The Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Seawolf (SSN 21) arrived at its new homeport of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor Wednesday, December 14, 2022, after more than seven months deployed. This marks the first time any ship has moored at the newly constructed Olympic Pier, which was officially opened in October.
“I could not be more proud of this amazing crew. They faced every challenge of this deployment with energy and enthusiasm and absolutely crushed it,” said Cmdr. Jeff Fassbender, Seawolf’s commanding officer. “To our families – we missed you and cannot thank you enough – we could not have achieved our successes without their unwavering support, patience, and sacrifices. Returning home to our families in time for the holidays is a perfect ending to this seven month deployment. Beware the Wolf!”
The ceremonial first kiss upon return to homeport was awarded to Sonar Technician (Submarines) 2nd Class Noah Nelson and his girlfriend. The ceremonial first hug was awarded to Chief Culinary Specialist (Submarines) William Harris and his wife. Chief Information Systems Technician (Submarines) Petty Officer Mario Canas was greeted on the pier by his girlfriend and their child, who was born while Canas was on deployment.
Seawolf departed its old homeport at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton May 12, 2022 for a regularly scheduled deployment, during which the submarine and its crew performed a full spectrum of complex operations to include anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. Steaming more than 55,000 nautical miles, Seawolf was deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations and made port calls to Apra Harbor, Guam and Yokosuka, Japan. While in Yokosuka, Seawolf hosted senior submarine officers from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
“When a submarine Sailor returns from a 217-day extended deployment, the feeling cannot be understood by someone who has not experienced it. It is a satisfying sense of pride and accomplishment in each Seawolf Sailor’s chilly PACNORWEST breath today. The effort, energy, and sacrifices are never shown and their achievements are unspoken,” said Master Chief Sonar Technician (Submarines) Christopher Purdum, Seawolf’s Chief of the Boat. “They are an amazing crew who earned each others’ respect and they are more than ready to enjoy a return home to their families. The only thing that compares to these sacrifices are the family sacrifices. These Sailors and their families have earned this reunion along with my deepest respect, gratitude, and appreciation.”
“I am extremely proud of Seawolf’s performance while on deployment. Their ability to remain in theater for seven plus months represents the asymmetric advantage that is our Submarine Force. The Seawolf is the premier apex predator that has prowled the Pacific since May,” said Capt. Gary Montalvo, commander, Submarine Development Squadron (DEVRON) 5. “I want to specifically point out the incredible toughness and resiliency of the Seawolf spouses. These are amazing people who rallied together. At one point, when a spouse was struggling, their teamwork, connectivity, and dedication to what their Sailors do resulted in them finding support for each other at the most trying times. These spouses are truly the unsung heroes of our national defense. Whereas we honor the Sailors returning home today, I am as humbled to be standing with these incredible people on the pier welcoming Seawolf home.”
Seawolf, whose motto is “Beware the Wolf,” commissioned July 19, 1997 and is the fourth U.S. Navy submarine named after the solitary fish and is the lead ship of her class. SSN 21, which operates under DEVRON 5 in Silverdale, Washington, is more than 350 feet long and has eight torpedo tubes. The Seawolf-class submarine dives deeper, goes faster, and carries more torpedoes than any submarine in the fleet.
The newly-completed Olympic Pier includes state-of-the-art technologies for security and pier services for moored submarines and incorporates the latest technology to provide multiple fully redundant power sources, ensuring continuous safe in-port operations and minimizing the affects due to normal wear and tear or natural disasters. The pier will also serve as the new home for USS Connecticut (SSN 22), currently undergoing repairs at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington. Adm. Stuart Munsch, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, served as the keynote speaker for the ribbon cutting ceremony held Oct. 19, 2022.
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.