Touring “The Legend” – The US Navy Nuclear Attack Submarine USS Cheyenne (SSN 773)

The US Navy has been very kind to me over the last few years, inviting me to some very unique experiences and this past Sunday I got the opportunity to have another one!

I was invited to tour the US Navy Nuclear Attack Submarine USS Cheyenne (SSN 773) with a friend of mine from high school.

Commander Gary A. Rogeness, Me, Tracey Hewitt Hawkins and Matt Heaps board "The Legend"

We started the tour by meeting up with Commander Gary A. Rogeness who welcomed us and briefed us about the history of the US Navy’s Submarine Fleet and about the history of the USS Cheyenne itself.

Notice the bell?

Anytime a “ranking” officer either leaves the submarine or boards the submarine… the bell in the picture is rung notifying folks that a ranking officer is boarding or leaving the submarine.

The only way in and out of a submarine

After answering some initial questions, Commander Rogeness turned the tour over to Senior Officer Alvarez who then lead us down a tiny hole in the top of the sub down to the first level of the submarine.

Alvarez conducts the tour of the submarine

The sub was launched on April 16, 1995 and Commissioned on September 13, 1996.  The sub is complemented by 17 Officers, 16 Chief Petty Officers and 130 Enlisted Sailors.

Pfft... I wish!

We got to see most of the submarine and there were only a few things that were classified where they didn’t want us taking pictures of stuff.

The Perioscope

While the sub was in port… it wasn’t carrying any Tomahawk Missiles at the time… however it is capable of launching both Tomahawk Missiles as well as these MK48 ADCAP Torpedoes.

a MK48 ADCAP Torpedo

MK48 ADCAP Torpedo

They call a Navy member who is enlisted to one of the 52 Submarines in the US Navy a “Submariner” and the screening process to become a submariner is quite strict.   The commander said the thing that he looks for most in a potential Submariner is the ability to work in teams and be good at team work.

Nine folks share these tight sleeping quarters and folks that are tall literally have to sleep in a fetal position, however, they can also sleep in the Torpedo rooms if there is no Torpedoes being stored at the time.

“This is perhaps the most difficult and demanding assignment in the Navy.  There is not an instant during his tour as a submariner that he can escape the grasp of responsibility.  His privileges in views of his obligations are almost ludicrously small, nevertheless, it is the spur which has given the Navy it greatest mariners – the men of the Submarine Service.

Inside the sub

I asked them if they had internet capability out at sea and they said no, however, when they are in port… they can run a coaxial cable to the submarine so that at least they can have cable tv when in port.

Commanders Quarters if I remember correctly

The maximum depth the USS Cheyenne can dive to is in excess of 800 feet and has a maximum speed in excess of 25 knots.

The only real limitation on how long the sub can stay out at sea is the amount of food the kitchen staff has available

The Cheyenne is one of the most advanced nuclear submarines in the world and creates it’s own water and oxygen.

Alvarez talks about some of the technology on board the submarine

As the tour was ending, we met back up with the Commander of the Submarine to ask a few more questions and learn more about the Submarine.  Commander Rogeness is really proud of his crew that is enlisted on the Cheyenne and has nothing but high praise for his officers.

Front side of the commanders coin

Commander Rogeness then took out a Commanders Coin and handed it to me and told us some more stories about submarine life.  I slid the coin back to him but then he said I could keep it!

Back side of a USS Cheyenne Commanders Coin

I’ve been wanting to take a submarine tour for a long time now and I’m stoked that it was one of most capable nuclear submarines in the world that I finally got to take a tour on!  The Commander lead us on our way off the sub and thanked us for visiting his sub!

Commander Rogeness and I in front of the Cheyenne (notice the small Cheyenne pin on my hat!)

Not only did commander Rogeness give me a Commanders Coin… he took the USS Cheyenne pin off his shirt and gave it to me!

Talk about giving me the pin off his shirt!!! Mahalo!

The tour lasted about an hour and a half and I really gained a new found respect for these submariners.  I myself don’t think I could handle it as I’m a bit claustrophobic and I don’t think I could handle long times at sea… That and I need my dang internet!

In the Sioux language, Cheyenne means "aliens" or "people of foreign tongue". The Sioux Indians gave the name "Cheyenne" to the Indian tribe that roamed the plains in this region. The crew of the USS Cheyenne earned the Commander, Submarine Squadron SEVEN Battle Efficiency "E" Award in 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007.

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3 Responses

  1. Mr. Tucker — As a SUBFOR family member, enjoyed your article/photos from aboard fast attack, USS Cheyenne.

    Believe you erred in number of crew. Should be around 130…or 13 officers, 116 enlisted unless riders are aboard..

  2. That was the coolest thing I’ve seen since I was stationed aboard the USS Houston SSN-713! I miss being onboard one, so those pics brought back a lot of memories, both bad and AWESOME! I’m aiming to move back to Hawaii soon and hope I’m lucky enough to get welcomed aboard another boat. I’d flip my lid if that boat were the Houston! 713 FOREVER!!! Mahalo for the story and Merry Christmas!

    SK2(SS) Doug Sturgies ’90-97

  3. That was great! Our son recently was assigned to the USS Chicago, SSN 721. Now we have a better idea of his new home. Thank you.

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