BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- People and service members from throughout the Pacific Northwest gathered at Naval Base Kitsap Bremerton Delta Pier for USS Michigan's (SSGN 727) return to service ceremony June 12.
This was the first time for many to see the submarine after a more than two year overhaul as Michigan went through many changes during the period, including advancing the ship's warfighting capabilities.
"The ship has gone through an overhaul process and an extensive amount of time in the ship yard," said Electronics Technician 2nd Class (SS) Aaron Gale of Michigan. "It's better now than before because the Michigan has a different mission as a guided-missile submarine."
Michigan became the third of four ballistic-missile submarines to be converted to a guided-missile platform. With the change, the ship's mission capabilities are more sophisticated and will be able to perform more tasks than before.
"The difference between an SSBN ballistic missile submarine and an SSGN guided missile submarine is the SSBN goes out to patrol," said Gale. "One of the SSGN specialties is going out and dropping off special operation forces insertion and support."
For the return to service ceremony, the guest speaker for the event was Rear. Adm. Frank Drennan, Commander Submarine Group 9. He said Michigan's crew will embrace and keep her ready for whatever mission comes up.
"This ceremony of the Michigan symbolizes the greatness of our nation as well as our Navy," said Drennan. "The crew, while in port, will prepare and maintain readiness for her mission and we're excited about the technology and hardware of the ship. The hard work of thousands of people made this possible."
After Drennan gave his remarks, Capt. Kerry Ingalls, commodore Submarine Squadron 19, as well Michigan Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Terry Takats, proceeded with a few remarks.
"The USS Michigan has an impressive list of accomplishments and capabilities which include 67 completed strategic deterrent patrols prior to the conversion to an SSGN guided missile submarine," said Takats. "It is with great honor and deep appreciation that we commemorate her return to service."
Following the ceremony, the crew enjoyed a barbecue meal. Although the crew and the event participants enjoyed the gathering, there was an understanding that all of the work isn't done for Michigan. They now have to go through sea-trials and certifications, before it is fully reinstated back into the fleet.
"I've been stationed on board for two years and a few weeks," said Gale. "We will finally be able to actually get underway and perform the ship's mission as well as everything else they have talked about."
For more news from around the fleet, visit www.navy.mil.