PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (Aug. 24, 2011) Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Santa Fe (SSN 763) returns to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Aug. 24 after completing a six-month deployment to the Western Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ronald Gutridge)

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) - Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Santa Fe (SSN 763) returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Aug. 24 after completing a scheduled six-month deployment to the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) region.

Cmdr. David Adams, Santa Fe's commanding officer, commented that there is nothing like a successful WESTPAC to unite a crew.

"Our crew truly did it all and got it done right," said Adams. "From their impeccable conduct ashore acting as terrific ambassadors of our great nation, to their extraordinary professionalism at accomplishing our operational commander's highest priority missions, this deployment was one for the record books."

The deployment was the first for the majority of the crew which, according to Adams, provided an outstanding opportunity for our young Sailors to learn and experience life on a submarine in a real-world environment.

"From a training perspective, it was amazing," said Sonar Technician 3rd Class Channing Williams. "There is nothing like getting to do the real thing."

Santa Fe experienced the dynamic operational environment of the WESTPAC and returned with a wealth of submarine experience and advanced qualifications. Eighteen Sailors also became submarine qualified and are now authorized to wear the submarine warfare insignia or "Dolphins."

"The highlight during this deployment was when you look into their eyes, it is easy to see Santa Fe's crew believes in the mission and each other," said Adams. "There is also nothing quite like coming home to share the success with our families, who have worked so hard to keep it all together in our absence. Without them, we certainly couldn't have gotten it done."

Santa Fe is the second ship to be named in honor of the capital city of New Mexico. As an improved Los Angeles-class submarine, the ship features retractable bow planes and 12 vertical launch tubes for cruise missile strikes.

Los Angeles-class submarines are ideally suited for covert missions. This stealth, when combined with the submarine's Tomahawk cruise missiles, mines and torpedoes, provide the operational commander with an unseen force multiplier.

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