BREMERTON’s schedule hasn’t let up since my last entry. As the summer wound down, our deployment preparation ramped up. We spent a significant portion of August and September out to sea, making our in-port time both limited and valuable. But despite all the churn at sea and ashore, my Sailors displayed a work ethic that was nothing short of admirable in their drive to make sure the “American Classic” was ready for its final trip into the depths of the Pacific.
Although it’s been almost four months since we deployed, the farewell BBQ on the pier seems like yesterday. I could tell some of the goodbyes were hard, but as we made our way past buoys ‘one’ and ‘two’ outbound, it was finally our time to do what we had been working towards over the past 15 months.
It was almost two months before BREMERTON returned to the surface again from the depths of the briny blue. We pulled into Guam for a much needed voyage repair, and the Sailors once again showed unbelievable determination in their ability to get the boat back underway in such a short amount of time. After a little stint back at sea, we made our way north to Yokosuka, Japan for Christmas – the one place that the crew was excited to get to after missing out on the opportunity to stop there during the 2016 deployment. For me, it was my fifth Christmas in Yokosuka, for the majority of my crew, it was the first time they set eyes on Mt. Fuji or “walked” through the ‘Honch’ in person.
BREMERTON celebrated the halfway point of deployment on 11 January 2018, and we were fortunate enough that our schedule permitted some of the more ‘traditional’ festivities to include ‘corn-on-the-COB’ and ‘pie-in-the-eye’. The entire crew got a laugh at LT Clark’s bald head after his lovely locks were shaved off by the high bidder, earning the MWR a whopping $800.
In January, the “American Classic” was recognized by COMSUBRON ONE for its engineering excellence with the Engineering “E”; recognition that was well deserved. From preservation to training and qualifications; my Engineering team puts in 100% every day. It’s impressive to me that the most “classic” boat in the fleet only seems to improve in material readiness regardless of time at sea.
We have now been away from family and friends just shy of four months, but there is no quit in my Sailors’ eyes. They’re determined to finish the mission. They’re determined to get home safely. And they’re determined to return BREMERTON to its namesake city after nearly four full decades of proud Naval service.
Steady as she goes…
USS BREMERTON (SSN-698)
Si vis pacem, para bellum