USS Hawaii (SSN 776) arrives in Busan for a routine port visit, July 20, 2012. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Jared Apollo Burgamy)

BUSAN, Republic of Korea - The Virginia-class fast attack submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776) arrived in Busan July 20 as part of a deployment to the Western Pacific.

"As we represent our submarine team, our Navy, and our country, we are committed to our to our presence in the Western Pacific and look forward to many more visits with our friends and allies in the region," said Cmdr. Steve Mack, Hawaii's commanding officer.

Hawaii's visit to Busan presents a chance to strengthen ties and train with a key U.S. ally as well as provide the crew with some much needed liberty.

"For our Sailors, after 14 months of very hard work qualifying and diligently training on various watchstations throughout the sub, WESTPAC deployments and their liberty ports are the reward that makes all of their efforts worthwhile," said Electronics Technician Master Chief John Perryman, Hawaii's chief of the boat.

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

"I'm really excited to get a chance to see South Korea and go shopping at the International Market," said Torpedoman Fireman Adrian Mansaw. "I have lots of friends back home in Kansas City who won't believe that I'm calling them from so far away!"

Hawaii measures more than 370 feet long and weighs more than 8000 tons when submerged. The submarine is capable of supporting a multitude of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike, naval special warfare involving special operations forces, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, irregular warfare and mine warfare.