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Three Bangor-based submarines receive Battle ‘E’ award

By RACHEL BRANT

Staff writer

The crews of three Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor submarines and one submarine tender homeported in Bremerton have a new ribbon to add to their uniforms.

Ballistic missile submarines USS Louisiana and USS Maine as well as the USS Jimmy Carter, a fast attack special operations submarine, learned earlier this year they won the prestigious Battle Efficiency award for 2007.

“It really shows the hard work that has gone into the submarines and their crews,” said Lt. Kyle Raines, Submarine Group Nine spokesman.

Commander Submarine Force and Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet announced the winners of the annual award Jan. 1. The Battle “E” is awarded to ships that “demonstrate a maximum condition of readiness for their class and for their capability to perform wartime responsibilities,” according to a report on the U.S. Navy Web site, www.navy.mil.

“There’s a lot of different criteria we have that goes into the award,” Raines said.

The submarines and crews were judged on various categories including medical readiness, weapons readiness, supply readiness, deck seamanship, damage control, communications, navigation, tactical operations and engineering in 2007.

“All of these are evaluated throughout the year,” Raines said. “Portions of it are done in port and portions are done at sea.”

USS Emory S. Land, the submarine tender that recently moved from Italy to Naval Base Kitsap, received an award in a submarine force special category as well.

Bangor-based USS Kentucky and USS Nevada received the award in 2006, but Raines was uncertain whether or not the USS Louisiana, USS Maine or USS Jimmy Carter had received the Battle “E” in previous years.

“It is quite possible that units have received it in the past,” he said.

Rear Adm. Joe Walsh, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet submarine force, praised the winning submarine crews for their hard work and dedication, according to www.navy.mil.

“Each crew member of an award winner can be justifiably proud of their contribution to improve Pacific Submarine Force readiness,” Walsh stated.

Although all of the Bangor-based submarines do well, according to Raines, Submarine Group Nine is pleased the local Bangor-based submarines were recognized.

“We know that all of the submarines do an excellent job here on the waterfront but for these ships to be recognized, that is great,” he said.

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