GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- A bright, unseasonably warm New England day and a pier full of eager friends and family at Naval Submarine Base New London welcomed the nuclear-powered, Los Angeles-class, fast attack submarine USS Toledo (SSN 769) and its crew home from a six-month deployment Nov. 29.
Under the command of Cmdr. Orville Cave, Toledo returned from the European Command Area of Responsibility where the crew executed the Chief of Naval Operation's Maritime Strategy in support of national security interests and Maritime Security Operations.
During the deployment the crew served as ambassadors on behalf of the submarine force, the Navy and the country while conducting two port visits in Faslane, Scotland and one in Rota, Spain.
In a time-honored tradition, two families were selected to be the first to meet their returning Sailors.
Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jarrod Pope shared the first kiss with his wife Ashlie and their two daughters, eight-year-old Abigail and three-year-old Emilia, while Fire Control Technician 1st Class James Kaler shared the first hug with his wife Dianna and his nine-month-old son Jonathan.
Electronics Technician Radar Seaman Jesus Cantu stepped of the boat with a big smile on his face, excited to be back from his first deployment.
"The experience I gained from this deployment without a doubt in my heart made me happy that I volunteered for the submarine force," said Cantu. "I got to travel the world, I traveled to ports in Spain and Scotland and I met life-long friends in and outside of the Navy.
Although Cantu's family was not able to make it to the homecoming. He looks forward to seeing his family in just a few weeks for the Christmas holidays.
Machinist's Mates Weapons 2nd Class Kip Solberg was greeted by his wife Tiffany. They met each other in the middle of the crowded pier laughing and having a heart felt moment while appreciating each other's presence.
"It was fun being deployed overseas but I still missed being home," said Solberg.
The completion of this deployment marks the second home coming for Solberg.
"What I liked about this deployment was the comradery, the very tight-knit crew and the ports we were able to visit," said Solberg. "It makes me feel good that I did a job that the Navy set for me to do and I feel proud to have done it and I look forward to doing it again."
Fast-attack submarines like Toledo are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy Maritime Strategy core capabilities; sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence. The submarine is designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence; surveillance and reconnaissance; irregular warfare and mine warfare - from open ocean anti-submarine warfare to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, to projecting power ashore with special operation forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or preparation of regional crises.
Commissioned on Feb. 24, 1995, Toledo is the 81st Los Angeles-class submarine and the second U.S. Navy ship to be named for the city of Toledo. It is 377 feet long with a beam of 34 feet. Los Angeles-class, fast-attack submarines have a crew of approximately 132 made up of 15 officers and 117 enlisted Sailors.
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