The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS California (SSN 781) returned home to Naval Submarine Base New London on Thursday, Dec. 8, after a four-month deployment.
“Our submarines provide our nation with unmatched stealth and firepower that can be wielded at any time,” said Capt. Thomas O’Donnell, commander of Submarine Squadron 12, under which California operates. “Cmdr. Henry and his California crew exhibited that high state of readiness and effectiveness over the last several months by executing a short-notice, unscheduled surge deployment to the European Command area of operations. We’re glad to welcome them home now to spend the holidays with their families after another job well-done.”
After California moored to the pier Thursday, the ship’s Petty Officer 3rd Class Louis Longwell and his girlfriend Sabine Saladrigas were recognized with the ceremonial first kiss on the pier, while Senior Chief Petty Officer Joseph Wisniewski and his three children were recognized with the ceremonial first hug.
Lt. Tom Krysil, California’s navigator, met his baby son, Christopher, for the first time. Krysil’s wife – and Christopher’s mother – is Molly Krysil, who is also a submarine-qualified Navy officer.
“I’m incredibly proud of the crew of California, who showed once again that America’s Submarine Force is agile and mission ready at all times,” said Cmdr. James Henry, commanding officer of USS California. “This is a dedicated, hard-working team of Sailors and I’m honored to serve alongside them at sea. As with any operational period, we couldn’t do it without the love, support and sacrifice of our families back home, and I’m happy to lead this crew home for the holidays.”
USS California was commissioned on Oct. 29, 2011. SSN 781 is the seventh U.S. warship commissioned under the name California, following a Tennessee-class battleship active during World War II and the 1974 lead ship of a class of nuclear-powered guided missile cruisers, among others. The submarine California has a crew of more than 130 personnel, is more than 377 feet long and can displace nearly 7,900 tons.
Fast-attack submarines are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence. They are designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare, strike warfare, special operations, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, irregular warfare and mine warfare. Fast-attack submarines project power ashore with special operations forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or response to regional crises.