by Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg
With cheers from family and friends rocking the piers in New London, the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Toledo (SSN 769) returned home to the Naval Submarine Base on October 12, following a nearly seven-month deployment.
When the ship left March 23, USS Toledo deployed to the European Command Area of Responsibility to supporting national security interests and maritime security operations.
“Your crew demonstrated outstanding determination, agility, and resiliency. Furthermore, Toledo‘s unflinching ability to respond to emergent tasking was the true test of a well-prepared high-performance warship, you set the example for the fleet,” said Vice Adm. Michael Connor, commander, Submarine Forces Atlantic in a naval message praising USS Toledo for its achievements. “A grateful nation is thankful for the sacrifices made by the crew and families of Toledo.”
Cmdr. Sam Geiger, the submarine’s commanding officer, reflected on successfully returning one day prior to the Navy’s 237th birthday.
“Returning a day prior to the Navy’s birthday is a wonderful way to celebrate and recognize the Navy’s sustained commitment to our nation’s defense,” said Geiger. “Naval Submarine Base New London is filled with fellow submariners who all understand and have accomplished real-world operations like we did aboard USS Toledo. I could not be prouder of my sailors’ performance.”
Geiger also added that while deployed his sailors performed superbly. “The crew performed as I expected them to, superbly. All submariners learn early on to rely on each other and my sailors did just that every day,” said Geiger, who was looking forward to his crew having some well-deserved time off. “We have been home for a total of five days in the past eight months—and nothing is like being home.”
Family members have looked forward to the return.
“We are all so happy to have our sailors on the USS Toledo home safe. While they were far from our arms during this deployment they were never far from our hearts and our prayers. We are very proud of the entire crew on the job that they have done and will continue to do for our country,” said Priscilla Picerno, ombudsman for the vessel.
Some sailors were selected to be first in line to greet their family members. Chief Electronics Technician (SS) Daryl Escano greeted his five-year old son, Daniel; while Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class (SS) Matthew Anderson greeted his fiancee, Hallie Kay.
“He just turned five and doesn’t realize how special his task was,” said Sharon Escano. “When I found out that my son was selected I was overjoyed for him to have this unique opportunity to greet his father.”
During the deployment a total of five babies were born. Two recent arrivals will greet their fathers for the first time. Logistics Specialist 1st Class (SS) Daniel Edwards greeted his son Jaxson, and Chief Machinist’s Mate (SS) Robert Ekwall greeted his son Keegan.
USS Toledo, commissioned Feb. 24, 1995, is the second U.S. warship named for the people of the northwestern Ohio city. The first was a Baltimore-class heavy cruiser. Submarine Toledo has a complement of 139 officers and enlisted crew.
For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit: www.navy.mil/local/Subgru2/.
For more photos, visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/comsubgru2/sets/72157631753897712/.