GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Minnesota (SSN 783) returned to its homeport at Naval Submarine Base New London following a deployment, Dec. 20.
Under the command of Cmdr. Thomas Flaherty, Minnesota returned from its second overseas deployment where the crew executed the chief of naval operation’s maritime strategy by completing missions vital to supporting national security interests and maritime security operations.
“Minnesota would be nothing without its crew,” said Flaherty. “My team’s resilience, ability to learn and improve, and unflappable spirit led to the ship being on scene, but unseen.”
Flaherty said his crew steamed over 36,000 nautical miles, skillfully navigating the world’s waterways, and provided persistent presence throughout the area of operations, which directly enhanced the nation’s security.
“I am humbled and honored to have had this opportunity to lead Minnesota through her second overseas deployment and proud of each and every member of my crew,” said Flaherty. “We are excited to be home and see our families and friends during the holiday season.”
Cold temperatures didn’t stop more than 400 excited family and friends from gathering on the pier to welcome home their loved ones.
Echoes of cheers and excitement grew stronger once Minnesota appeared in sight with a special guest, Santa Claus, who cheered and waved along with the crew to help bring extra smiles to the faces of children and attendees.
Some of the most excited were winners of the traditional first greetings and a special gender reveal surprise.
Among the winners was Breanna Blattenberg and her children, who greeted Machinists Mate (Nuclear) 1st Class (Submarine) Zachery Blattenberg with the traditional first hug.
“It’s an amazing moment to get to share the first hug with my wife and kids,” said Zachery. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for a while now.”
Sierra Newland and her one-year-old son surprised Electronics Technician (Nuclear) 3rd Class (Submarine) Dayton Newland with a gender reveal of their second child.
“It was a really nice and unexpected moment for me,” said Dayton. “We both wanted a girl so that part made it really special.”
While on deployment, 36 enlisted Sailors and three officers earned their qualification in submarine warfare. Minnesota crew served as ambassadors for the United States, the Navy and the Submarine Force during port visits to Brest, France; Haakonsvern, Norway; Faslane, Scotland; and Rota, Spain
Fast-attack submarines like Minnesota are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence. They are designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare. Fast-attack submarines project power ashore with special operations forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or preparation of regional crises.
Commissioned on Sept. 7, 2013, Minnesota is the 10th Virginia-class fast-attack submarine. It is the first submarine to bear the name Minnesota and the third U.S. Navy vessel to carry the name Minnesota. It is 377 feet long with a beam of 34 feet. Virginia-class fast attack submarines have a crew of approximately 149 made up of 18 officers and 131 enlisted Sailors.
For more news from Naval Submarine Base New London, visit www.navy.mil/local/subasenlon/.