The Emory S. Land-class submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) returned to its homeport of Apra Harbor, Guam, May 16, 2022.
Frank Cable departed Guam on March 1 for a second patrol after turning over lead maintenance activity responsibilities with USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) in September 2021.
“I’m very, very proud of our crew,” said Capt. Albert Alarcon, Frank Cable’s commanding officer. “They performed remarkably well as ambassadors of our Pacific submarine force, our Navy, and our nation. They seamlessly exercised the concepts of operation and theater security cooperation events vital to advancing our warfighting readiness in the Pacific Theater, while significantly advancing interoperability with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and reinforcing the strong relationship between our countries — and their service in the local community resonates that unique bond that has withstood the test of time.”
Frank Cable’s first port visit was to Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, Australia, where the ship’s hybrid crew of Sailors and Military Sealift Command civil service mariners teamed up to help the Australian Defence Force in Operation Flood Assist.
Prior to Frank Cable’s arrival, Queensland suffered catastrophic flooding for the second year in a row. Frank Cable was ready to help with cleanup efforts the day after mooring pierside.
“When we got here, we heard about the disasters that had struck, and we wanted to see what we could do to help,” Electronics Technician 3rd Class Jonathon Sjoblom told Australian Defence Force media as he took part in the cleanup. “Any part that we can do to help relieve any of that stress and that burden from them [flooding victims]; we want to be a part of that.”
Sjoblom was one of the more than 200 Frank Cable Sailors who volunteered.
The next city to host Frank Cable was the port city of Sydney. There, the crew hosted various members of the Royal Australian Navy, including Vice Adm. Michael Noonan, Chief of Navy Australia, and RAN sailors assigned to the RAN base HMAS Kuttabul.
Australian naval base HMAS Stirling on Garden Island off the coast of Perth, Australia was the next port visit for Frank Cable.
While at HMAS Stirling, headquarters for the Australian submarine fleet, the crew conducted expeditionary maintenance and logistics with both a U.S. Navy and a RAN submarine. The RAN Collins-class submarine HMAS Farncomb (SSG 71) moored alongside Frank Cable, where various hoses – ranging from fuel to potable water – were lowered and successfully attached.
“This inaugural expeditionary logistics demonstration performed with HMAS Farncomb demonstrated the full scope of tender services from a U.S. Navy submarine tender to an allied submarine,” said Lt. Anthony Moretti, Frank Cable’s operations officer. “This event was critical to validating U.S. Navy interoperability with the Royal Australian Navy. These types of demonstrations reinforce that the forged relationships between our countries is strong and highlights our nation’s commitment to our allies and partners.”
This exercise demonstrated that in the future, U.S. Navy submarine tenders can provide tender services to our Australian allies.
Frank Cable also completed a weapons handling exercise involving the transfer of a Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) inert training shape to the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Springfield (SSN 761) while giving hands-on training.
While in Western Australia, Frank Cable crewmembers volunteered in Perth at a local homeless shelter where they helped distribute care packages, and were honored to march in the Fremantle Anzac Day Parade.
Frank Cable visited the historic Northern Territory city of Darwin for liberty. Here, crewmembers had the opportunity to see some of the country’s wildlife, including tours down the Adelaide River and Litchfield National Park to see saltwater crocodiles in their native habitat. They were able to visit the local museums, including the Darwin Military Museum, which holds various artifacts and a historical record of the role Darwin played during World War II.
“Frank Cable did a superb job showcasing their unique expeditionary combat support capabilities throughout this patrol,” said Rear Adm. Rick Seif, commander, Submarine Group 7. “By working alongside our Australian allies on multiple precision weapons handling exercises, Frank Cable both enhanced the interoperability and readiness of our forces and helped to further strengthen our great alliance.”
Frank Cable, forward-deployed to the island of Guam, repairs, rearms, and re-provisions submarines and surface vessels in the Indo-Pacific region.