PEARL HARBOR, HI (NNS) ― The Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Santa Fe (SSN 763) returned April 22 from a deployment to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
“I am exceptionally proud of the crew’s efforts to prepare for, sustain, and successfully execute every phase of this deployment,” said Cmdr. Chris Hedrick, a native of Glendale, California and Santa Fe’s commanding officer. “As commanding officer, it has been my privilege to lead such a fine group of professional young men in carrying out our nation’s most important tasking, and I could not be prouder of their accomplishments.”
During the deployment, 22 enlisted Sailors and three officers earned their submarine warfare qualification.
“Our purpose is to be ready for battle at any time,” Hedrick said. “During our pre-deployment and throughout our deployment preparing and being ready for battle at any time was first and foremost in our mind.”
Hedrick said the crews’ focus and battle mindedness enabled successful operations and led to a high level of achievement from the crew.
“My most memorable achievement during deployment was earning my dolphins,” said Electronics Technician (Submarine) 3rd Class Dakota Collison, from Chestertown, Maryland. “The most important thing I will take away from this deployment is never to be afraid to ask for help because we are all a team. We have to depend on each other for even the smallest tasks at sea.’”
While deployed, Santa Fe executed a port call to Stirling, Western Australia and hosted submariners from the Royal Australian Navy Submarine Force. They also had the opportunity to conduct community relations projects by assisting at the Perth Zoo and the Native Arc Wildlife Refuge center.
“Having the opportunity to help give back to the country that was hosting us during our port calls was a rewarding experience,” said Fire Control Technician 2nd class Nicolas Tankersley, from Bradenton, Florida. “Being able to interact with the native Australian animals and helping out the volunteers at the establishments was awesome.”
Upon returning to Pearl Harbor, Master Chief Sonar Technician (Submarine) James McGarrah, from Newburgh, New York and Santa Fe’s Chief of the Boat, expressed his appreciation for the hard work and dedication put forth by the crew that made this a successful deployment.
“When we cast off lines from Pearl Harbor we had 36% of the crew onboard deploying for the first time,” McGarrah said. “We needed the new Sailors to be the best at their watch-stations, and learn their jobs quickly so the ship would be prepared to execute any tasking. As we return from deployment, we have highly talented watch-teams that I would go to sea with on any given day.”
Commissioned Jan. 8, 1994, Santa Fe is the 52nd ship of the Los Angeles-class and is homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.