocean anti-submarine warfare to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, to projecting power ashore with Special Operation Forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or preparation of regional
Commissioned on Nov. 23, 1985, USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720) is the fourth U.S. Navy ship to be named for the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.