USS Frank Cable (AS 40) departs Portland, Dec. 21. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Heather C. Wamsley)

PORTLAND, Ore. - The submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) completed its planned, dry dock repair availability and departed Vigor Industrial in Portland, Dec. 21.

Fifty-six million dollars of improvements, maintenance, steel renewal and equipment repairs were completed by Vigor Industrial employees, which returned the near 40 year-old ship to its designed, mission capabilities.

"The Navy and Military Sealift Command crew worked very hard during this shipyard period to maximize repairs and material conditions," said MSC Ship's Master Capt. Patrick Christian. "Now we are ready to rejoin the fleet and get back on our mission."

MSC civilian mariners operate and keep up material conditions of Frank Cable, while Navy Sailors protect the ship and provide repair and logistic support to other forward-deployed vessels.

"MSC and what they bring is vital to our mission," said Capt. Jeff Farah, Frank Cable's commanding officer. "Our mission can take place in-port, forward deployed, through fly-away teams, or on land. MSC gives us the flexibility to deploy at a moment's notice."

Frank Cable spent more than eight months in Portland, undergoing a main reduction gear foundation repair and shafting, a collection holding tank replacement and received more than 600,000 pounds of renewed steel to enhance survivability and watertight resistance.

During off-duty hours, the crew made appearances for Fleet Week and supported multiple organizations, including Meals on Wheels and Wreaths Across America.

"Portland is a community that doesn't typically have a large naval presence," said Farah. "During our time here, not only did we have a chance to get involved in the community and volunteer, but we got to participate in the Portland Rose Festival."

Repair Sailors in Guam who stayed behind, temporarily assigned to the sister submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39), will rejoin the underway crew upon return to homeport.

"The majority of repair department Sailors stay behind for the repair mission, as part of the two-tender concept," said Farah. "For our Sailors underway, the focus is to build that repair proficiency back, before we return to Guam."

As MSC civilian mariners test Frank Cable's updated underway capabilities, Sailors requalify work-centers to meet operating standards.

"We're going 21 knots right now," said Christian, as Frank Cable cruised away from Oregon's coast. "Before we could not meet our designed speed and now we can. We are going to do a proof of concept for our submarine and logistics support capabilities, then we will return to our homeport of Guam as lead maintenance activity."

Under the two-tender concept, the crews of Frank Cable and Emory S. Land work together to repair, resupply and rearm submarines and surface vessels forward deployed to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

In this file photo, USS Pasadena (SSN 752) moors alongside USS Frank Cable (AS 40) in the Marshall Islands in March. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Josh Coté)