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USS John Warner Returns Home for Thanksgiving
by Holly Carey, SUBLANT Public Affiars
26 November 2020
NORFOLK, Va. --
The Virginia-class attack submarine USS John Warner (SSN 785) returned to its homeport at Naval Station Norfolk from deployment, Nov. 25, just in time for Thanksgiving.
Under the command of Cmdr. William Wiley, John Warner returns from a deployment where it executed the chief of naval operations' maritime strategy by supporting national security interests and maritime security operations.
“The U.S. Navy and Submarine Force will always remain ready to answer the nation’s call regardless of what is occurring around the world or at home,” Wiley said. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m sure our competitors watched to see if the challenges affected our local and deployed operations. Conducting the deployment under these circumstances shows that Sailors will find a way to operate our great warships forward deployed, around the world, wherever our nation’s leadership needs us.”
John Warner returns to Norfolk with a highly skilled crew, all of whom are qualified in Submarines.
“Nearly a fifth of the crew has run through the gauntlet of the Navy’s toughest qualifications to ensure that we’re able to combat the ship in the event any casualty occurs, regardless of the ship’s location or tactical posture,” said Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) First Class Flor Rodriguez. “I’m truly honored to be a part of each Sailor’s journey by being the Ship’s Qualification Coordinator in these efforts.”
Alyssa Rodriguez, the wife of Flor Rodriguez, is happy to have her husband home from his six-month deployment.
“The last six months have been filled with completely uncharted waters in the world, and in our family,” she said. “Knowing homecoming was always just beyond, and constantly a day closer than it was the day prior, is what kept me going in these very uncertain times. Having Flor home for the holidays, to be a part of the memories and photographs we will look back on, means 2020 will end on a high note for our family."
Flor Rodriguez was overjoyed to see his family waiting for him at the pier.
“I’m beyond words at how proud and fortunate I am to have my beautiful wife, Alyssa, for being the pillar our family has depended on during this COVID-19 pandemic while I’ve been away,” he said. “I’m sure our two sons are ready for their dad to enter the fray just in time for Thanksgiving.”
During the deployment, John Warner steamed approximately 36,000 nautical miles and conducted port visits in Rota, Spain and Faslane, Scotland. The crew kept morale high with game tournaments, weekly movie nights and triathlons aboard the boat.
Twenty-one enlisted Sailors and eight officers earned their submarine warfare qualification, known as "dolphins," while four officers promoted, 22 enlisted Sailors advanced to the next paygrade and 16 reenlisted.
“It is rewarding to see a crew rally around the common goal of having a successful deployment and watching them individually dedicate themselves to pursue excellence on a daily basis,” Wiley said.
Fast-attack submarines are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence. They are designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare, strike warfare, special operations, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, irregular warfare and mine warfare. Fast-attack submarines project power ashore with special operations forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or preparation of regional crises.
USS John Warner is the 12th Virginia-class attack submarine and first ship to bear the name of Senator, John Warner. The submarine was built by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation, Groton, Conn., and commissioned Aug. 1, 2015. The 377-foot ship has a current crew compliment of 15 officers and 117 enlisted Sailors and displaces more than 7,800 tons of water.
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