USS Key West Engineer Officer Lt. Cmdr. Judson Thomas is surprised with a gender reveal by his wife and son during the submarine's homecoming. (U.S. Navy/Lt. Lauren Spaziano)

SANTA RITA, Guam - Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Key West (SSN 722) returned to its homeport of Apra Harbor, Guam, Oct. 25, following a 4 1/2-month, forward-operating period to the Western Pacific.

Key West, under the command of Cmdr. David Coe, is returning from the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility where the crew executed the Chief of Naval Operations' Maritime Strategy in supporting national security interests and maritime security operations.

"My crew has done some incredible work these past months, defending the homeland and conducting other missions vital to national security," said Coe. "I am immensely proud of each and every one of my Sailors, who have proven time and again their dedication and professionalism while operating forward at the tip of the spear. They have more than earned some time at home with family and friends. It's great to be back in beautiful Guam, U.S.A."

Key West conducted routine patrols throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and operated in conjunction with other Navy ships to conduct maritime security operations that promote stability and peace, while developing key partnerships with allies across the region.

Key West conducted brief port visits in Yokosuka and Sasebo, Japan.

"It's exciting visiting new places," said Seaman Aron Nichols. "This is my first deployment and first time out of the United States. It was great trying sushi from Japan."

The crew of Key West celebrated various achievements in professional development.

"Our crew has accomplished some incredible things this underway, both professionally and personally, and I couldn't be more proud of them," said Master Chief Petty Officer Eric Baker, Key West chief of the boat. "We had 12 Sailors become submarine qualified, 20 crew members frocked, three chief petty officers pinned, and eight officers promoted."

Key West was commissioned Sept. 12, 1987, and is the third ship of the U.S. Navy named for the city of Key West, Florida. Measuring more than 360 feet long and displacing more than 6,900 tons, Key West has a crew of approximately 140 Sailors. Key West is capable of supporting various missions including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Key West is a member of Commander, Submarine Squadron (COMSUBRON) 15, which is located at Polaris Point in Apra Harbor, Guam. COMSUBRON 15 staff is responsible for providing training, material and personnel readiness support of four Los Angeles-class attack submarines stationed in Guam. Submarines and submarine tenders USS Frank Cable (AS 40) and USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) are maintained as part of the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed submarine force, and are readily capable of meeting global operational requirements.

Thinking of being stationed in Guam? Check out http://www.csp.navy.mil/go-guam/ for more information.