SEPANGAR, Malaysia - The Los Angeles-class fast- attack submarine USS Houston (SSN 713) arrived in Sepangar, Malaysia on Jan. 31, as part of its spring patrol.

Houston’s Commanding Officer Cmdr. David Schappert, said that the subs presence in this country is not only important to the United States but for Malaysia as well.

“The USS Houston is here representing the American Navy,” said Schappert. “We’re here to develop the relationship with the Royal Malaysian Navy, to learn all that we can from our partner, and for regional stability and prosperity in this region.”

Shapperd is hoping that the subs arrival will result in an exchange of ideas and information between the U.S. Navy and the Royal Malaysian Navy.

“We’ve heard a lot of great things about the country and the Navy,” said Schappert. “We’re excited to share things we know about our submarine force, and learn all we can from their submarine force.”

The submarine’s Chief of the Boat, Senior Chief Machinist’s Mate Jay Cherland, said the crew has been working hard during their deployment and hopes they get some much deserved rest.

“We had about two months out, came in for stand down for about two weeks, and then went back out right away,” said Cherland. “The crew has worked very hard and done extremely well. There has been a couple of really big operations in the Pacific, so for them to get out, have a good time, and relax a bit is very important for their health as well as their mental state.”

For many of the Houston’s crewmembers, this is their first time visiting Malaysia. Sonar Technician (Submarines) 1st Class Martin Davis said he is very excited to be here.

“The fact that it is a Muslim culture makes it even more intriguing, and I’m looking forward to seeing all the nature and cultural sites that this country has to offer,” said Davis. “I’m looking forward to going out into the wilderness, a white water rafting trip, and some of the hiking. The mountain sounds very exciting.”

The Houston measures more than 360 feet long and weighs more than 6,900 tons when submerged. This submarine is capable of supporting a multitude of missions, including anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface ship warfare. With a crew of approximately 110, Houston conducts a multitude of missions and showcases the latest capabilities of the submarine fleet. Houston is one of 43 Los Angeles (SSN 688) class submarines that comprise the backbone of the submarine force.

Attack submarines are designed to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; project power ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and Special Operation Forces; carry out Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions; support Strike Group operations, and engage in mine warfare.