Seawolf Completes Six
Seawolf Completes Six-Month Arctic
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda R.
Gray, Commander, Submarine Group 9 Public Affairs.
Bremerton, Washington – (NNS)
– August 25, 2015 – The fast-attack submarine USS Seawolf (SSN 21) returned to its homeport of
Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton Aug. 21, following a six-month deployment.
During the deployment, Seawolf conducted routine submarine operations, which
included scheduled under-ice transits and under-ice operations.
Sailors remove arctic ice from the hull after
surfacing at the North Pole
"The crew performed superbly on multiple operations in the 6th Fleet area of
responsibility," said Cmdr. Jeff Bierley, Seawolf's commanding officer, from
Birmingham, Alabama. "We conducted two polar transits, including a routine
surfacing at the North Pole. Operations under the Arctic are part of the Navy's
continued commitment to maintain access to all international seas, and Seawolf
was just part of that commitment."
The Navy has been operating in the Arctic for decades and it is expected that
presence requirements will likely increase as maritime traffic in the region
increases. Ships like Seawolf support the Arctic national strategy by developing
capabilities, increasing maritime awareness and preserving freedom.
USS Seawolf (SSN 21)
surfaces through Arctic ice at the North Pole
"Seawolf did an exceptional job; they had an accelerated fleet readiness
training period so they were really pushed to get all of their preparations,
training and certifications done before deployment, including preparations for
the very challenging Arctic transit," said Capt. Douglas Perry, commander,
Submarine Development Squadron 5, from Alexandria, Virginia. "Arctic transits
are important, not just for us to be able to keep our fleet assets around the
globe, but it also give us an opportunity to maintain undersea dominance of the
Arctic spaces, an area that is very challenging and is changing dramatically."
This was the first deployment for many of the Sailors aboard Seawolf, awarding
them the unique experience of visiting the North Pole.
"It was a very interesting deployment full of mixed emotions and the unexpected,"
said Yeoman 3rd Class Felipe Aparicio, from Los Angeles. "Surfacing at the North
Pole was awesome. As you push through the surface it takes your breath away. You
feel the ice hit the hull of the boat and you hear thumping back and forth all
around you; then it just stops. It was a memorable experience. We got out of the
boat, and the best way to describe the North Pole is that it's a cold, snowy
These polar transits and the surfacing of submarines demonstrate the U.S. Navy's
commitment to assure access to all international waters. USS Nautilus (SSN 571)
was the first submarine to complete a submerged polar transit.
"We are very happy to be home to the Pacific Northwest, and we are eager to
spend time with our family and friends," said Bierley.
USS Seawolf (SSN 21) returning home to Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton
Seawolf, commissioned July 19, 1997, is the first of the Navy's three
Seawolf-class submarines. The Seawolf is significantly quieter than any Los
Angeles-class submarine. It is also faster, has more torpedoes tubes and can
carry up to 50 torpedoes or missiles, or 100 mines.
All of the Seawolf-class submarines are homeported in the Pacific Northwest -
USS Connecticut (SSN 22) and Seawolf at Bremerton, Washington, and USS Jimmy
Carter (SSN 23) at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.
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