Story by PO1 STEVEN HOSKINS on 09/13/2019GROTON, Conn. -- More than 500 loved ones gathered at Naval Submarine Base New London on Thursday, Sep. 12, to greet the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Toledo (SSN 769) after returning from a deployment.
Under Cmdr. Philip Castellano, Toledo executed the chief of naval operation's maritime strategy by completing missions vital to supporting national security interests and maritime security operations.
"I feel a tremendous sense of pride with what the crew was able to accomplish in the past few months," said Castellano. "They overcame several obstacles to achieve zero mission days lost."
Castellano added that the cooperation between his crew and the crews of other submarine commands helped prepare Toledo during the pre-deployment process.
"It takes a special group of people to deploy a submarine," said Castellano. "It takes an incredible group of leaders, technicians, operators and supporting personnel to accomplish what Toledo achieved during this 2019 Deployment. This crew is a special one."
Family members traveled from around the country to witness their Sailors return home. The parents of Information System Technician (Submarine) Richard Dekubber traveled from Michigan to see their son return from his first deployment.
Machinist's Mate (Weapons) 2nd Class Jose Diaz was greeted by his wife and seven-month old son, who was born on Valentine's Day, two weeks before the ship departed.
"It feels really good to be back," said Diaz as he embraced his son in his arms. "When I held my son, he looked completely different."
While on deployment, 33 enlisted Sailors and four officers earned their qualification in submarine warfare, 18 Sailors were advanced to the next paygrade, four crew members re-enlisted and two officers screened for executive officer and the rank of commander.
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.
Toledo was commissioned Feb. 24, 1995, and is the third U.S. warship named after the northwestern Ohio city. It is 377 feet long and holds a crew of approximately 147, consisting of 18 officers and 129 enlisted Sailors.