Thursday, April 16 marked an important milestone for the Navy and especially the ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) force here in Kitsap County. After 40 months at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility for an engineered refueling overhaul, USS Kentucky completed sea trials and returned to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, which will be her home base as she completes the remaining steps to return to strategic service.
Completing weeklong post-overhaul sea trials is the first time the ship has been in “open water” since it entered the shipyard in January 2012. During the sea trials, the crew and a large contingent of civilians from the shipyard put the ship through its paces and tested systems to ensure they perform to standards.
USS Kentucky is one of eight Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines here in Bangor. Though the details of their mission are veiled in secrecy for many who live here, getting the ship back helps our nation’s defense by greatly enhancing the strategic deterrent capability that “Team Bangor” and the Navy provides.
The maintenance and modernization conducted during Kentucky’s overhaul enhance her longevity and availability for operations anywhere in the world. This success required a dedicated effort by every man and woman, military and civilian, who either worked onboard Kentucky or supported her overhaul.
We’ve met these goal thanks to the gracious support received from our families and the local community here in Kitsap County. Going forward, I know that the professional civilian and military workforce here in Kitsap County will continue to maintain our ships and get them back to sea as planned. This is especially critical as our Ohio-class SSBNs begin to pass their original 30 years of anticipated service, which has been extended to 42 years until the Ohio-class replacement SSBNs come on line.
Thank you Kentucky, PSNS & IMF, Kitsap County, and all those who support your sailors and ships.
Rear Adm. Dave Kriete, Commander, Submarine Group 9