PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii -- Friends and families of the USS Mississippi (SSN 782) crew gathered pierside to welcome back the Virginia-class fast attack submarine as it returned from a six-month Western Pacific deployment to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, March 30.
The successful completion of its Western Pacific deployment was attributed to the performance of its crew, said Cmdr. Eric Rozek, a native of St. Paul, Minnesota, and Mississippi's commanding officer.
"The men and women of Mississippi worked exceptionally hard to prepare and deploy to the Western Pacific," said Rozek. "Additionally, the crew was outstanding ambassadors, representing themselves, Mississippi, the Navy, and our nation as they worked together with our maritime partners and allies."
During the deployment, 31 Sailors earned their submarine warfare qualification and 19 Sailors advanced in rank.
While deployed, Mississippi made the first ever port visit by a U.S. Navy submarine to the port of Jeju, South Korea.
"Jeju was a beautiful place to visit and experience the Korean culture," said Master Chief Machinist's Mate Amanuel McMillan, from Macon, Georgia, and Mississippi's chief of the boat. "It was a must for any deployer, and our visit further strengthened the already positive alliance between the U.S. and South Korea."
McMillan also praised the crew for their hard work and dedication to make the deployment a successful one.
"Being deployed allows the crew to show off their talent and skills from the training, certifications, inspections and qualifications they endured for the preparation of deployment," said McMillan. "I am very proud of how far we've come and appreciate the hard work from every one of my Sailors."
USS Mississippi is one of six Virginia-class fast-attack submarines to be homeported in Pearl Harbor. The submarine is 377-feet long, displaces 7,800 tons, and is equipped to carry torpedoes and Tomahawk missiles. It possesses the capacity to insert special operations forces into a multitude of environments and battlefield scenarios.