USS West Virginia (SSBN-736) conducted a scheduled port visit at U.S. Navy Support Facility (NSF) Diego Garcia, October 25-31, 2022. The visit, part of West Virginia’s sustained deterrence operations in the United States Central Command and Indo-Pacific Command areas of responsibility, emphasizes the unmatched capabilities of a ballistic missile submarine to deter and, if necessary, respond from anywhere on the globe. Each installation member gained a renewed sense of purpose and pride knowing that their support helped such a strategic asset of the U.S. Navy. The security and safety of everyone involved was enforced through a joint effort between Security Forces assigned to NSF Diego Garcia, Marines assigned to FASTPAC, and U.S. Navy Divers assigned to the submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39), illustrating the strength of support through interoperability.
“NSF Security, Harbor Patrol Units, and Military Working Dogs all worked collectively with the United States Marine Corps Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team Pacific (FASTPAC) to provide a critical defense-in-depth security posture for the West Virginia. The opportunity to work closely with Port Operations, Public Works Department, and members of Pacific Fleet has definitely reinforced our Sailors’ sense of purpose, resulting in the successful completion of the mission,” said Ens. Nicholas D. Sjogren, security officer of NSF Diego Garcia. “.”
“NSF Diego Garcia capitalized on an opportunity to showcase its capability and capacity in supporting West Virginia’s port visit and crew swap. Every person on the island contributed to the evolutions, providing both Blue and Gold crews a chance to rest and recover both before and after their lengthy at sea periods,” said Capt. John F. Wilson, commanding officer of NSF Diego Garcia.
West Virginia is one of six ballistic-missile submarines stationed at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, and can carry up to 20 submarine–launched ballistic missiles with multiple warheads. USS West Virginia (SSBN-736) is a United States Navy Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine. She has been in commission since 1990. She is the third U.S. Navy ship to be named for West Virginia, the 35th state, and the 11th of 18 Ohio-class submarines. The contract to build West Virginia was awarded to the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut, on 21 November 1983 and her keel was laid down there on 24 December 1987. She was launched at Electric Boat in Groton Connecticut on 14 October 1989, sponsored by Mrs. Erma Byrd, wife of United States Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, and commissioned on 20 October 1990, in the dry-dock of the Kings Bay Georgia Submarine Base.
NSF Diego Garcia’s mission is to provide critical support to U.S. and allied forces forward deployed to the Indian Ocean, while supporting multi-theater forces operating in the CENTCOM, AFRICOM, EUCOM, and PACOM areas of responsibilities in support of overseas contingency operations. Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia is a British Ministry of Defence facility leased to the United States Navy, located on the atoll Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. Camp Thunder Cove is part of the facility, and is operated by the United States Armed Forces and British Armed Forces. Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia provides Base Operating Services to tenant commands located on the island. The command’s mission is “To provide logistic support to operational forces forward deployed to the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf AORs in support of national policy objectives.”