By Lt. j.g. Samuel Theodoris, USS Oklahoma City Public Affairs
Royal Australian Navy sailors heave in a mooring line as USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723) arrives at HMAS Stirling during a previous visit in February. (RAN/LSIS Lee-Anne Cooper) >>
ROCKINGHAM, Western Australia - Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723) arrived at HMAS Stirling, March 7, for a visit as part of its Indo-Asia-Pacific deployment.
With a crew of approximately 150, Oklahoma City will conduct a multitude of missions and maintain proficiencies of the latest capabilities of the submarine fleet.
"Oklahoma City is honored to have the opportunity to come to Western Australia and participate in submarine exercises with such a strong ally like Australia," said Cmdr. Thomas O'Donnell, commanding officer. "The U.S. Navy and Submarine Force have an unwavering heritage with the Royal Australian Navy, and that spans decades. As part of the U.S. forward-deployed naval forces in the [Indo-Asia-Pacific region], Oklahoma City appreciates how vital the Royal Australian Navy presence and capabilities are to maintaining regional peace and stability on the high seas."
Measuring more than 360 feet long and weighing approximately 7,000 tons when submerged, Oklahoma City is one of the fastest and stealthiest submarines in the world and is capable of fulfilling a variety of missions.
"The Oklahoma City crew has accomplished a lot to get to this point," said Senior Chief Fire Control Technician Brandon Edmiston, chief of the boat. "Over the past few months, the amount of hard work and effort put into training and readiness is unbelievable. The crew has earned some much deserved time to enjoy some rest and relaxation on this port visit with our friends in Australia and the Royal Australian Navy."
For many of the crew members, this is their first time visiting Australia.
"I'm very excited about this port visit," said Sonar Technician (Submarine) Seaman Daniel Lewis. "This is a dream come true. In fact, I plan to move here after the Navy to attend college."
Oklahoma City is homeported in Agana, Guam. It is one of four submarines forward deployed to Guam and serving at the forefront of the nation's defense.