USS Topeka Arrives at PNS
Attack submarine USS Topeka (SSN 754) and her crew of 13 officers and 120 enlisted personnel arrived Dec. 16 at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
While at the shipyard, Topeka will complete various maintenance work and several system upgrades. Topeka is the third ship of the United States Navy named for the city of Topeka and the fourth “Improved” Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered submarine.
The improved modifications of this class include retractable bow planes, a reinforced sail for under ice operations, vertical launch Tomahawk Cruise Missile capability, ship quieting enhancements, and an integrated combat systems suite. Assigned to the Pacific Fleet, Topeka was commissioned Oct. 21, 1989, and is homeported in San Diego.
Topeka recently conducted a six-month Western Pacific deployment from March through September 2012 in support of the Chief of Naval Operations’ Maritime Strategy, which includes maritime security, forward presence, sea control, and power projection. During the deployment, Topeka covered more than 35,000 nautical miles and executed missions vital to national security. Topeka also participated in U.S. and multinational naval exercises. The ship’s port visits included Yokosuka, Japan; Republic of Singapore; and Guam.
Topeka’s Commanding Officer, Cmdr. James Belz, a native of Ronkonkoma, N.Y., graduated from the State University of New York Maritime College in 1992 with a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering and a Third Mate’s license in the Merchant Marine. Belz assumed command of the Topeka Feb. 14, 2011.
Naval Today Staff, December 21, 2012; Image: US Navy