USS Columbia returns from deployment

Machinist's Mate 1st Class Christopher Brohammer of the Los Angeles-class, fast attack submarine USS Columbia (SSN 771) is welcomed home Nov. 21 by his daughter at the submarine piers at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam following the return of the submarine from a six-month scheduled deployment to the western Pacific region.

Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Christopher Brohammer of the Los Angeles-class, fast attack submarine USS Columbia (SSN 771) is welcomed home Nov. 21 by his daughter at the submarine piers at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam following the return of the submarine from a six-month scheduled deployment to the western Pacific region.

Story and photo by MC1 Steven Khor

Submarine Force Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

Families and friends lined the submarine piers of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, for a warm aloha welcome as the Los Angeles-class, fast attack submarine USS Columbia (SSN 771) returned Nov. 21 from a scheduled deployment to the western Pacific.

The excited crowd cheered and waved signs, banners and lei as the submarine came into view in the harbor.

The submarine’s commanding officer, Cmdr. John Friedman, said the crew was outstanding and productive throughout the deployment.

“The ship and crew performed extremely well during our deployment to the [U.S.] 7th Fleet,” said Friedman. “I am very proud of their accomplishments and consider it an honor to have served with them.”

Columbia successfully completed several missions vital to national security and participated in several multinational exercises, which supported ongoing security theater objectives, and improved the overall warfighting readiness of U.S. and allied forces in the western Pacific.

In addition to gaining the experience of operating in the western Pacific, the deployment afforded Sailors the opportunity to work on qualifications.

Over the course of the deployment, 16 Sailors of the 150-man crew became submarine-qualified and are now able to wear their respective submarine warfare insignia, also known as the “dolphins.”

Ashore, the crew enjoyed visits to Sasebo and Yokosuka, Japan; and Singapore.

“Singapore was an especially exotic place with a very different culture from America,” said Sonar Technician (Submarines) Seaman Angelo Cosentino of Winchendon, Mass. “There were many different customs, and it was a very diverse population with different tastes.”

Friedman commended the crew on their conduct while in other nations as well. “They were exemplary ambassadors of the United States and represent the best the country has to offer,” said Friedman.

The submarine’s chief of the boat, Master Chief Machinist’s Mate Wayne Fetterly, said the crew performed exceptionally well considering many were on their first deployment, noting that the crew is now ready to wind down and enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation.

“Having successfully completed several missions on deployment, the crew is now looking forward to being home in Pearl Harbor and spending time with their loves ones,” said Fetterly.

Corey Lambert, fiancé of Columbia Sailor Yeoman 2nd Class David Copeland, said she is looking forward to seeing his face and giving him a big hug.

“We are getting married in a couple of weeks, and I’m so excited!” said Lambert.

Also among the excited crowd were newborn children, waiting to see their dads for the first time.

Patty Ranger, wife of Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class David Ranger of Haines City, Fla., said she can’t wait to introduce their newborn baby boy to her husband.

“He is so excited. We have been waiting for this day,” said Ranger.

USS Columbia, commissioned in 1995, was the last Los Angeles-class submarine to be built at Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton, Conn. One of the most versatile ships in the world, the submarine is capable of numerous types of missions in myriad regions including long-range Tomahawk strike operations, anti-submarine and surface ship tracking operations, surveil-lance and intelligence gathering, and special forces insertions.

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Category: News