Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS New Hampshire (SSN 778) returned to its homeport at Naval Station Norfolk after successfully completing a scheduled deployment, Tuesday, Jan. 17.
Under the command of Capt. Bennett Christman, New Hampshire returns from a six-month deployment where it executed the chief of naval operations’ maritime strategy by supporting national security interests and maritime security operations.
“I am extremely proud of the determination and teamwork displayed by my team through six grueling months of deployment,” said Christman. “Our operations changed frequently and often with little notice, as is expected in the dynamic environment of the EUCOM theater of operations. The crew adapted and flexed quickly with both resilience and commitment. You couldn’t wish for a better crew.”
Christman also took time to highlight the group effort behind New Hampshire’s successful deployment.
“I also want to thank the excellent support provided by Commander, Submarine Group Eight and Commander, Task Force 69 teams in theater,” said Christman. “Their consistent effort kept New Hampshire in the fight. Finally, the Submarine Squadron Six and Submarine Readiness Squadron 34 teams did an excellent job back in homeport providing pay, personnel, and administrative support, allowing my team to stay focused on the mission at hand.”
Seaman Fire Control Technician Tanner Hornsby shared his excitement to be one of the first Sailors off the boat as he prepared to greet his significant other with the traditional first kiss.
“Coming home is such an amazing experience, especially after being away from family for so long,” said Hornsby. “Deployment was an unbelievable ride and I love the crew, but there’s nothing like family.”
Lt. Erin Ford, New Hampshire’s navigator, also shared her thoughts on returning home from deployment and seeing her family again.
“It’s always a different world when you’re on deployment,” said Ford. “It’s you, the boat and the crew, and that’s all there is. It’s wonderful to come home and be here with our families, who are part of the reason we do what we do.”
During the deployment, New Hampshire steamed more than 37,000 nautical miles with the crew supporting diplomatic relationships by conducting port visits in Faslane, Scotland, and Hakoonsvern and Tromso, Norway.
Thirty enlisted Sailors and six officers earned their submarine warfare qualification, known as ‘dolphins,’ four officers were promoted, and 15 Sailors reenlisted.
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.