BANGOR, Wash. (NNS) - USS Michigan (SSGN 727)(Blue) Sailors returned to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Wash., Feb. 21-23, following a three-month deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

Family and friends of Michigan Sailors stood by at Bangor Plaza for three days to welcome home the Blue Crew following a long journey from Guam.

"It's always good to be back home," said Sonar Technician (Submarine) 1st Class (SS) Steven Earl, who arrived with the first wave of Blue Crew Sailors. "When you're underway, it makes you appreciate things at home that much more."

After conducting a crew turnover with their counterparts from the Gold Crew, the first Sailors from the Blue Crew flew into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Feb. 21, with the remainder arriving Feb. 22-23. For some families it made for a longer, but worthwhile wait.

"It's awesome to have him home," said Rachael Thomas, wife of Sonar Technician (Submarine) 1st Class (SS) Yancey Thomas, who saw his 5-week-old daughter for the first time when he returned Feb. 22. Thomas was one of six new fathers from the Blue Crew.

Michigan's deployment began in November and included a port visit to Busan, South Korea.

"We conducted a variety of missions, and the crew and ship met every tasking on schedule," said Capt. Jerry Logan USS Michigan (Blue Crew) commanding officer.

In addition, 14 Blue Crew Sailors, four officers and 10 enlisted members, completed their submarine qualifications, earning the submariner's "dolphins". A total of 24 enlisted Blue Crew members were promoted during the deployment.

"The guys, as usual, executed whatever assignments they were asked to do," said Command Master Chief (SS) Victor Smith, USS Michigan (Blue Crew) chief of the boat.

This was Michigan's second deployment since converting from a Trident ballistic-missile submarine (SSBN) to a guided-missile submarine (SSGN) in 2007. Michigan and the first converted SSBN, USS Ohio (SSGN 726), are both based at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.

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