VALLEJO, Calif. - The submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) arrived in Vallejo, Aug. 17, for a scheduled maintenance availability at Mare Island Dry Dock.
Land is scheduled to spend 150 days at Mare Island Dry Dock to complete a regular overhaul and dry dock period. Mare Island Dry Dock was awarded the $33,532,308 contract earlier this year.
Land spent nearly eight months deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations supporting theater security cooperation efforts in the Indo-Pacific region in 2019 and 2020. The ship made port visits to seven countries to conduct training and repair missions with partner nations.
“Our deployment was a huge success,” said Capt. Michael Luckett, Land’s commanding officer. “We demonstrated our ability to conduct vital evolutions with our partners.”
Mare Island was the first U.S. naval base on the West Coast in 1854. The dry dock built 512 ships and repaired many more. In spring of 1996 the dry dock closed, but re-opened in 2013. In 2018, Land became the first Navy ship in more than 20 years to conduct shipyard maintenance there.
“This maintenance availability period is intended to improve the material readiness of the ship,” said Luckett. “Our ability to deploy for so long is a testament to the great work done by the men and women at Mare Island in 2018. We’re looking forward to getting this maintenance work completed so our crew can get back to meeting the demands of operating at sea.”
While at Mare Island, some Sailors, like Retail Service Specialist 3rd Class Karrina Hampton, a native of Sacramento, California, are excited for a chance to visit friends and family during one of the rare times Land is stateside.
“I am ecstatic to go back and be with my family again,” Hampton said. “I remember living through all-weather seasons and being able to drive and go to the national parks, seasonal events, and taking trips to the State Capital.”
Between COVID-19, deployment and the often expensive flights home from Land’s homeport of Guam, many Sailors aboard Land haven’t had a chance to visit loved ones for many months. Many crewmembers hope to find the opportunity to take a break sometime during the busy schedule of the maintenance availability.
“I hope everyone gets a much needed break back stateside with their families,” Hampton said.
Prior to departing Guam, the crew completed a 14-day sequester period and underwent testing for COVID-19 to ensure the crew was healthy. Since then, Land has traveled more than 5,000 nautical miles in route to the West Coast.
“We did everything necessary to ensure the safety of the crew,” said Luckett. “We’ll continue to follow the strict guidelines set in place by the Navy during these challenging times.”
Sailors aboard Land continue to follow strict guidelines in response to the global pandemic. Face masks are required throughout the ship and while on liberty, social distancing is enforced, and the ship is cleaned and sanitized several times a day to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.
Guam is home to the U.S. Navy's only submarine tenders, USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) and USS Frank Cable (AS 40), as well as four Los Angeles-class attack submarines. The submarine tenders provide maintenance, hotel services and logistical support to submarines and surface ships in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation. The submarines and tenders are maintained as part of the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed submarine force and are readily capable of meeting global operational requirements.