Saturday, January 8, 2011

Maryland Blue Wraps Up 2010

KINGS BAY, Following an eventful year of improvements, awards and the boat's 57th deterrent patrol, the crew of USS Maryland (SSBN 738) (Blue) pauses to reflect on the accomplishments during 2010.
USS Maryland started the year with a flurry of upgrades during its dry dock period in January. The ballistic missile submarine received an improved radio room, more formally known as the Common Submarine Radio Room (CSRR), and the Submarine Local Area Network (SUBLAN).
"Maryland's flawless installation and System Operational Verification Testing (SOVT) of the CSRR and SUBLAN are a testament to the tenacity of the ship's crew as well as the diligence of the Trident Refit Facility personnel and positive subcontractor interaction," said Senior Chief Electronics Technician(SS) Brian K. Benson, USS Maryland (Blue) communications leading chief petty officer. "The addition of both systems aboard our boat helps to improve operational flexibility while ushering Maryland's communications and information dissemination programs into the 21st century."
The upgrades improved an already successful crew as Maryland once again proved why it is considered one of the best boats on the waterfront by winning its second consecutive Battle Efficiency award.

Despite the hectic schedule of a typical submariner, the crew also found time to help out in the community. Together with the gold crew and the Maryland's adopted school, Woodbine Elementary School, the Maryland team helped out by serving lunch, landscaping, tutoring, assisting with the school's field day and reinstating a program known as "Mariner of the Month."
"The Mariner of the Month program provides an opportunity for the command to give the students motivation to excel," said Chief Electronics Technician(SS) Dustin Reddy, USS Maryland (Blue) volunteer program coordinator. "We do this by showing them that their hard work is rewarded through personalized certificates from the command and awarded by Maryland Sailors."
Additionally, Maryland also extended its aid to Habitat for Humanity, giving support almost every weekend with several builds throughout the year.
"I just wanted to lend a hand, there's nothing to be gained by being a nice guy except the satisfaction of knowing that you helped someone who wouldn't otherwise have a house to live in," said Sonar Technician (Submarines) 3rd Class Thomas P. McKenna, USS Maryland (Blue) crew member and Habitat for Humanity volunteer.
Although in an extensive refit period, Maryland's crew showcased the submarine to the Defense Science Study Group Staff, a group of young science and engineering professionals, to strengthen the relationship between the submarine and the Defense Science Study Group.
"The crew of USS Maryland always enjoys showing the ship," said Lt. Cmdr. Matt Jeffery, USS Maryland (Blue)executive officer. "But this tour was exceptionally exciting based on the technical background of the Defense Science Study Group and the chance to share our ship in greater detail."
The group was the first of many VIP tours of Maryland, both in port and underway. The Fightin' Mary welcomed aboard a group of female midshipmen, the Women in Submarine Advisory Group and the Florida and Georgia Emergency Planning Group.
The group of eight female midshipmen were enthusiastic about the submarine embark and indoctrination. The crew provided a fully immersed orientation from bow to stern and included the midshipmen in various drills and watches.
During the patrol, USS Maryland (Blue) commanding officer, Cmdr. John Newton, pinned "dolphins," the informal nickname for Submarine Service Warfare qualifications, on 25 Sailors and four Officers. These pinning ceremonies qualified Maryland to fly the Gold and Silver pennant for Submarine Warfare Excellence.
The crew of Maryland (Blue) also made a spectacular turn around on advancements from the previous advancement cycle. This most recent advancement cycle, Maryland (Blue) advanced 31 Sailors, or 62 percent of all eligible Sailors advanced. This was 20 more advanced Sailors compared to the previous advancement cycle.
From January to December 2010, Maryland (Blue) traveled approximately 18,000 nautical miles and produced more than one million gallons of water while completing the ship's 57th deterrent patrol. The crew also successfully passed the Operational Reactor Safeguard Exam (ORSE), the Supply Management Inspection (SMI) and advanced nearly one in three shipmates to the next pay grade.
Through the accolades and triumphs, the Fightin' Mary Sailors never became complacent. In fact, quite the opposite was true, said the crew's commanding officer.
"The Sailors of our magnificent crew took every challenge thrown their way and handled it with initiative, professionalism, enthusiasm and excellence," Newton said.
USS Maryland, the fourth U.S. Navy ship to be named in honor of the Old Line State, is a virtually undetectable undersea launch platform for the Trident II D-5 submarine launched ballistic missile with the mission of strategic deterrence.
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