SANTA RITA, Guam - The Guam submarine force welcomed the crew and families of Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Asheville (SSN 758) during a homecoming celebration at Naval Base Guam following the submarine’s homeport shift from Pearl Harbor, Dec. 14.
Asheville replaced USS Chicago (SSN 721) as Guam’s fourth forward-deployed Los Angeles-class attack submarine. Chicago shifted homeport to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in September 2017.
“It’s great to be reunited with family and friends on Guam who made the move in anticipation of our arrival,” said Capt. Paul Pampuro, Asheville’s commanding officer. “The crew has been through a demanding maintenance and training period to prepare for our homeport shift, and we are excited to begin our next chapter at the tip of the spear.”
Pampuro thanked everyone for the warm welcome and the support during the transition.
“Changing a submarine’s homeport requires a lot of coordination and communication across different organizations,” said Pampuro. “Thankfully, we have dedicated teams in Guam and Hawaii who worked to ensure we had a smooth transition.”
Asheville completed a scheduled engineered overhaul in November at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. While in overhaul, the ship's systems were upgraded to ensure Asheville will be able to meet future tasking as one of four forward-deployed submarines on Guam.
"The submarine crews assigned to Submarine Squadron 15 are some of the toughest and combat ready teams in the Submarine Force,” said Capt. David Schappert, commander, Submarine Squadron (COMSUBRON) 15. “The four attack submarines homeported in Apra Harbor are equipped with our most modern tactical systems. As a group, this team plays an important role in promoting peace, security and prosperity in the dynamic Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
"It is my pleasure to welcome the crew of USS Asheville to this team, and I look forward to their contributions in executing the Navy's mission in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. By training hard with other 7th Fleet units and with our allies, I am confident Asheville will help strengthen regional partnerships, deter potential adversaries, and defeat aggression should that deterrence fail," Schappert said.
Forward-deployed submarines are readily capable of meeting global operational requirements. Guam's strategic location enhances military force flexibility and allows freedom of action, regional engagement, crisis response and deterrence while helping to fulfill commitments to U.S. allies and partners to protect the nation's security.
"Guam is arguably the U.S. Navy’s most vital submarine homeport,” said Pampuro, “The operations out here are incredible, and the people of Guam are friendly and welcoming. Guam is a hidden gem and I am thrilled to finally be back here with my incredible crew”
Asheville was commissioned in September 1991 and is the fourth ship of the U.S. Navy named for the city of Asheville, North Carolina. Measuring more than 360 feet long and displacing more than 6,900 tons, Asheville has a crew of approximately 150 Sailors. Asheville is capable of supporting various missions including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Asheville is assigned to COMSUBRON 15, which is located at Polaris Point, Naval Base Guam in Apra Harbor, Guam, and consists of four Los Angeles-class attack submarines. The COMSUBRON 15 staff is responsible for providing training, material and personnel readiness support to these commands. Also based out of Naval Base Guam are submarine tenders USS Frank Cable (AS 40) and USS Emory S. Land (AS 39). 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.