Pennsylvania Gold Crew Sets New Record for Longest Ohio-Class SSBN Patrol
USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735) with its Gold Crew aboard, returned home
to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor June 14 following a 140-day strategic deterrent
patrol, setting a new record for the longest patrol completed by an
Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine.
BANGOR, Wash. (June 14, 2014) The ballistic-missile submarine USS Pennsylvania
(SSBN 735) cycles it's missile hatches as the boat's Gold crew returns
home to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor following a 140-day strategic deterrent
patrol. The patrol set a new record for the longest strategic deterrent
patrol completed by an Ohio-class submarine. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief
Mass Communication Specialist Ahron Arendes/Released)
Pennsylvania Gold's patrol, which began in January,
is not only the longest for an Ohio-class submarine, but the longest
since beginning of the Poseidon C3 ballistic missile program in the
early 1970s, according to records maintained by the Submarine Launched
Ballistic Missile Weapon System Evaluation program.
"It's an honor. It was a challenge. The job kept calling for us
to stay at sea, but we were ready, willing and able, so we stayed at
sea and finished the mission," said Cmdr. Tiger Pittman Pennsylvania
Gold commanding officer. "I'm incredibly proud of my crew. I've
been amazed by their resiliency throughout the entire time, and not
only the crew, but the families. We leave and we serve, but they stay
home and they serve as well."
As Pennsylvania emerged from an extended maintenance period in 2013,
the patrol had originally been planned to be longer than is considered
normal for an SSBN. The crew spent nearly the entire patrol underway,
since unlike most other Navy vessels, SSBNs don't make routine port
visits except when returning to homeport.
"USS Pennsylvania Gold's patrol is an exceptional example of the
flexibility and capability of the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine.
We had always expected this to be a longer than normal patrol and a
highly capable crew made it happen," said Capt. Mark VanYe, chief
of staff at Commander, Submarine Group 9. "When operational commitments
changed, we knew the exceptional Sailors serving on Pennsylvania and
their families back home were up to the task.
"They have excelled across their entire mission set," he said.
We are glad now to have them home and congratulate them on a job well
Upon their return home, Pennsylvania Gold was greeted by Commander of
Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer, who wanted
to personally thank them and congratulate them on a job well done.
"The SSBN strategic deterrent patrol is the most important unit
mission in the Submarine Force and vital to the defense of our nation,"
said Sawyer. "The Pennsylvania Gold Crew was on the front line
of deterrence, conducting critical missions from the time the ship got
underway until returning home, and I couldn't be prouder of what they
Pennsylvania is one of eight Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines
homeported at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, providing the survivable leg
of the nation's strategic deterrent forces.