PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - Goodbyes were heard from family and friends at the submarine piers on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam as the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Charlotte (SSN 766) departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam April 2 for a scheduled six-month deployment to the Western Pacific region.
Charlotte's Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Andrew Miller, commented that the submarine and her crew are ready for the deployment. While deployed to the 7th Fleet area of operations, the submarine will conduct peacetime missions while providing forward presence to the operational commander.
"We have materially prepared the ship, certified our crew and prepared our families for deployed operations in the 7th Fleet," said Miller. Miller said of the 130 enlisted and 16 officers aboard, more than one third of the crew will be going on their very first deployment.
The submarine's priority will be to safely and effectively execute the tasking provided by the operational commander. While on deployment, the crew intends to conduct training and qualify new Sailors in attaining their submarine warfare qualification designation or "dolphins."
Miller said his crew is very excited to deploy and conduct operations they have been preparing for. After months of rigorous training and maintenance periods, they are ready to apply their knowledge and exercise their skills to effectively operate the submarine while deployed.
"I am very proud of the crew and the improved performance of the ship over the last several months," said Miller. "Their hard work along with the sacrifice of Charlotte's families has resulted in a highly capable team that is ready to conduct forward - deployed operations in support of national security and theater security cooperation objectives."
Culinary Specialist Seaman Junnel Sapida said he is excited about his first deployment.
"I feel good about my first-time deployment. I'm looking forward to going on our mission, hitting some good ports and feeling the whole experience." said Sapida.
Commissioned in September 1994, Charlotte is the fourth ship of the United States Navy to be named for Charlotte, N.C. She is a Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine that is 360-feet long and displaces 6,900 tons. She can be fitted with Mk-48 torpedoes and Tomahawk missiles.