GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- Rain and overcast weather didn't deter more than 400 friends and loved ones at Naval Submarine Base New London on Friday August 18, when the nuclear-powered, Los Angeles-class, fast-attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768) and crew returned from a six month deployment.
Under the command of Cmdr. Matt Fanning, Hartford returned from the European Command Area of Responsibility where the crew executed the Chief of Naval Operation's maritime strategy in support of national security interests and maritime security operations.
During deployment Hartford steamed approximately 35,800 nautical miles, (or 41,197 statute miles), equal to 1.65 trips around the world at the equator or nearly seven round trips from New London, Connecticut to San Diego. Port visits were conducted in Haakonsvern, Norway; Faslane, Scotland and Brest, France.
"USS Hartford returns from deployment to the European Area of Operations after excelling in a variety of conditions in support of theater and regional commander's missions," said Fanning. "It was rewarding to watch the crew grow together as a team and accomplish every task assigned with agility and resiliency. I am also proud of the way they represented the Navy and out country during visits to Norway, Scotland and France."
Of all those present to welcome the boat and crew home, the biggest excitement came in one of the smallest spectators. Three-year-old William Bieber and his mother Liz Bieber shared the first hug with Electrician's Mate 2nd Class Ryan Bieber. Ryan completed William's adoption just before leaving on deployment with Hartford.
Senior Chief Information Systems Technician Brian Victorero, his wife Stephanie and their children Ariah and Joseph shared the first kiss.
Hartford Connecticut Mayor Luke Bronin was on hand to address the crowd and welcome the Hartford crew home.
Hartford also chose two crewmembers to be one of the first Sailors off the boat. Machinist Mate 1st Class Tyler Williamson shared a kiss with his wife Brianna. The second crew member, Machinist Mate Fireman Philip Cooper, didn't have family on the pier, but was welcomed home with hugs and praise from members of the United Services Organization, more commonly known as the USO.
The crowd greeting Hartford's crew was diverse had as many stories as the returning Sailors. Three families showed up to surprise their Sailors, with the Maire family driving all the way from Oklahoma. Their diversity extended to the services in which they served. Machinist Mate 2nd class Jesse Maire's grandfather served in the Marine Corps, his father served in the Coast Guard, his sister served in the Air Force and his brother served in the Army.
Machinist Mate 2nd class George Duman continues the streak of Naval service. His grandfather, mother and uncle all served in the Navy. His grandfather fought in World War II, the Korean War and volunteered for the Vietnam War, but was rejected, because of his age.
Fast-attack submarines like Hartford are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy Maritime Strategy core capabilities; sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence. The submarine is designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence; surveillance and reconnaissance; irregular warfare and mine warfare - from open ocean anti-submarine warfare to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, to projecting power ashore with special operation forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or preparation of regional crises.
Commissioned on Dec. 10, 1994, Hartford is the second ship to be named for Hartford, Conn. It is 360 feet long with a beam of almost 33 feet and a draft of 29 feet.
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