USS Olympia Returns from Western Pacific Deployment

The crew of the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Olympia (SSN 717) returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam following the successful completion of a Western Pacific deployment, Nov. 9.

USS Olympia (SSN 717) approaches the pier at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Nov. 9. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Shaun Griffin)

Olympia participated in several coordinated exercises with U.S. and allied forces and completed three highly successful missions vital to national security.
“The total commitment and level of effort this crew has demonstrated over the last 18 months both prepared for and executing this deployment is nothing less than outstanding,” said Cmdr. Benjamin J. Selph, native of Prescott, Arizona and commanding officer of Olympia. “This group of young men conducted themselves as professionals of their trade and ambassadors of their country throughout the deployment and I could not ask to lead a more dedicated crew.”

The deployment was a great opportunity for junior Sailors to gain vital operational experience and to hone guidance and leadership skills from the senior leadership.

“The sincere efforts by our experienced submariners instilling qualities that every Sailor needs to be successful and safe helped the junior Sailors become more knowledgeable and helpful in the execution of ship’s operations,” said Master Chief Electronics Technician Submarine, Navigation Roland R. Midgett, chief of the boat and native of Virginia Beach, Virginia.

During the deployment, Olympia advanced 16 enlisted Sailors to the next rank, promoted seven officers and saw 37 submariners earn the right wear the Submarine Warfare device.

Between missions, Olympia enjoyed four port calls to Guam and Japan.
“Having the opportunity to visit Japan on two separate occasions was an unforgettable experience,” said Machinist’s Mate (Weapons) Fireman Raul Bonilla, a native of San Diego.

The return of the Olympia to Pearl Harbor marks nearly 33 years of commissioned service since November 17, 1984.

Olympia is the second ship of the Navy to be named after Olympia, Washington. Olympia is the 29th ship of the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarines. The submarine is 362-feet long, displaces 6,900 tons and can be armed with sophisticated Mark-48 torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Navy Submarine USS Olympia Returns to Pearl Harbor

Friends and families of the crew from USS Olympia (SSN 717) gathered at the submarine piers to welcome back the Los Angeles-class submarine as she returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after completing a seven-month deployment to the Western Pacific region, March 4.

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (March 4, 2013) The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Olympia (SSN 717) approaches the pier at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam as she returns from a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. Attack submarines are designed to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; project power ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and Special Operation Forces; carry out Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions; support battle group operations, and engage in mine warfare. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Steven Khor/Released)

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (March 4, 2013) The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Olympia (SSN 717) approaches the pier at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam as she returns from a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. Attack submarines are designed to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; project power ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and Special Operation Forces; carry out Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions; support battle group operations, and engage in mine warfare. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Steven Khor/Released)

“Olympia accomplished national tasking, theater tasking, and security cooperation events throughout the 7th Fleet area, and enhanced continued relations with our allies overseas,” said Cmdr. Michael J. Boone, Olympia’s commanding officer.

Boone said the submarine crew worked around the clock applying months of preparations and workups into mission accomplishment. The range of the missions offered a broad aspect for training and development, creating experienced Sailors across all mission areas.

“The hard work and determination from the crew of Olympia these past seven months developed a camaraderie that is second to none. We are returning to Pearl Harbor as a more experienced and capable unit,” said Boone.

During the deployment, two officers and 21 enlisted Sailors earned their designation as qualified in submarines and now wear their dolphin warfare insignia.

Boone added the crew was able to get time off to experience the diverse cultures in Yokosuka, Japan; Subic Bay, Philippines; Guam, and Singapore. While in a few of these foreign ports, foreign dignitaries and ambassadors toured the submarine.

When the deployment was finally complete, the crew came home to a waiting crowd of smiling family and friends at the pier.

“I am estatic, it’s been such a long time! The best thing is just to hold my husband and have him home.” said Beecee Hall, an Olympia spouse.

USS Olympia is the second ship named after Olympia, Wash. Commissioned Nov. 17, 1984, Olympia is the 29th ship of the Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarines. The submarine is 362-feet long, displaces 6,900 tons and can be armed with sophisticated Mark-48 torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles.