PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Ten members of the Guam Chamber of Commerce Armed Forces Committee (AFC) embarked aboard Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Chicago (SSN 721), Feb. 22, to build upon the strong partnership between the local community of Guam and the U.S. Navy.
The group spent the day at sea, witnessing firsthand what the crew does underway.
Capt. Jeff Grimes, commander, Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) 15, and Cmdr. Lance Thompson, commanding officer, USS Chicago hosted the group.
"Having members of the Guam Chamber of Commerce on board allows us to show them the capabilities we bring to the area and gives us the opportunity to teach them about the Navy and our submariners," said Thompson. "It provides them with an insight into our daily lives and how dedicated we are to maintaining peace and stability in the region."
Guam's strategic location enhances the flexible capabilities of U.S. military forces. Its location in the Western Pacific allows for unique freedom of action, regional engagement, crisis response and deterrence. An enduring U.S. military presence in Guam demonstrates commitment to partnerships among regional allies and allows the U.S. Navy and the government of Guam to foster their strong relationship.
"The submarine force presence in Guam is important to the maritime security of the region, and we are here to stay," said Grimes. "This is not only where we operate, it is where we live, and we are committed to ensuring the safety and stability of the region."
Regarding the Guam Chamber of Commerce, Grimes highlighted the importance of maintaining a positive relationship with the group.
"We appreciate all the support the chamber of commerce has given," Grimes said. "It's been mutually beneficial to be able to talk and build relationships; friendships, really. By fostering a positive relationship and working effectively together, we become further integrated into the community that supports us and our mission."
During the visit, guests were given an overview of the submarine's capabilities and a tour of the bridge, torpedo room, control room and living quarters. They were also given a demonstration of the damage control equipment, learning about how submariners fight casualties and the tools they use.
"These Sailors are so smart; they operate on a higher level," said Gerry Perez, former chairman of the board. "It's incredible what these submarines and their crews are capable of doing, and how professional and enthusiastic they are to show us what they can do."
Perez was on the bridge as the submarine entered Apra Harbor, Guam. Each of the Guam AFC members had the opportunity to spend time at the top of the sail while the submarine was transiting on the surface.
"Coming into the harbor; what a great sense of arrival!" said Perez.
SUBRON 15 is located at Polaris Point, Naval Base Guam in Santa Rita, Guam, and consists of four Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarines. The squadron staff is responsible for providing training, material and personnel readiness support to these commands. Also based out of Naval Base Guam are submarine tenders USS Frank Cable (AS 40) and USS Emory S. Land (AS 39). The submarines and tenders are maintained as part of the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed submarine force and are readily capable of meeting global operational requirements.
For more news from Commander, Submarine Squadron 15, visit http://www.csp.navy.mil/css15 and http://www.facebook.com/SubmarineSquadron15/.