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USS Georgia (SSGN 729) Blue and Gold crews were awarded the 2009 Battle Efficiency award, or Battle "E," by Submarine Squadron 16 at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga. on Jan. 8.
"The criterion for the Battle "E" is for the overall readiness of the command to carry out its assigned wartime tasks. While both of our King Bay SSGNs excelled in operational readiness in 2009, Georgia exemplified our force commander's criterion, and I am proud to recognize them for the Battle Efficiency "E" award," said Capt. Tracy Howard, commodore, Submarine Squadron 16. "They performed exceptionally well during their forward-deployed operations, and they continue to remain on station directly contributing to the war on terrorism. Georgia's superb operational readiness and mission success is the result of a seamless team effort by the dedicated and professional members of the Blue and Gold crews. My hearty and sincere congratulations to each and every member of the Georgia team."
Georgia completed its conversion from a ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) to a guided-missile submarine (SSGN) and returned to service March 28. Along with the missile conversion, upgrades were made to the payload capacity and communications systems. With these changes, the SSGN has the ability to serve in a variety of missions such as strike, special operations, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. By using Diego Garcia as a crew exchange point, the SSGN can maintain a continuous presence in the area of operation for 70 percent of the year.
Georgia departed Kings Bay for a one year deployment to the 5th and 6th Fleet Areas of Responsibility on Aug. 6. The Gold crew is currently deployed with the submarine.
Capt. Brian McIlvaine, commanding officer, USS Georgia (Blue) credits his Sailors and their families for Georgia's success.
"This award reflects on the hard work and mission effectiveness of both crews of Georgia. I'm very proud the crew earned this recognition, and I hope that the families of our Sailors take pride in their role in supporting the combat effectiveness of the ship. Without their support, the ship would not be an effective warship deployed in the defense of our nation."
Chief of the Boat, Master Chief Richard Rose, was very enthusiastic about the award.
"Having been in the Navy for 30 years this is the ever first Battle "E" that I have had the opportunity to be a part of. To me that is a testament to the dedication and commitment that the crew has to the USS Georgia and United Sates Navy. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the families. They play a part of Georgia receiving these awards by keeping the home front running and safe so we, the Sailors, can focus on the mission," said Rose. "I love my job, and I truly enjoy going to work everyday knowing that the crew is going to give 110 percent. 2009 was a great year for Georgia, and I look forward to seeing what 2010 will bring."
The boat also received the Engineering "E" and the Navigational "N".