Liberty Port vs. Home Port
Navy NewsStand has two stories about submarines pulling into port last Friday-- USS Columbia (SSN 771) returning home to Pearl Harbor after a WestPac, and USS Norfolk (SSN 714) pulling into Jebel Ali, UAE. The sub returning home to Pearl got a visit from Mrs. Hawaii... the boat in Jebel Ali gets to experience the "pleasures" of The Sandbox (photo from this site):
When I was in the Gulf in 2000 (aboard USS John C. Stennis) the subs with our Battle Group actually got to pull straight into Dubai while the carrier and cruisers got stuck in Jebel Ali. I'm assuming that having the subs go to Jebel Ali (about a 40 minute taxi ride from Dubai) now is for force protection more than anything else.Although any Sailor will tell you that any liberty port is a good port, and the UAE is better than Bahrain, I'm sure the men of USS Norfolk would much rather be in the same situation as the Columbia Sailors. Here's to their safe return home.