USS Washington completes first deployment

The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Washington (SSN 787) returns to Naval Station Norfolk after its maiden deployment, Feb. 11, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alfred A. Coffield)

The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Washington (SSN 787) returned from its maiden deployment to its homeport at Naval Station Norfolk, Feb. 11.

Under the command of Capt. Gabriel Cavazos, Washington returns from a deployment to the U.S. European Command area of responsibility where it executed the chief of naval operations’ maritime strategy by supporting national security interests and maritime security operations.

“I could not be more proud of what my team has accomplished,” said Cavazos. “This team has given their all throughout our workups and execution to be ready to accomplish the ship’s maiden deployment. They faced adversity together by creating innovative solutions and had an incredibly successful deployment.”

Washington arrived at Naval Station Norfolk to the greeting of more than 500 friends and family members who showed their support with cheers and handmade welcome home signs.

Sonar Technician (Submarine) 1st Class Jason Beyers, assigned to USS Washington, was overjoyed to see his family after completing what will likely be his last deployment before retiring.

“It’s a little different returning from this deployment,” said Beyers. “This was my last after 20 years of service. Coming home this time has a different feel, and I cannot wait to spend more time with my wife and kids.”

Mariah Beyers, the wife of Jason Beyers, took a few long moments to hug her husband upon his return.

“It’s really exciting to have Jason come home and see the kids,” she said. “It’s been a long journey, and we couldn’t be happier to have him back.”

During the deployment, Washington steamed approximately 45,000 nautical miles with the crew supporting diplomatic relationships by conducting port visits in Rota, Spain and Faslane, Scotland.

29 enlisted Sailors and three officers earned their submarine warfare qualification, known as “dolphins,” while two enlisted Sailors advanced to the next paygrade and 12 reenlisted.

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.

The Virginia-class submarine is 377 feet long and 34 feet wide, and weighs about 7,900 tons when submerged. Underwater, it can reach speeds in excess of 25 knots.

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