PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The Sailors of USS Louisville (SSN 724) returned to their homeport of Pearl Harbor May 13 following an eight-month deployment, participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).
While on a routine, six-month deployment in the 7th Fleet area of operation, Louisville was dispatched to the 5th Fleet operating area and was once again called to action, this time for OIF.
According to Louisville's Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Michael Jabaley, his Sailors not only did their job well, they did it while enduring a lengthy deployment.
"The leadership team on this ship is fantastic and the crew really responded to that. You might think when the ship gets extended on deployment the crew would get discouraged. I never saw any indication of that. They were always upbeat, positive and energetic and they knew how important our mission was," said Jabaley.
"We are very proud of Louisville's history. In 1991 she was the first submarine to fire Tomahawk missiles in the Gulf War. This year we returned to duty again. It's nothing that any submarine in Pearl Harbor couldn't have done, we just happened to be on deployment. It's something that we have all trained and worked up to, and we were ready. We were just a part of a big coalition to liberate the Iraqi people and destroy weapons of mass destruction. We are very proud of that," added Jabaley.
In addition to family members and friends welcoming home their Sailors, representatives from Louisville, Ky., presented a Civil War era Kentucky Long Rifle to the commanding officer and provided Louisville Slugger baseball bats to the crew members.
During Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm Louisville made naval history by firing the first submarine-launched Tomahawk cruise missile in war. To accomplish this Louisville conducted a 14,000-mile submerged, high speed transit across the Pacific and Indian Oceans to the Red Sea and fired shortly after noon on Jan. 19, 1991.
For exceptionally meritorious service from Jan. 17, 1991 to Feb. 28, 1991 during Operation Desert Storm, Louisville was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation.
The submarine can launch the sophisticated Mark 48 and ADCAP torpedoes, Tomahawk land attack missiles, and naval mines. Louisville's missions include locating and destroying submarines and surface ships, reconnaissance, land strike, and special warfare operations.
Commissioned Nov. 8, 1986 at the Naval Submarine Base, New London, Conn., Louisville is the 35th nuclear-powered attack submarine of the Los Angeles (SSN 688)-class design.
Displacing more than 6,900 tons, the 360-foot submarine can reach speeds in excess of 25 knots and attain depths of more than 800 feet. Nuclear propulsion gives her virtually unlimited endurance through any ocean in the world.
Louisville's stealth, endurance, mobility and firepower make her a formidable force in a wide range of mission roles.
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