In this file photo, Ohio-class ballistic submarine USS Alabama (SSBN 731) returns to Naval Base Kitsap from a deterrent patrol Sept. 29, 2010. (U.S. Navy photo by Ray Narimatsu)

BANGOR, Wash. (NNS) — Trident ballistic missile submarine USS Alabama (SSBN 731)(Blue) returned to its homeport of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Wash., after a 45-day strategic deterrent patrol, May 10.

Rear Adm. Bob Hennegan, commander of Submarine Group 9, was among those on hand to welcome home the crew which departed for its patrol March 27.

"I am proud to lead the finest Sailors that our country has to offer," said Cmdr. Christopher Kline, USS Alabama (Blue) commanding officer. "They love their families and our country, and show it by making every minute at sea count through their dedication, hard work and commitment to excellence."

While underway, a total of 12 Blue Crew Sailors ? 10 enlisted and two officers ? earned the coveted submariner's "dolphins" by completing their submarine qualifications.

"The guys worked hard, and it paid off with the successful completion of our mission," said Master Chief Electronics Technician (SS) Lance Mefford, Blue Crew chief of the boat.

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

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