GUAM (NNS) -- USS Ohio (SSGN 726) "Blue Crew" arrived in Guam Jan. 10, for a regularly scheduled port visit.
Guam is the site for the first crew swap between the gold crew and the blue crew. Each crew consists of 165 Sailors. Ohio is scheduled to have three crew swaps and then return to Bangor, Wash., Ohio's homeport.
Ohio is completing the first underway period of a one year deployment to 7th Fleet. The deployment of Ohio to the Western Pacific emphasizes the continued U.S. dedication to regional stability and to U.S. alliances.
"We are really excited to be in Guam," said Command Master Chief (SS) Thomas A. Price, chief of the boat. "Everyone on the sub wants to get back home."
Ohio is the first in its class to convert from a ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) to a guided-missile submarine (SSGN). In 1994, the decision was made to transform four SSBN submarines, Ohio, USS Michigan (SSGN 727), USS Florida (SSGN 728), and USS Georgia (SSGN 729) into conventional land attack and special operations force platforms.
Each of these submarines are capable of carrying up to 154 Tomahawk land attack missiles, carry up to 66 special operations force personnel, a swimmer lock out shelter and an Advanced SEAL Delivery System.
"We know that we are on the first of its SSGN kind and we know that people are interested in what we can do," said Machinist's Mate 2nd Class (SS) Nate Fulkerson. "I think the crew knows we have to be ready at any time. I guess that's why we train a lot."
Supply Officer Ens. Jason Buonvino agrees.
"We do train a lot on the sub. We had the opportunity to get some quality training in while we were out at sea," said Buonvino. "The crew has responded well to this underway. They have adapted and met all the goals that we have set out."
While out at sea, Ohio took the opportunity to certify divers and train in shallow water ops.
"As big as the sub is, we still can maneuver in shallow waters," said Buonvino. "That's impressive. It's just another way the Ohio can show versatility."
The gold crew is scheduled to relieve the blue crew on Friday. After the swap, though, the blue crew will stay for roughly three weeks and repair the submarine before they can fly home.
"It has been a very good underway, but I am looking forward to flying home," said Buonvino. "This has been very challenging for the entire crew, I am proud of the way the Sailors responded."
For more news from Commander, Submarine Group 9, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/csg9/.