Sailors stand topside aboard USS Texas (SSN 775) as the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine returns from deployment. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Michael H. Lee)

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Texas (SSN 775) returned to its homeport of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, March 9, after the completion of her second scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific.

During deployment, the boat steamed over 27,000 miles and conducted four port-call visits in two foreign countries while conducting missions vital to our national interests, said Cmdr. Todd Nethercott of Riverton, Wyoming, commanding officer of USS Texas.

“The ship and crew performed exceedingly well,” Nethercott said. “The ship’s motto, ‘Don’t mess with Texas’, accurately depicts the ship’s capabilities and the crew’s spirit. Few Sailors aboard two years ago could even fathom that Texas would be pulling in today after having completed a highly successful Western Pacific deployment.”

USS Texas had been in dry dock for 26 months before she deployed, which made guidance from senior crew members crucial.

“There is nothing better than taking a shipyard crew and training them into sharp, proficient, steely-eyed killers of the deep,” said Master Chief Machinist’s Mate Daniel Kloepfer, chief of the boat aboard USS Texas. “While the first-term Sailors brought an abundance of energy and enthusiasm to the boat, the seasoned Sailors brought the experience and the knowledge necessary to change Texas from a ship into a warship.”

During their deployment, 11 Sailors and three officers earned their submarine warfare qualifications and now wear the submarine warfare insignia, or dolphins. Additionally, 11 Sailors were advanced in rank.

A number of objectives were accomplished during the submarine’s deployment, including participation in two exercises with the air, surface and subsurface components of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. USS Texas set a new submerged endurance record for the ship while conducting missions vital to national security. Also, the culinary team was recognized as one of four finalists for the Captain Edward F. Ney award for culinary excellence.

The crew made the best of their port calls to Japan and the Philippines by sampling local culture, golfing, and going on safaris. A community outreach team spent time with youths in Olongapo City, Philippines, where they learned braille and sign language. “I wanted to get the full Western Pacific experience,” said Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Thomas Manion from Kalamazoo, Michigan.

“Texas enjoyed 37 incident-free liberty days during deployment. The fact that not one Sailor found themselves in a difficult situation is a perfect example of the professionalism, pride, and responsibility each member of Texas carries with them as a representative of the United States, both ashore and at sea,” said Nethercott. “Each and every member of the crew trained very hard to make our Western Pacific deployment a success. The crew’s dedication to duty and pursuit of excellence is something every American can be proud of.”

While the submarine crew prepared to return to Pearl Harbor, friends and family members eagerly waited for their loved ones on the pier.

“The command taught them to be responsible,” said Amber Mankins, wife of Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Jared Mankins from Columbia, South Carolina “They’ve made a positive name on the waterfront for themselves. When you say Texas, that means something positive.”

Commissioned Sept. 9, 2006, USS Texas is the second of the Navy’s Virginia-class fast-attack submarines and the fourth warship to be named after the U.S. state of Texas. Measuring 377 feet long and weighing more than 7,900 tons, the submarine is capable of executing a multitude of missions including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, and shallow water operations.

Lt. Cmdr. Sean Gray, executive officer of USS Texas (SSN 775), meets his seven-week-old daughter for the first time on Wednesday. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Michael H. Lee)