Story Number: NNS140213-14Release Date: 2/13/2014 6:40:00 PM
By Lt. Timothy Hawkins, Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs
GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- Attack submarine USS Virginia (SSN 774) returned home to Groton, Conn., Feb. 13 after completing a scheduled six-month overseas deployment in the European operating region.
Virginia's crew of more than 130 Sailors departed Groton Aug. 13 to conduct assigned missions in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.
U.S. 6th Fleet commander Vice Adm. Phil Davidson lauded the ship's operational performance in a message to the crew Feb. 7.
"You were the go-to boat for the most high-priority, challenging tasking," wrote Davidson. "You can be very proud of a job well done."
Virginia is the first ship in the Navy's newest class of next-generation attack submarines. She was commissioned in 2004 and completed her maiden overseas deployment in 2010.
The crew made port calls to Norway, Scotland and England during the submarine's second overseas deployment.
"The timing of this deployment meant that we were apart from our families for the Thanksgiving and holiday season, making us even more aware of the reason we volunteer to serve," said Cmdr. Steve Antcliff, Virginia's commanding officer.
This was Antcliff's fifth deployment in a 23-year Navy career. He assumed command of Virginia last February.
"The crew's exceptional training, hard work, and the support of our families made this deployment a success," Antcliff said.
He said the crew's spouses are the "real heroes" because they remained resilient while Sailors operated at sea.
Now that the crew has returned, six babies, including a set of twin girls, are meeting their dads for the first time. Assigned missions prevented the five proud fathers from making it back home sooner.
USS Virginia is equipped to attack targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters and other sea-based forces.
She can also perform anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare, deliver and support special forces, and conduct mine delivery and minefield mapping operations.
The 377-foot-long vessel is capable of diving to depths greater than 800 feet and operating at speeds in excess of 25 knots when submerged.
For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/Subgru2/.