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By MC1 Phillip Pavlovich, Submarine Group 9
BANGOR, Wash. - The Ohio-class nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarine USS Alabama (SSBN 731) recently returned to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor after completing its 100th patrol.
The patrol was completed by Alabama Blue Crew who departed early May.
Alabama joined a select group, alongside USS Alaska (SSBN 732) and USS Henry M. Jackson (SSBN 730), as the third Ohio-class submarine to reach this milestone.
“100 patrols speaks to its longevity and the success of the fleet. 100 Patrol is pretty uncommon,” said Chief Electronics Technician (Navigation) Josh Jones, assistant navigator.
“Submarining is the ultimate team sport. The eye-watering efforts to get the crew certified, the ship buttoned up for sea, and the ability to stay at sea for an unusually arduous patrol are a testament to the caliber of Sailor who volunteers for submarine duty. Answering the call repeatedly to man the nation’s watch bill would not be possible without the dedication of each and every Sailor onboard,” said Alabama Blue Crew Commanding Officer Cmdr. Brian Murphy.
While underway, the ship hosted more than 480 Midshipmen from various schools and programs such as the Professional Training of Midshipmen, Career Orientation for Midshipmen, and Submarine Pacific Training Midshipmen Development.
“This is always a great opportunity to share with the Navy’s future leaders what submarines do and why we are so important to the defense of the Nation,” said Murphy.
While underway, Alabama hit a second millstone by celebrating its 36th birthday since commissioning May 25, 1985.
“Keeping our SSBNs ready to fight requires more time and resources than in the past, which in turn has required the ships to stay at sea longer while repairs are done on our sister ships. For example, Alabama’s 100th patrol was 132 days long, the 4th longest strategic deterrence patrol in the history of the Ohio-class SSBN force,” said Murphy.
Alabama is one of eight Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines homeported at naval Base Kitsap-Bangor and the seventh U.S. Navy ship to bear the name. The class is designed for extended, undetectable deterrent patrols and as a launch platform for intercontinental ballistic missiles.