More On The USS Virginia Deployment
Earlier, I mentioned the USS Virginia (SSN-774) had deployed much earlier in their post-commissioning cycle than normal. We now learn more about the "deployment" from Bob Hamilton of The New London Day (who, along with Christopher Drew at the NYT, is a submarine military writer who makes it worth your while to get the annoying free registration required to read their work after a day or so -- a longer lasting version of the article can be found here, second article down). Here's some of what the article has to say:
"Following the official designation, the first of the Virginia-class submarines slipped away from its pier at the Naval Submarine Base Sept. 12 on its initial classified mission, at least 18 months ahead of schedule, and years earlier than the last first-of-a-class submarine in the Navy fleet. It is being billed as a “short” deployment — how much less than the standard six months, and exactly where the Virginia will operate and what it will do, the Navy isn't saying...
"...Virginia's deployment to the U.S. Southern Command less than a year after it was commissioned, he [RADM Mark Kenny, CSG-2] said, is the result of a dire need for submarine surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. The idea for an early deployment was broached in April, and quickly developed momentum...
"...Although the officers can't comment on what Virginia might do during its deployment, the Navy is paying increasing attention to drug trafficking in the Southern Command territory, which covers Central America south of Mexico, and all of South America."
So, it looks like the mission the Virginia is doing isn't really a full-blown deployment, but rather one of those "special" missions, one that all you attack submarine guys know what they're doing. The Navy considers any underway where the ship is away from homeport for more than 56 days to be a "deployment" (about a third of the way down in this link); this is different than the 30 day criteria for the crew to receive "Family Separation Allowance" (or, as it's more commonly known, "Lack of P*ssy Pay"). So, expect the Virginia to be gone for two months or so, since they obviously aren't doing the only "real" deployment we do to SOUTHCOM, that being the annual UNITAS run.
One interesting flare-up from this deployment that I expect to see on the moonbattier side of the 'net is discussion of this deployment to Southern Command so soon after whackjob Venezuelan Maximum Leader Hugo Chavez said that he has seen plans for a U.S. invasion of his country. Expect to see hysterical rants from various "anti-war" activists about how the U.S. is sending its "most advanced weapon" to Venezuela. I can hardly wait.
One more quote from the Hamilton article kind of grabbed my attention:
"Rear Adm. Mark W. Kenny, commander of Submarine Group Two in Groton, noted that Virginia's early deployment upholds the tradition of the ship's namesake, the ironclad CSS Virginia, which was commissioned in February 1862 and went to war just a few weeks later."
Now, I know that the Civil War has been over for seven score years, but I still feel uncomfortable with the tendency to count Confederate military operations as part of U.S. military tradition. Yes, CSS Virginia went to war straight out of the yards, but her mission was to sink U.S. warships, which she did very successfully, before USS Monitor arrived.
Anyway, good luck to the crew of USS Virginia, and I hope you bring home one of these.