Damaged Submarine USS Connecticut Has Left San Diego On Its Voyage Home (Updated)
The submarine is making its way back to its home in Washington State after slamming into a seamount in the South China Sea months ago.
The Seawolf class nuclear fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut has had one heck of past few months. She was stuck in Guam for two months after slamming into a seamount in the South China Sea before she could head back to the Continental United States for what will be a very extensive set of repairs. The secret 6,000-plus-mile journey from Guam to San Diego was likely a very unpleasant one for her crew, and even her unannounced arrival in San Diego seemed like more of a diversion than a final destination. The Navy had said that the stricken sub would return to her homeport in Bremerton, Washington, for repairs. Now it appears she is headed on the final leg of her journey out of San Diego and up to the Pacific Northwest.
Our friend and prolific naval ship movements tracker @warshipcam posted video shot from San Diego Webcam this afternoon showing the bow-less Connecticut heading out to sea. She had only been in San Diego for just over three days, arriving on the morning of Sunday, December 12th. At the time, we noted that the destroyer USS Mustin (DDG-89) seemed to have escorted her across the Pacific, providing basic safety and force protection for the submarine. Now there is more evidence that this was indeed the case, as that destroyer left San Diego with Connecticut this afternoon.
The video of Connecticut's departure also gives us our best look at her and the damage to her bow so far:
The Navy has offered no details about Connecticut's special voyage. Instead, they have simply clarified that she did arrive in San Diego and that she was in sound condition after her Pacific crossing.
It still is not clear exactly why she ended up in San Diego first instead of going straight to Washington State. It seems most likely that a powerful weather system that pounded California with moisture was the main reason for its diversion. A planned stop there is also possible, which may have been a result of routing closer to other contingency ports, such as Pearl Harbor, but it is farther from Guam to San Diego than it is to Washington.
We will continue to keep you up to date on what will be a long and challenging process of getting Connecticut back into an operational state once again. Hopefully, we will find out much more about her journey home once she arrives in Bremerton.
The clip below shows just how wild of a ride it is on the surface for Connecticut. Veteran Submariner Aaron Amick detailed this in a recent Q&A we did with him about the submarine 6,000+ mile, weeks-long journey across the Pacific. Imagine doing this for nearly three weeks? Also, this is in relatively calm seas, not the open ocean. I also received some correspondence regarding how much worse this would be without a streamlined bow, as is the configuration of SSN-22 since its mishap.
A huge thanks to the submariners who pulled off this transit!
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com