The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Topeka (SSN 754) returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Nov. 30, following a nearly seven-month deployment.
Topeka departed Pearl Harbor in May 2023 for a routine deployment, during which the crew performed a full spectrum of operations, to include anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and exercises with Allies and partners within the Indo-Pacific region.
Topeka’s crew trained to be at the highest standard of combat readiness prior to departure and maintained those standards throughout the deployment. While deployed, the submarine steamed over 40,000 nautical miles.
“This was an incredibly successful deployment for us,” said Topeka’s commanding officer, Cmdr. James Fulks, from Oklahoma City. “Submarining is a tough business, but the crew showed that nobody does it better than Topeka. I’m extremely proud of them.”
During its deployment, Topeka trained and worked closely with Australian, Japanese, and Korean Allies and partners through multilateral and bilateral exercises, including Pacific Vanguard and Silent Shark. Topeka made a liberty port call in Yokosuka, Japan, and visits to U.S. Naval Base Guam.
“The toughness and positive attitudes the Topeka family has shown throughout this entire deployment are truly extraordinary,” said Topeka’s chief of the boat, Master Chief Information System Technician (Submarines) Fredrick Bryan from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. “I can’t put into words how proud I am of the hard work our Sailors have put in; they maintain the highest level of standards in everything they do. Topeka has one of the best crews in the fleet. We owe special thanks to all our loved ones for being the keepers of our homes and families while we are away.”
During the deployment, 46 Topeka Sailors became fully qualified in submarines and earned the privilege of wearing the submarine warfare insignia, more commonly known as “dolphins,” or “fish,” on their uniforms.
“Earning my fish feels like I am truly trusted by the command,” said Electronics Technician (Nuclear) 3rd Class Brian Protspodolskiy, from Milford, Pennsylvania. “Wearing my fish makes me feel like a part of the Topeka family and a true submariner.”
Topeka was commissioned Oct. 21, 1989, and is the third navy vessel named after the capital of Kansas. Topeka is 362 feet long with a beam of 33 feet.