BANGOR, Wash. (NNS) - Trident ballistic missile submarine USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) and its Gold Crew returned to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor on Jan. 1 following an 88-day strategic deterrent patrol.

Capt. Paul Skarpness, commander of Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) 17, was among those on hand as Nebraska – with a bright red lei draped over its sail – arrived pierside carrying the Gold Crew, as well as a number of dependents who got to spend a few hours aboard during the transit to Bangor.

"We still have a lot of work to do, getting ready for our crew turnover, but it's great to be home," said Electronics Technician 2nd Class (SS) Giancarlo Locandro after reuniting with his wife on the pier. "We did what we had to do out there."

Earlier in the day, Nebraska learned that it had earned the Battle Effectiveness Award, or Battle "E," for SUBRON 17.

"My crew did an outstanding job out there – absolutely phenomenal," said Cmdr. Mike Fisher, commanding officer of Nebraska's Gold Crew. "The crew is jazzed that we won the Battle 'E.'"

During Nebraska's patrol, which began Oct. 6, a total of 14 Sailors from the Gold Crew – 10 enlisted and four officers – earned their submarine qualifications and the right to wear the coveted submariner's "dolphins."

In addition, five Nebraska Sailors became fathers during the patrol.

"Just like the rest of my guys, I'm excited and energized to be back home," said the Gold Crew's chief of the boat, Senior Chief Electronics Technician (SS) David Turley.

The 14th of 18 Ohio-class SSBNs, Nebraska is one of eight ballistic missile submarines homeported at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, providing the survivable leg of the nation's strategic forces.

For more news from Commander, Submarine Group 9, visit www.navy.mil/local/csg9/.