SANTA RITA, Guam (March 3, 2011) The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723) prepares to moor at U.S. Naval Base Guam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Corwin Colbert)

SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) - USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723) arrived in Guam March 3, where it will be assigned to Commander, Submarine Squadron 15, as one of three forward deployed submarines.

Oklahoma City replaces USS City of Corpus Christi (SSN 705), a fast attack submarine that will transfer to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

During the arrival ceremony, Capt. John Russ, commodore of Submarine Squadron 15, emphasized the importance of submarines to be forward deployed to Guam.

"Today, our forward deployed submarines in Guam play a vital role in promoting peace, security and stability in the dynamic Asia-Pacific region," Russ said. "Guam's strategic location enhances military force flexibility, allowing freedom of action, regional engagement, and deterrence. Should the need arise, our submarines in Guam provide an ideally positioned source of ready, capable, and responsive maritime combat power to the Seventh Fleet commander."

Cmdr. Aaron Thieme, Oklahoma City commanding officer, thanked the squadron and U.S. Naval Base Guam for their support in ensuring a smooth transition. Thieme symbolically presented the submarine to the crowd and noted their arrival following an engineering overhaul, sea trials, certifications, and training.

"Today, I present to the commodore and the Guam community USS Oklahoma City, the newest addition to the proud Pacific submarine fleet," he said. "The crew has performed superbly throughout our deployment and I am proud of their accomplishments over the past several months as we've been looking forward to this long-awaited transition."

Chief Electronics Technician (SS) Brien Sadler was the first Sailor to disembark the boat and receive the traditional first kiss from his wife.

"I am glad to be here on this side of the world ready to do what we need to do," Sadler said. "My family is my life. Other than my job, they are all I have. It's great to be here. We are going to do great things on this side of the world."

With a crew of approximately 130 personnel, Oklahoma City completed an engineered overhaul in November 2010 at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Oklahoma City is the second naval vessel to be named after Oklahoma State's capitol city. The boat was launched Nov. 2, 1985, and commissioned July 9, 1988.

For more news from U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas, visit www.navy.mil/local/guam/.