American west coast sailors enjoy an Australian west coast welcome

Published on USN Lt. j.g. Justin Lemon (author), LEUT Kara Wansbury (author), ABIS Julianne Cropley (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Stirling

Unites States Navy Prospective Commanding Officers' Course, visit HMAS Rankin, whilst alongside Fleet Base West. (photo: ABIS Julianne Cropley)
Unites States Navy Prospective Commanding Officers' Course, visit HMAS Rankin, whilst alongside Fleet Base West.

A chance to work with Australian submariners and enjoy West Australian beaches during their down time has brought the Los Angeles class fast-attack submarine USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) to HMAS Stirling.
 
The US West coast based Albuquerque is undertaking her final deployment before being decommissioned.
 
“With a crew of approximately 140 Sailors, Albuquerque will conduct a multitude of missions and showcase the latest capabilities of the U.S. submarine fleet,” said the boat's Commanding Officer Commander Trent Heslink.
 
“Our presence in the region signifies the continued strong relationship between the United States and Australia. US submariners dream of visiting Western Australia for its great people, weather, and hospitality,” Commander Heslink said.
 
For most of the crew members, this is their first time visiting Australia, a reason for much excitement said Fire Control Technician 2nd Class Joseph Milani.
 
“Australia has been fascinating to me since I was a child. Having common founding roots, along with a plethora of amazing wildlife, it’s exciting and new to someone who grew up in a rural area of the Midwest,” he said.

Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine, USS Albuquerque (SSN 706), and Collins-class submarine HMAS Rankin, in the waters off Rottnest Island, Western Australia.

Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine, USS Albuquerque (SSN 706), and Collins-class submarine HMAS Rankin, in the waters off Rottnest Island, Western Australia.


Despite the thousands of miles that normally separate the two navies a long standing friendship continues to be forged says HMAS Stirling Commanding Officer, Captain Angela Bond.
 
“Although geographically different, with Albuquerque being a land locked city in New Mexico and Fleet Base West located on Garden Island, the comradeship that joins the two Navies couldn't be closer.
 
I'm positive the host boat, HMAS Rankin, will ensure the crew enjoy their stay in Western Australia as well as reinforce the strong working relationship between the two Navies,” Captain Bond said.  
 
Albuquerque is the second United States warship to be named after the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was launched on March 13, 1982, and commissioned on May 21, 1983. Albuquerque is the nineteenth ship in its class and is homeported in San Diego, California.
 
Although over 30 years old, Albuquerque remains one of the most technologically advanced submarines in the world.  She measures more than 360 feet in length, displaces over 6,100 tons when submerged, and is capable of supporting a variety of missions to include anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, land attack strike, reconnaissance, and mine warfare.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20150583.