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Sub wraps up 15-month deployment, celebrates milestones.

USS Ohio (SSGN 726), the first converted guided-missile submarine (SSGN), pulled into Naval Station Pearl Harbor before returning to her homeport of Bangor, Wash., from her maiden deployment.

Rotations between Blue and Gold crews allowed the submarine to remain on station for the 15-month deployment.

The submarine departed Naval Base Kitsap, Wash., Oct. 14, 2007, which began a month ahead of schedule. Claiming many firsts, Ohio was the first SSGN submarine to complete an equator and prime meridian crossing; the first to achieve SEAL/diver dry deck shelter certification; the first to complete three highly-successful national tasking missions; and the first to earn two Navy Expeditionary Medals.

"It's unprecedented," said Capt. Dennis Carpenter, Ohio's commanding officer. "To get out there and conduct mission after mission and demonstrate to our allies our capabilities; it's extraordinary."

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Ohio visited Busan, Republic of Korea; Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines; Yokosuka, Japan; and Guam. During her visit to Busan, Ohio accomplished another submarine first--the ship hosted a joint special operations task force during Exercise Key Resolve/Foal Eagle to demonstrate the joint command and control capability of the new SSGN platform.

"That's the great thing about USS Ohio; we can go anywhere in the world in a relatively short period of time," Carpenter said. "We've put a lot of miles on our submarine."

Another memorable event during Ohio's maiden deployment was the burial at sea of a World War II veteran. Ohio's crew member Machinist's Mate 1st Class (SS) Jason Witty spread the ashes of his grandfather, Eugene Stanley Morgan, in the Philippine Sea, honoring Morgan's request to be buried with his shipmates of the World War II cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Morgan was one of 316 survivors of the sinking of the cruiser, July 30, 1945.

Ohio returned to the fleet in February 2006 after a $250 million, year-long refueling and a $750 million, two-year conversion from a ballistic missile submarine. With this conversion, Ohio and the subsequent conversion submarines provide the fleet with the ability to quickly embark and deploy to provide command and control functions for special operations forces and a large volume strike platform in its operating theater.

Story by MC1(SW) Cynthia Clark who is assigned to Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pearl Harbor.
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Title Annotation:This Just In; USS Ohio
Author:Clark, Cynthia
Publication:All Hands
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2009
Words:379
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