Attack submarine USS John Warner returns from first deployment

The crew of US Navy’s Virginia-class attack submarine USS John Warner (SSN 785) completed their maiden deployment as they returned to Norfolk on July 11.

Sailors assigned to the Virginia-class attack submarine USS John Warner (SSN 785) stand topside as it pulls into Naval Station Norfolk, following completion of a six-month deployment. Photo: US Navy

John Warner sailed over 30,000 nautical miles during the deployment and carried out missions in support of theater commanders. It also pinned “dolphins” on 11 officers and 22 enlisted crew who earned their qualifications in submarine warfare.

“Going on deployment is an amazing accomplishment for the crew, they really came together,” said Cmdr. Burt Canfield, John Warner’s commanding officer. “Today is a culmination of not just a lot of hard work on the individual level, but for the crew itself. Watching those guys mature together and accomplish the mission is absolutely fantastic.”

Despite it being John Warner’s maiden deployment, the crew was ready to support in all mission areas. John Warner left on deployment in January and in April she was called upon to conduct combat operations. According to the Pentagon, John Warner fired six Tomahawk missiles during a US and ally missile strike on targets in Syria.

“It’s always an honor to be called on by the nation to do really the most challenging thing that we can do as a warship, to launch missiles or torpedoes,” said Canfield. “It is a great honor to have the faith and confidence of EUCOM and the Combatant Commander for which we were working. The crew performed as trained, professionally, efficiently, like clockwork and executed that mission.”

While deployed, the crew was able to enjoy several port visits, including Greece, Scotland, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The submarine also sailed above the Arctic Circle and inducted 123 sailors into the “Order of the Blue Nose,” one of the rarer line crossing events for sailors.

USS John Warner is the 12th Virginia-class attack submarine and first ship to bear the name of Senator, John Warner. The submarine was built by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation, Groton, Conn., and commissioned August 1, 2015. The 377-foot ship has a current crew compliment of 15 officers and 117 enlisted sailors and displaces more than 7,800 tons of water.