Lt. Shanna Gainer, Kitsap Sun
7 July 2015
The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN 727) arrived at Yokosuka, Japan, July 6, to perform a change of command and for a visit as part of its deployment to the Western Pacific.
With a crew of approximately 165, Michigan will conduct a multitude of missions and showcase the latest capabilities of the submarine fleet.
"It is a unique opportunity to do a change of command in Japan, but in many ways it is absolutely fitting that we should," said Capt. Erik Burian, Michigan's Blue crew commanding officer. "We are operating forward, we are co-located with our operational commander, and we are continuing to build strategic relationships with our Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force partners. It all fits and is exactly where we should be. And it is a well-deserved liberty port for a crew that has worked as hard as any I've ever served with to keep our remarkable warship deployed to the Western Pacific for nearly two years."
USS Michigan is one of four Ohio-class guided-missile submarines. The Navy's guided-missile submarines provide unprecedented strike and special operation mission capabilities from a stealthy, clandestine platform. Armed with up to 154 tactical missiles and equipped with superior communications capabilities, guided-missile submarines are capable of launching missile strikes and supporting Special Operations Forces missions.
Measuring more than 560 feet long and weighing more than 18,000 tons when submerged, Michigan is one of the largest submarines in the world.
"Our crew worked tirelessly these last months and we are excited for the opportunity to enjoy some time off. I'm positive that our sailors will have a great time experiencing the culture in beautiful Japan," said Michigan's Chief of the Boat, Master Chief Machinist's Mate Jason Puckett.
For many of the crew members, this is their first visit to Yokosuka.
"I am very excited to visit a country with such a strong cultural background. It is a great opportunity to learn about Japanese history and cultural identity, as well as a chance to take in the beautiful landscape," said Lt. j.g. Tina Nelloms.
Michigan is homeported in Bremerton and forward deployed from Guam.