Family members and friends welcomed USS Key West (SSN 722) Sailors during an arrival ceremony on U.S. Naval Base Guam Nov. 9.
As one of three forward-deployed submarines, Key West, a fast-attack submarine, replaces USS Buffalo (SSN 715) that transfers to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in early 2013.
"Our taxpayers are getting their money's worth from the crew of the Key West," said Cmdr. Curtis Duncan, Key West's commanding officer. "These Sailors worked hard to learn how to become an operational submarine again and they did a fine job. This is a crew that thirsts for adventure and are proud to operate their gear."
Rear Adm. Tilghman Payne, commander, Joint Region Marianas, welcomed the boat and her crew with a warm "Hafa Adai" and encouraged them to take in Guam's culture.
"Those of you operating on board USS Key West will find that your life in Guam is professionally rewarding as well as personally satisfying," he said. "Welcome. It's great to have you on the team."
Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Michael Stubbs said he was glad to be on Guam and reunited with his wife.
"It feels incredible," he said. "Especially with someone amazing waiting when I got here. It made the whole trip worth it."
Forward-deployed submarines are readily capable of meeting global operational requirements. Guam's strategic location enhances military force flexibility and allows freedom of action, regional engagement, crisis response and deterrence while helping to fulfill commitments to U.S. allies and partners to protect the nation's security.
Key West is the third submarine to bear the name of the city, and is a Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine with Tomahawk vertical launch capability. She was built in Newport News, Va., launched in 1985 and commissioned in September 1987. Key West has been deployed around the world's oceans and from both coasts of the United States. She has won many honors and awards, and on several occasions was recognized as the best submarine in Submarine Squadron 1 for Battle Efficiency.
Article by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Jeffrey Jay Price, Commander, Submarine Squadron 15