PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Friends and families of the crew of USS Charlotte (SSN 766) gathered at the submarine piers to welcome back the Los Angeles-class submarine as she returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after completing a deployment to the Western Pacific, Oct. 2.
"I am very pleased with our crew's performance during the deployment and our ability to contribute to the overall effort of the 7th Fleet and Submarine Group Seven Commanders," said Cmdr. Drew Miller, Charlotte's commanding officer. "Each crewmember made full use of the deployment period to enhance his personal level of knowledge while assisting in improving our teams' professional competency, a hallmark of the submarine force."
During the deployment, 12 Sailors and four Officers earned their designation as qualified in submarines and now wear their dolphin warfare insignia.
Along with this accomplishment, 15 Sailors advanced in rank and three Sailors were initiated into the Chiefs' Mess.
With this being the first deployment for over a third of the crew, Miller said one of the keys to the mission's success was how well new Sailors were welcomed into the Charlotte family.
"Our new Sailors have been able to quickly acclimate to the high paced life aboard our fast attack submarine and experienced tremendous professional growth," said Miller. "For the officers and enlisted who completed their first deployment, they were able to gain real-world experience of how to successfully execute a wide-array of submarine missions important to theater and national security."
During the six month deployment, Charlotte took part in Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training 2013 (CARAT), and a theater security cooperation port visit to Singapore. Charlotte's crew also hosted distinguished visitors and enjoyed liberty in Yokosuka, Japan.
"I developed an appreciation for different cultures in Singapore and Japan," said Yeoman 3rd Class Bryan Means. "I realized that when visiting other countries, it's really important to respect the way the nationals in those countries live, as they've honored us by allowing us to visit."
Friends and family crowded the pier to welcome them home.
"I can hardly stand it, I want to cry, laugh, and jump and down" said Gerri Bosch while waiting for the submarine's arrival. She traveled from Jenison, Mich. with her husband to welcome home their son Fire Control Technician 3rd Class Tyler Bosch, from his first deployment. "I am so proud of him. This has been a really positive experience."
"I am looking forward to spending time with my family in Oahu," said Culinary Specialist 1st Class Samuel Villarreal. "Six months is a long time to be away from your family and it feels good to be welcomed home by loved ones."
Charlotte is the fourth U.S. Navy ship to bear the name of the North Carolina city. Commissioned on September 16, 1994 at Norfolk, Va., the 360-feet long, 6,900 tons displacement submarine arrived at its new homeport, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Nov. 17, 1995.
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