NAVAL STATION NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Crew members from USS Norfolk (SSN 714) welcomed aboard the Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) staff for a familiarization tour Sept. 13.
A group of 7 officers from the staff gained a better understanding of life aboard a fast-attack submarine after touring the boat and speaking with Sailors about their mission.
"A nuclear submarine brings unique capabilities to the fight, and a sound understanding of submarine operations is critical to the efficient use of this asset," said Lt. Mike Owen, Norfolk's communications officer and host for the tour.
After being welcomed aboard by Lt. Cmdr. T.R. Buchanan, Norfolk's executive officer, the staff toured the control room, torpedo room, wardroom, galley, chief petty officer quarters and auxiliary machinery room. They were given a description of damage control as well as the boat's sonar capabilities.
"It was nice to put faces with the names of the Norfolk's strike team," said Lt. j.g. Kathryn Watson, staff strike officer. She was also excited about the opportunity to see in person how the crew performed Tomahawk duties aboard a submarine.
"We stand 6 [hours] on and 6 [hours] off," said Fire Control Technician Seaman Richard Coffman, a member of Norfolk's strike team. As he described his watch rotation to Watson, he noted that he had the best job on board.
Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Haly, the staff submariner and future operations officer, coordinated the tour. "I wanted to give the staff an inside look at what life aboard a submarine is like and the environment they are in while completing their mission."
Chief Machinist's Mate (SS) Edwin Nixon, a Norfolk Sailor, appreciated the visit. "This benefits the staff because they now have a better understanding of what we do and will be sensitive to how we operate. We do have to do things a little bit different down here."
The ESG composition adds to the combat-tested ARG and MEU capabilities with increased defenses, strike, power projection, and special forces capabilities. The Navy's submarine force brings stealth, firepower, endurance and agility to the expeditionary strike group. The Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group is preparing to complete the final stages of its certification exercises.
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