USS Miami Returns from Five-Month Deployment
GROTON, Conn. – The families of Sailors assigned to the Los Angeles class fast-attack submarine USS Miami (SSN 755) received an early holiday gift this year when the submarine returned to Naval Submarine Base New London, Dec. 15, following a regularly scheduled five-month deployment.
Miami, which departed for deployment, July 14, conducted maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. Commanded by Cmdr. Roger Meyer, Miami visited ports in Haakonsvern, Norway; Faslane, Scotland; Portsmouth, England and Rota, Spain.
"The entire crew of USS Miami fully embraced their role as ambassadors for our Navy and country," said Meyer, a native of Blue Grass, Iowa who assumed command of USS Miami in September 2010.
During their five-month deployment, the crew fine tuned the skill sets of their undersea warriors. "Our team integrated the talents of multiple commands into one cohesive team, developing undersea warriors with the skills necessary to be competent and disciplined operators and maintainers while executing missions vital to national security," said Meyer.
Recognizing their contributions to the Submarine Force, several crew members aboard Miami were advanced to the next rank and earned warfare qualifications during a ceremony on Nov. 30 while in port Portsmouth, England.
During that ceremony, five Sailors received their enlisted submarine warfare qualification pins, and eight others were advanced to the rank of Petty Officer Third Class aboard the historic British Royal Navy ship HMS Victory, which is the oldest commissioned warship in the world.
Other Sailors had reasons to celebrate. During their deployment seven babies were born. One of those lucky fathers is Senior Chief Electrician's Mate Ryan Rolfe who held his three-month old son, Joseph Rolfe, for the first time since his birth. Joseph is the couple's third child.
During the Miami's deployment, Lillian Rolfe was chosen to participate in a group baby shower with 19 other military wives. The event, sponsored by the non-profit organization Operation Shower and Birdies for the Brave, marked the first time it was held in Connecticut and for wives of submariners.
"As military spouses, we forget how different our lives are. We are used to having an empty bed to crawl into and end of the day, making big decisions, planning birthday parties, attending school events, and finding housing on our own," said Lillian.
USS Miami Ombudsman April Holtmeyer, a mother of two, expressed her excitement for the reunion of Sailors and their families, as well as the remaining crew members just in time for the holidays.
"Holiday homecomings add an extra special sense of reunion. Our families exemplified strength during this deployment by utilizing the greatest asset - each other. This sisterhood was essential in the success of maintaining normal," said Holtmeyer.
As the Sailors departed the submarine and reunited with their families, the fathers recognized their children by presenting them with medals as a token of their appreciation.
With nearly 50 percent of the 134-member crew aboard Miami are married and have children, the support for their loved ones give new meaning for the deployed fathers, said USS Miami Family Readiness Group President Christy Thomas, a mother of two.
"The kids are the heroes in their dads' eyes because they have thrived in their daily lives while they have been gone," said Thomas.
During the submarine's deployment, Thomas, Holtmeyer and other wives coordinated with the non-profit organization Operation Gratitude to receive gift boxes. More than 150 children of the deployed Sailors were recognized during National Military Family Appreciation Month, which occurs in November every year.
Miami's family-centric focus included Santa riding aboard Miami as the submarine pulled into Naval Submarine Base New London. In addition, the Steve Elci & Friends band performed at the homecoming, a first for the Connecticut performers, who is best known for writing the song, "Submarine Town". Their music is designed for children kindergarten through 8th grade.
In addition to USS Miami, Los Angeles class fast-attack submarines USS Dallas (SSN 700) returned to Naval Submarine Base New London, Dec. 14, following a regularly scheduled six-month deployment.
The submarine, built by Newport News Shipbuilding and General Dynamics Electric Boat Division, is the third Navy vessel to bear the name of the city of Miami, Florida. The submarine's crew compliment includes 133 officers and enlisted Sailors.
111215-N-AW342-017 GROTON, Conn., (Dec. 15, 2011) - USS Miami (SSN 755) is assisted by a tug to moor at Naval Submarine Base New London, Groton, Conn. The Los Angeles class fast-attack submarine returned from a regularly scheduled five-month deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photograph by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Virginia K. Schaefer/Released)
111215-N-AW342-068 GROTON, Conn., (Dec. 15, 2011) - Phone talkers on the sail of USS Miami (SSN 755) look ahead as Miami prepares to moor. The Los Angeles class fast-attack submarine returned from a regularly scheduled five-month deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photograph by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Virginia K. Schaefer/Released)
For more photos go to USS Miami's Homecoming on Flickr.