USS Ohio Departs for Maiden Deployment

Friday, October 26, 2007
USS Ohio (SSGN 726) departed from Naval Base (NB) Kitsap, Bremerton delta pier for her maiden deployment as a guided-missile submarine, Oct. 14.

Ohio was recently converted from a ballistic missile submarine to a guided-missile submarine and was the first of four in its class to undergo the conversion.

"Today is a very special day for the Sailors on board the USS Ohio and this marks a major installment for the nation," said Rear Adm. Frank M. Drennan, commander Submarine Group TRIDENT. "We took a covert platform with immense volume and created a base at sea for special operations forces."

In December, Ohio completed its conversion to a guided-missile submarine and is now capable of hauling more than 150 Tomahawk cruise missiles and more than 60 special operations force members for extended periods of time. This conversion is a colossal step forward in the Navy's ability to continue to provide a forward deployed presence.

"We made a pledge to the nation five years ago and today, we proved our promise to revolutionize an old platform and transform it to something that's more relevant with more capabilities and additional striking power," said Drennan.

"I feel great to be part of the newest and greatest submarine in the fleet," said Fire Control Technician 3rd Class (SS) Nathanial Couch. "This is an amazing submarine and a very valuable tool for the Navy."

The new and improved submarine platform provides national decision makers with robust conventional missile strike capabilities and the ability to embark, deploy and provide command and control functions for special operations forces.

Ohio was the first Trident submarine ever built. The ship entered Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Nov. 15, 2002.

USS Michigan (SSGN 727) and USS Florida (SSGN 728) have also completed their conversion process and are in the testing and certification phase. USS Georgia (SSGN 729) is scheduled to complete its conversion later this year.

"This submarine was the first SSBN submarine in our fleet years ago and she's always been number one," said Drennan. "Today, once again, she is back to being number one."

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW) Maebel Tinoko, Fleet Public Affairs Center Det. Northwest

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