Home For Christmas
One thing I've noticed is that the Navy in general, and the Sub Force in particular, does pretty well is to get as many ships as possible home for Christmas. (The Sub Force also does a good job getting as many boats as possible into port for the Submarine Birthday Ball.) This year, USS Ohio (SSGN 726) returned from her 14+ month deployment (two crews) on Monday, and USS Providence (SSN 719) returned to Groton on Friday from a six month deployment that featured a trip to the North Pole to mark the 50th anniversary of the Nautilus' 1958 trans-Arctic journey. Here's a picture that shows a "visitor" they picked up at the Pole:
This story from The New London Day features a video of the homecoming:
My only Christmas homecoming on a submarine came not following a deployment, but following one of those "weekly ops" that turned into a three week cluster****. Here we were, onboard USS Topeka (SSN 754), in December 1991. We went out during the 2nd week of December to provide services for USS Chicago (SSN 721); this was to be our last underway prior to the Christmas stand-down. During the week, Chicago somehow turned her diesel into a seawater pump, so she wasn't going to be able to fulfill her obligation to head up to Nanoose for a Mk 50 OpEval. (Maybe Midwatch Cowboy will be able to fill us in with details from the Chicago's side.) The powers-that-be (correctly) decided that the Topeka would be a good stand-in, so we identified the people who were going on the first Christmas leave period and did a BSP at San Diego to drop them off; it was about a third of the crew. Due to various circumstances, we kept getting delayed from returning home, but when we finally got released, SUBPAC gave us the highest SOA I've ever seen to get home by December 23rd. (I ended up with duty that night, and that's how I came to finally believe in the concept of Decay Heat -- but that's a different story.)
Do any of you have any good stories about returning home in time for Christmas?
Update 1128 24 Dec: USS Boise (SSN 764) also got back from deployment just in time for Christmas. This story from The Virginian-Pilot has a video and some pictures of the homecoming.
Update 2141 24 Dec: Pictures of the return of USS Boise to Norfolk can be found on the official Navy website: here, here, here, and here.