February 21, 2020 – The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Colorado (SSN 788) returned from its maiden deployment to its homeport at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut, Feb. 20.
Under the command of Capt. Jason Geddes, Colorado returns from a deployment to the U.S. European Command area of responsibility where it executed the chief of naval operations’ maritime strategy by supporting national security interests and maritime security operations.
“I am humbled by the skill, hard work, and dedication these Colorado warriors displayed for our maiden deployment,” said Geddes. “It was an all-hands effort to include the love and support we enjoyed from our amazing families back home.”
Colorado arrived at Submarine Base New London to the greeting of friends and family members who showed their support with cheers and handmade welcome home signs.
“I’m absolutely excited and ecstatic right now,” said Lacy Gardner, mother to Sonar Technician (Submarine) Seaman Apprentice Demetrius Heiner. “I brought a sign that says, ‘Welcome Home STS Heiner I’m so proud of you.’”
Chief Electronics Technician (Communications) Justin Wright received the opportunity to be the “first kiss” with his wife Ashley of almost 13 years out on the pier when returning home.
“I’m just so happy,” said Wright “I found out a couple days ago that I got the first kiss. This has been important for the last 48 hours. Been thinking about it every night.”
Wright was also greeted with hugs and kisses from his two children.
“I feel very happy,” said Kadence, daughter of Wright. “I want to go home and cuddle with him on the couch.”
During the deployment, Colorado steamed approximately 39,000 nautical miles with the crew supporting diplomatic relationships by conducting port visits in Haakonsvern, Norway and Faslane, Scotland, and celebrated the milestone of crossing into the Arctic Circle.
Twenty-one enlisted Sailors and five officers earned their submarine warfare qualification, known as “dolphins,” while 12 enlisted Sailors advanced to the next pay grade and three reenlisted.
Colorado was commissioned in March 2018 as the 15th Virginia-class fast-attack submarine to join the fleet. The crew demonstrated critical navigational and ship handling skills throughout the deployment.
“It’s truly impressive that after only a year-and-a-half after commissioning, our crew displayed the toughness and tenacity required to go to the far-reaching corners of the earth in support of our nation’s interests,” said Master Chief Electronics Technician (Radio) Larry Alger. “We’re ready to get back out to the fight if called on to do it tomorrow.”
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 preparation of regional crises.
The Virginia-class submarine is 377 feet long and 34 feet wide, and weighs about 7,900 tons when submerged. Underwater, it can reach speeds in excess of 25 knots.