Story Number: NNS140827-02Release Date: 8/27/2014 3:03:00 AM
By Kevin Copeland, Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic Public Affairs
NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Norfolk (SSN 714) returned to Naval Station Norfolk from its final regularly scheduled deployment, Aug. 26.
The city of Norfolk's namesake will begin deactivation in 2015.
Norfolk, under the command of Cmdr. Greg Zettler, returned from the Central Command area of responsibility where the crew executed the nation's maritime strategy for supporting national security interests and maritime security operations.
"During the deployment we provided unmatched versatility to two different Combatant Commanders," said Zettler. "Norfolk conducted operations in both the U.S. Fifth and Sixth Fleet areas of responsibility in support of theater and national level tasking. The crew performed admirably throughout the deployment, professionally and enthusiastically overcoming many challenges to accomplish a wide variety of submarine missions."
Norfolk left its homeport in February, and during the deployment steamed more than 30,000 nautical miles. Port visits were conducted in Lisbon, Portugal; Rota, Spain; Bahrain; and Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates.
"Upon leaving for the deployment, I challenged the crew to return at the end of deployment having improved both themselves and the Norfolk team," said Zettler. The crew responded - one officer and 13 enlisted crewmembers completed their Submarine Warfare Qualifications and earned their gold and silver dolphins. Additionally, we had five officers and 13 enlisted Sailors earn promotions and advancements while forward deployed, including five being advanced to chief petty officer, one chief petty officer to senior chief, and one senior chief to master chief.
"We had two Sailors selected for commissioning and 28 Sailors reenlisted. Our Engineering Department Master Chief was selected to receive the 2014 Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood Award for professional excellence. Finally, we welcomed seven new members to our Norfolk family as seven Sailors became fathers."
Norfolk was built by Newport News Shipbuilding and was commissioned May 21, 1983 by then Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger. The 360-foot submarine is the third naval ship to be named in honor of the city of Norfolk. It is also the Navy's 133rd nuclear-powered submarine and 89th of the attack submarine class. The crew compliment includes 15 officers and 116 enlisted Sailors.
Zettler said the crew was disappointed to learn they make the final deployment on the ship which will shortly begin the decommissioning process.
"I consider it a deep honor to have been the last deployed commanding officer of the Norfolk and to have represented the entire Norfolk community during the namesake's last deployment. You would hardly know this is a 30-year old ship. The crew has put in a lot of work to maintain her in top material condition and she has brought us home safely following a very successful deployment. Like every Norfolk Sailor, part of my soul is woven into the fabric of the ship and its crew, and it will be a sad occasion to mark her retirement.
"For the immediate future the crew is looking forward to reuniting with their families and friends, and taking advantage of a short operational stand down, take some leave, and relax."
Fast-attack submarines like Norfolk have multifaceted missions. They use their stealth, persistence, agility and firepower to deploy and support special force operations, disrupt and destroy an adversary's military and economic operations at sea, provide early strike from close proximity, and ensure undersea superiority.