PEARL HARBOR (Feb. 24, 2010) The Virginia-class fast attack submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776) returns to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after a scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW/SCW) Ronald Gutridge)

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) - The Virginia-class fast attack submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776) returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Feb. 24 after a scheduled six-month deployment to the Western Pacific region.

"I could not be more proud of my crew. They are highly motivated and performed flawlessly in all respects on this deployment," said Cmdr. Steve Mack, USS Hawaii commanding officer. "The experience we gained operating our submarine for six months forward-deployed demonstrates our capabilities for extended operations and the flexibility, endurance and mobility of these mighty warships."

Over the course of the deployment Hawaii accomplished all assigned tasking including theater and national level activities, participated in Valiant Shield 2010, and conducted operations with the Abraham Lincoln Strike Group. The deployment also included port visits to Yokosuka, Japan, Pusan, South Korea, and Singapore in support of 7th Fleet's commitment to growing maritime partnerships and an enduring commitment to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

Hawaii departed Pearl Harbor Aug 25, 2010, on her maiden Western Pacific deployment, the first for the Virginia class, with 136 Sailors onboard, many of which were experiencing their first Navy deployment. The crew experienced the dynamic operational environment of the Western Pacific and returned with a wealth of submarine experience and advanced qualifications. They were also very successful at professional development with 25 returning to homeport advanced to the next pay grade and 10 that became submarine qualified and are now authorized to wear the Submarine Warfare insignia or "Dolphins"

"Hawaii exceeded all expectations and demonstrated the myriad capabilities the Virginia-class submarine brings to the challenging Western Pacific environment and has set the stage for the success of future Virginia-class deployments," said Mack.

Measuring 377 feet long and weighing 7,800 tons when submerged, Hawaii is one of the Navy's newest and most technologically sophisticated submarines.

The state-of-the-art submarine is capable of supporting a multitude of missions,including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike, naval special warfare involving special operations forces, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, irregular warfare and mine warfare.

For more news from Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/subpac/.