KINGS BAY, Ga. - USS West Virginia (SSBN 736) returned to its home port at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay after undergoing a 30-month refueling and overhaul (ROH) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
The goal of the ROH was to make sure the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine can perform its critical global nuclear deterrent missions. According to the U.S Navy Submarine Group Ten, the reactor found in Navy nuclear-powered ships typically uses up its nuclear fuel about halfway through the desired 50-year lifespan.
At the same time a ship is refueled, an overhaul is performed to provide extensive maintenance and renovation to extend the ship's service life. "This Engineered Refueling Overhaul involved a lot of planning as well as emergent work," said Norfolk Naval Shipyard Project Superintendent Jack Harris. "Our project team had to overcome a lot of challenges and we were able to do so due to our planning, teamwork and working with an extraordinary ships force crew complement. Like with any availability, ship's company can make all the difference in the world."
According to Cmdr. Adam Palmer, commanding officer of USS West Virginia, the combined crew and shipyard team did an outstanding job in getting the ship back to service, and back home to Kings Bay. "When you think that the submarine hull still had holes in it less than a year ago, it is a remarkable testament to the technical prowess and determination of both shipyard and crew that we were able to put the ship to sea with such spectacular success. No less remarkable was pulling into Kings Bay on a beautiful November day with temperatures in the mid-70s and families on the pier!"
The USS West Virginia (SSBN 736) returned to port Nov. 3, 2013.