USS Helena is Waterborne Again at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
KITTERY, Maine - After an arduous 49 work-filled weeks of being dry docked, Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Helena (SSN 725) made the seamless transition from being a dry dock inhabitant back to the waters of the Piscataqua River with the help of their shipyard project team on Sept. 9.
There was a great deal of excitement across the yard for Helena hitting the mark, which was set by the project team almost two years ago. Shipyard workers, submariners and others gathered at the Shipyard Mall the following day to celebrate the feat
During the gathering, Shipyard Commander Capt. Bryant Fuller congratulated Helena’s team and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, saying “It takes an island…” referring to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s home, Seavey Island, and its populace, for a job well done in crossing off this milestone on time and with 90 percent of the prescribed work complete.
“Helena is an example of people, standards and processes,” Fuller continued, referring to the Shipyard’s current maxim. “It has been the model for the way forward.”
Scott Kimmel, project Superintendent for Helena, personified Fuller’s statement by handing over the submarine’s dry dock keys to its next occupant, USS Virginia (SSN 774), which arrived on the first of September.
At this point Team Helena, with 90 percent of the work complete, is not resting on its laurels. The team is poised to ready the crew for a return to an operational status by placing the majority of its focus on crew training and other operational facets.
Helena arrived at the shipyard on Sept. 2, 2009 for extended maintenance, including several system upgrades. Helena, named after Helena, Mont., is currently homeported in San Diego. She is projected to change homeports to Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Va. this spring.
Helena was commissioned on July 11, 1987. Her motto is "Proud and Fearless."