USS Columbus Gets Underway on WESTPAC Mission


The U.S.Navy’s Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Columbus (SSN 762) departed Joint Base Pearl-Harbor Hickam for a deployment to the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) region, on February 19.

Columbus’ commanding officer, Cmdr. David Youtt, said the submarine and her crew are ready to get underway on a WESTPAC deployment.

“The ship is in the best condition of my time on board, all systems are at 100 percent, and we are ready to execute our WESTPAC deployment,” said Youtt. “The crew is definitely ready to get under way, and we are ready to professionally execute the mission.”

Missions will include handling a multitude of taskings, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, and special operations in theater.

Youtt noted some of the challenges facing the crew include leaving their families, keeping the submarine operational for long periods, and continuing to qualify the Sailors in all facets of submarining.

He added that the senior Sailors will train with the younger personnel to gain the experience of going on a Western Pacific deployment and how to best represent the country.

Columbus deploys with about 135 Sailors, many of them on their first deployment.

For Culinary Specialist Seaman Jose Hernandez, a first-time deployment brings feelings of anticipation and excitement.

“I’m looking to experience challenges and how we handle them as a crew, or individually, how well I do in getting my qualifications,” said Hernandez.

USS Columbus is the 51st Los Angeles-class submarine and the 12th improved version of this class, which includes a vertical launch system for Tomahawk cruise missiles and an improved hull design for under-ice operations.

Length 110.3 m
Beam 10m
Draught 9.4m
Displacement 6,000 long tons (6,096 t) light
6,927 long tons (7,038 t) full
927 long tons (942 t) dead
Speed Surfaced:20 knots (23 mph; 37 km/h)Submerged: +20 knots (23 mph; 37 km/h)
Complement 12 officers, 98 men
Propulsion S6G nuclear reactor
Status active

Press Release, February 21, 2014; Image: Wikimedia