PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS La Jolla (SSN 701) departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Thursday, Jan. 27, for a scheduled six-month deployment to the Middle East and the Western Pacific.

USS La Jolla's commanding officer, Cmdr. Jeff Bernard, commented that the crew is extremely excited and well prepared to get underway.

"The crew has worked very hard and we have conducted extensive training during the deployment preparation phase and will continue to hone the lessons learned from that training as we transit to our operational areas," said Bernard. "There is a great deal of satisfaction within the crew to be finally finished preparing for this deployment and to begin operations at sea."

This deployment will be the first for the majority of the crew, where according to Bernard, they will conduct many training exercises and qualifications as well being available for any tasking which comes their way.

"This deployment will provide an optimal time for a great deal of submarine qualifications, watch station and other divisional qualifications to be completed," said Bernard. "Our goal is to maximize operational readiness in support of the needs of the operational commander and above all else, bring the submarine and crew back safely from a successful deployment."

USS La Jolla is named for La Jolla, California, and is the first warship named after this township. Commissioned on 24 October 1981, La Jolla is the fourteenth ship of the Los Angeles-class of nuclear attack submarines, is 360-feet long and displaces 6,900 tons. The submarine can be armed with sophisticated Mark-48 ADCAP anti-submarine torpedoes and Tomahawk guided cruise missiles.