GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS New Hampshire (SSN 778) returned July 22 to Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn., after her first deployment.
New Hampshire was the first Virginia-class submarine to deploy in support of operations in the U.S. European Command Area of Responsibility.
"It was a marvelous performance by the entire crew. It was really rewarding. It's rewarding to be back and see our families though. We're happy to be here," said Cmdr. Michael Stevens, New Hampshire's commanding officer.
During her maiden deployment, New Hampshire, the fifth submarine of the Virginia-class, made port calls in France, Spain and Norway. While in Norway, New Hampshire's crew participated in the weeklong Norwegian Submarine Centennial celebration with submariners from that Norway, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom. During the celebration, the crew marched through downtown Bergen, Norway, to help the country celebrate its 100th submarine birthday.
"We have 134 crew members," said Stevens. "For about 80 percent, it was their first deployment, and probably for more than that, it was their first time in a foreign country. So it was a lot of fun for them. They had a good time."
Though the crew may have had a good time, they said it is better to be home.
"I'm looking forward to relaxing and sleeping in, but I know that ain't gonna happen," said Machinist's Mate 1st Class Adam LaMar, as he held his 10-month-old daughter, Indy, who was chosen to receive the traditional "first hug" upon arrival.
For many family members, the crew's homecoming was an emotional occasion.
"It is a whirlwind of emotions. Words can't really describe the feeling," said Candice Revitzer, wife of Ensign Jason Revitzer, New Hampshire's supply officer. "It's very hard to be apart from each other, but if anything, it really teaches you how strong your love is."
The Revitzer couple was chosen to execute the traditional "first kiss" upon the ship's return home.
New Hampshire was launched Feb. 21, 2008 and christened four months later June 21, 2008 in Groton, eight months ahead of schedule and $54 million under budget. She finished initial sea trials, was delivered to the Navy Aug. 28, 2008 and was then commissioned at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, Oct. 25, 2008.
The name New Hampshire was awarded to the submarine after a letter writing campaign by third graders from Garrison Elementary School in Dover, New Hampshire, to members of Congress, the state governor and the secretary of the Navy.
For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/Subgru2/.