BANGOR, Wash. (NNS) -- The Blue Crew of the Trident ballistic missile submarine USS Maine (SSBN 741) was honored Dec. 16 by the commander of Submarine Group 9 for completing a 105-day strategic deterrent patrol - one of the longest patrols in recent history for a Bangor-based SSBN.
During morning quarters at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Rear Adm. Bob Hennegan expressed his appreciation to Maine's Blue Crew, which returned home Dec. 4. He also presented the Blue Crew with the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, awarded to Sailors who deploy away from their home port for at least 90 days.
"To all of you, congratulations for a tremendous job," said Hennegan, who was also on hand Dec. 4 to welcome the Maine back to Bangor. "This is an amazing accomplishment."
Maine's patrol, which began Aug. 22, was the longest by a SSBN based at Bangor since 2008, when Maine's Blue Crew conducted a 96-day strategic deterrent patrol.
While the Sailors of Maine were glad to be back home, they were also proud of their accomplishments underway.
"This deployment was enjoyable because of the amount of time we had to do everything, especially to qualify," said Fireman (SS) Christopher Holley, one of 20 Blue Crew Sailors who completed their submarine qualifications during the patrol. "When you go out for as long as we did, you have to come back qualified in something."
Hennegan recognized Holley and the other Maine Sailors who earned the right to wear submarine warfare insignia, or "dolphins."
"For all of those guys who got your dolphins, you're joining an elite group of folks," Hennegan said to the newly qualified submariners. "But it's also a reflection of your whole crew and the people who work to get you qualified."
In addition, five Blue Crew first class petty officers were promoted to chief petty officer during Maine's deployment: Chief Hospital Corpsman David Young, Chief Machinist's Mate Brian Gaebler, Chief Machinist's Mate Joel Hanhardt, Chief Missile Technician Sean Burt and Chief Sonar Technician (Submarines) Brad Hudson.
"Performing at sea for the extended period of time as we did was due to the hard work and dedication of every Sailor that works on board Maine," said Cmdr. Mark Schmall, commanding officer of Maine's Blue Crew. "I can't say enough about the work done by every single Sailor on our crew."
The 16th of 18 Ohio-class SSBNs, Maine is one of eight ballistic missile submarines homeported at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, providing the survivable leg of the nation's strategic forces.
For more news from Commander, Submarine Group 9, visit www.navy.mil/local/csg9/.