YOKOSUKA, Japan (June 29, 2012) The Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Chicago (SSN 721) is moored at Fleet Activities Yokosuka. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class David Mercil)

YOKOSUKA, Japan - The Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Chicago (SSN 721) arrived at Fleet Activitites Yokosuka, June 29 for its first port visit as part of its Western Pacific deployment.

With a crew of approximately 135 Sailors, Chicago will conduct a multitude of missions and showcase the latest capabilities of the submarine fleet.

"We are excited to once again be in the Western Pacific and are very fortunate to visit the beautiful country of Japan," said Cmdr. Nicholas Tilbrook, Chicago's commanding officer. "The pace and importance of mission tasking in the Pacific Fleet is unrivaled and we look forward to the many challenges ahead of us."

Chicago was the first fast attack submarine to be built with a vertical launch system, enabling strike mission capability. This allows the Navy to maintain a constant forward presence capable of rapidly responding to urgent strike tasking.

"The crew has been training hard to sharpen their skills at their sea watch stations," said fire technician master chief John Butcher, chief of the boat. "Many of them are used to the environment of an in-port maintenance setting, so this theater is an eye-opening experience."

For many of the crew members, this is their first time visiting Japan.

"I'm very excited to be visiting this port because traveling to Japan is something I've always wanted to do," said electronics technician 3rd class Kelvis Torres.

Measuring more than 360 feet long and weighing more than 7,000 tons when submerged, Chicago is one of the most capable submarines in the world. This submarine is capable of supporting a multitude of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

Chicago recently completed an extensive 25-month overhaul in Pearl Harbor, Hi, before being forward deployed to Guam. It is now one of three submarines forward deployed in Guam as part of Submarine Squadron Fifteen.