By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW/NAC) Eric J. Rowley, Fleet Public Affairs Center Det. Northwest
USS Connecticut (SSN 22) arrived at Naval Base (NB) Kitsap Bremerton Jan. 29, officially changing its home port from Groton, Conn., after a six-month deployment.
Connecticut left Groton July 25 for a six-month deployment around the world conducting real world operations and visiting many ports before arriving to its new home in Bremerton.
"We had a successful deployment," said Lt. j.g. James Foster, Connecticut supply officer. "We got to visit lots of interesting places and do missions of national importance. So, we were able to serve our country the best we could."
The half-hour ceremony left friends and families waiting in blistery cold weather to give their Sailors a warm welcome to their new homes.
"We are all excited to be here in the Pacific Northwest," said Cmdr. Daniel Christofferson, Connecticut commanding officer. "Our welcome to Kitsap County was amazing. There was a great outpouring of people who came here to support us."
Connecticut's arrival to NB Kitsap, Bremerton puts all three of the Navy's Seawolf class submarines permanently stationed in the Northwest Region. The other two are USS Seawolf (SSN 21) and USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23).
"It's wonderful to be home," said Machinist's Mate 2nd Class (SS) Josh Hunt, Connecticut's first kiss winner. "The welcome was rather impressive. We weren't expecting all this. There are a lot of people here."
The change of homeport port is in line with the submarine force's enhanced emphasis on Pacific Fleet operations, with 60 percent of the Navy's submarines intended for permanent stationing in the Pacific fleet theater.
"It's great to be back here," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SS) Dane Weatherford, Connecticut corpsman
. "The welcome was good. It's good to see family and friends out here."
Seawolf arrived in July 2007 and Jimmy Carter arrived in November 2005. All three submarines are assigned to Submarine Development Squadron 5, headquartered at NB Kitsap, Bangor.
"Having him home feels like a ton of weight has been lifted off my shoulders," said Andrea Bartholomeus, wife of Culinary Specialist 1st Class (SS) Dewey Bartholomeus. "We are really happy to have him home. Things are more complete now."
Attack submarines are designed to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships, project power ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and special operation forces, carry out intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions, support Aircraft Carrier and Expeditionary Strike Battle Groups, and engage in mine warfare.
"It's a great relief to have him home after having been separated for a long time," said Aimee Henderson, wife of Sonar Technician 2nd Class (SS) Joseph Henderson. "It's nice to see all the Navy personnel
from other commands here to welcome the Connecticut and to see they are excited to have us here."