USS Norfolk Returns to Naval Station Norfolk

Training & Education

USS Norfolk Returns to Naval Station Norfolk

The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Norfolk (SSN 714) returned to Naval Station Norfolk from a regularly scheduled deployment Nov. 3.

Norfolk, under the command of Cmdr. Greg Zettler, is returning from the European Command Area of Responsibility where it executed the CNO’s Maritime Strategy in supporting national security interests and maritime security operations.

Norfolk left its homeport on May 1, and steamed more than 30,000 nautical miles during the deployment. Port visits were conducted in Haifa, Israel; Limassol, Cyprus; Bahrain; and Diego Garcia.

“The crew performed admirably throughout the deployment,” said Zettler. “They professionally and enthusiastically overcame many challenges in accomplishing a wide variety of submarine missions. Norfolk conducted operations, in both the U.S. 5th Fleet and U.S. 6th Fleet Area of Responsibilities, while providing unmatched versatility to two different combatant commanders in supporting theater and national level tasking.

“We enjoyed a variety of experiences and cultures in different parts of the world during our port visits, and acted as outstanding ambassadors for our nation during these visits, demonstrating exceptional decorum and poise while enjoying some well-deserved rest. We were also lucky enough to have some of our wives visit during two of the port visits.”

While the crew reflects on their personal and professional accomplishments during the deployment, they are looking forward to the reunion with family and friends.

“We had four officers and 14 enlisted crew members complete their submarine warfare qualifications and earned their gold and silver dolphins,” said Zettler. “We also had eight officers get promoted, and 11 enlisted earn advancements. We had two Sailors become fathers, and fortunately both births occurred during a port visit, enabling the new fathers to speak with their wives and see their new baby shortly after childbirth.

“Words simply fail to capture my depth of pride in the entire Norfolk team, as both the crew and families delivered top-notch performances throughout the deployment. The families faced numerous challenges and handled each with grace, working together to support each other every step of the way. The crew experienced many highs and lows, but eagerly face every challenge head-on. Their resiliency, perseverance and mental toughness impressed me over and over again.

“We are looking forward to some quality family time, and well-deserved relaxation before starting back into another deployment workup.”

Fast-attack submarines like Norfolk 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.

Norfolk was built by Newport News Shipbuilding and commissioned May 21, 1983. The 360-foot submarine is the third naval ship to be named in honor of the city of Norfolk. It is also the Navy’s 133rd nuclear-powered submarine and 89th of the attack submarine class. The crew compliment includes 15 officers and 116 enlisted Sailors.

Naval Today Staff, November 6, 2012; Image: US Navy