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SANTA RITA, Guam - The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Key West (SSN 722) returned to its homeport of Guam, Dec. 15, following a four-month forward-operating period in the Western Pacific.
Key West, under the command of Cmdr. J. Grady Hill, is returning from operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility, where the crew participated in theater anti-submarine warfare and multiple joint exercises.
"I'm incredibly proud of my crew for all that they accomplished this deployment," said Hill. "The level of ingenuity, resourcefulness and drive exhibited by the Key West crew is unique, a truly unstoppable force."
Key West conducted a brief port visit in Yokosuka, Japan, where the crew was able to experience the culture and enjoy some much-deserved liberty.
"Japan was awesome! I can't wait to go back," said Machinist Mate (Weapons) 3rd Class Paul MacMillian. "The food was incredible, definitely my favorite part. Exploring Tokyo with my friends was the highlight of the deployment for me."
Key West celebrated the various achievements of its crew members in their professional development.
"We had 16 Sailors earn their submarine warfare qualifications, 22 crew members frocked to the next paygrade and three officer promoted," said Command Master Chief Eric Baker, Key West chief of the boat. "I am extremely proud of this group of motivated Undersea Warriors. They did an outstanding job challenging themselves to be better both professionally and personally."
Key West conducted routine patrols throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region in support of maritime security operations that promote stability while maintaining key partnerships with allies across the region.
"It's a great feeling to be returning home after a successful mission," said Hill. "The crew is looking forward to some well-deserved time with family and friends during the holiday season."
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 assigned to Commander, Submarine Squadron (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 at 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.