USS Helena Returns to Naval Station Norfolk
Los Angeles fast-attack submarine USS Helena (SSN 725) returned to Naval Station Norfolk from a regularly scheduled deployment April 10.
“Congratulations to the warfighters of Helena for their super performance on deployment,” said Vice Adm. John Richardson, commander, Submarine Forces. “I’m proud of your team’s vital operations since you left home. And your timing couldn’t be better – on the eve of the Submarine Force’s birthday! As you return home to a well-deserved reunion with family and loved ones, the Navy and the nation is grateful for all that you achieved. Well done!”
Under the command of Cmdr. Paul L. Dinius, the submarine returned from the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility where it steamed more than 8,600 nautical miles.
“Submarines deploy to gain familiarity and experience in different bodies of water to better support our forward deployed presence as a maritime nation,” said Dinius. “Helena sailed to the Caribbean Sea on a deployment in support of U.S. Southern Command and Maritime Domain Awareness. While there we supported SOUTHCOM’s efforts in countering transnational organized crime that threatens U.S. interests and those of our allies in the region.”
While deployed, nine Helena Sailors completed their submarine warfare qualifications.
“This was the ship’s first deployment in nearly four years, and the crew performed superbly in a difficult operational environment,” said Dinius. “Helena recently completed the fastest submarine shipyard overhaul in history and deployed after completing the fastest deployment workup and certification following a major maintenance period. This crew embodies the Submarine Force’s Commander concept of a ready force able to aggressively execute maintenance and training in order to maximize operation time at sea while reducing operating costs.”
Fast-attack submarines like Helena have multifaceted missions. They use their stealth, persistence, agility and firepower to deploy and support special force operations, disrupt and destroy an adversary’s military and economic operations at sea, provide early strike from close proximity, and ensure undersea superiority.
Helena is the 38th Los Angeles-class attack submarine and fourth ship to bear the name of the capital city, Helena, Mont. The submarine was built by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation, Groton, Conn., and commissioned July 11, 1987. The 360-foot ship has a current crew compliment of 16 officers and 134 enlisted Sailors, and displaces more than 7,100 tons of water.
Naval Today Staff , April 11, 2012;