USS Tucson returns from Western Pacific
by Petty Officer 1st Class (SW) Cynthia Clark, COMSUBPAC Public Affairs

The nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Tucson (SSN-770) returned to its home port of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, from a six-month Western Pacific deployment on Sept. 21.

Since departing Pearl Harbor on March 21, USS Tucson visited Sasebo and Yokosuka, Japan, Saipan, and Guam. While in Saipan, Tucson crew members joined forces with military veterans and cleaned a World War II bunker. Tucson was also in Yokosuka to celebrate the Submarine Force’s 106th Birthday at the annual ball, which was attended by numerous U.S. and Japanese Military Self Defense Force officials.

In June Tucson participated in Exercise Valiant Shield 2006 near Guam, providing anti-submarine warfare training to three aircraft carrier strike groups. Tucson also participated in a bilateral exercise with the Royal Australian Navy submarine HMAS Farncomb. Cmdr. Jimmy Pitts, Tucson commanding officer, said his crew played the role of aggressor “superbly,” training the carrier strike group in anti-submarine warfare. “The strike group was very capable,” he said. “It was a lot of fun.”

As for the Australians, Pitts said, “They are very capable submariners. It was a challenge for us and continued to build our friendship with the Australian submarine forces.”

image of USS Tucson's return


“I’m extremely proud of their [Tuscon’s crew] accomplishments. Each of the guys did a superb job, worked extremely hard and all of America can be proud of them.”

Before heading home and spending time with their families, Tucson had a few more tasks to do. In addition to re-enlisting one Sailor and pinning dolphins on two officers, they also had a pinning ceremony for the new Chief Petty Officers.

One of the new chiefs, Chief Petty Officer (SS) Darin Matrazzo, had his wife Jessica and his two-year-old daughter pin on his anchors. “I’m really proud of him,” said Jessica. “I was in the Navy too, it was so great to see him earn this.”

Home just in time for his wife to deliver his second daughter, Petty Officer 1st Class (SS) Tim Fredericksen said while it was an honor to do such an important job for his country, it’s just as important for him to be home with his family. “This is where it’s at,” he said.

Also among those with new family members was Tucson’s Executive Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Maher, who’s wife, Collette, gave birth to their first daughter Aug. 1st.

“I found out a day later by message,” Maher said. “I’m very pleased. She’s so beautiful. I’m so lucky.”

Tucson has a crew of 18 officers and 118 enlisted men. It displaces more than 6,900 tons, is 360 feet long, and can reach speeds in excess of 25 knots and attain depths of more than 800 feet.

Tucson is one of fifteen nuclear-powered attack submarines homeported at Pearl Harbor.

image of sailor's renuion with family
image of sailor's renuion with family

Top

image of cover of fall 06 issue