The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Providence (SSN 719) makes its way up the Thames River on March 19 to Naval Submarine Base New London following a seven-month deployment. (John Narewski / Navy)
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NEW LONDON, Conn. — The Providence returned to the Navy base in Groton following a deployment that was extended to seven months after commanders asked the submarine to stay out longer than planned.
Navy leaders have said deployments that typically last six months could be extended more often as the size of the attack submarine fleet continues to shrink.
The commanding officer of the Providence, Navy Cmdr. Michael Quan, told The Day of New London that the submarine answered the call from the operational commander at the U.S. Central Command to extend the deployment.
“There’s a natural disappointment because you expect to be back on a certain date, but the crew understands this is our job. This is what we do,” he said.
The submarine returned Tuesday to Naval Submarine Base New London after traveling more than 38,000 nautical miles. It stopped in Israel, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Spain.
Michael Phillips, the submarine’s hospital corpsman, was among crew members meeting their babies for the first time when the sailors were reunited with their families. His daughter, Lacey Marie, is 3½ months old. Philips said the deployment seemed never-ending at times.
“But I’ll never forget it,” he said, “because little Lacey is here, and she’s happy to see her dad.”
Quan received a letter from Providence Mayor Angel Taveras congratulating the crew on a successful deployment.