Hawaii-based USS Buffalo moving to Guam
The Navy has assigned a third Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered submarine to Guam, that territory’s lone congressional delegate stated Monday.
Currently assigned to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the USS Buffalo is expected to arrive on Guam in September 2006, according to a news release posted on Rep. Madeleine Z. Bordallo’s official Web site, www.house.gov/bordallo. Its crew of 14 officers and 129 enlisted sailors and their families would join the USS City of Corpus Christi and the USS Houston on Guam.
The Buffalo is to replace the USS San Francisco, which was reassigned to Bremerton, Wash., this summer.
The San Francisco is in Bremerton to undergo long-term repair of damage it sustained in January. One sailor died and dozens were injured when the submarine collided with an undersea mountain while en route to Brisbane, Australia.
Navy officials would not confirm Bordallo’s announcement.
“Our previously stated goal of maintaining three SSNs (fast attack submarines) homeported on Guam has not changed; however we have no specific plans to announce at this time,” Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Davis, spokesman for Pacific Submarine Force at Pearl Harbor, stated in an e-mail.
Naval Base Guam Public affairs officials couldn’t be reached Thursday for comment.
“The assignment of the USS Buffalo to Guam reflects the Navy’s continued recognition of Guam’s strategic location and importance in the Pacific,” Bordallo was quoted in the news release. “Upon arrival, the USS Buffalo will become an important part of our island’s increasingly central role in U.S. national security efforts in the Pacific. I look forward to welcoming the sailors and families of the Buffalo’s crew when they join our community.”
Named after the city of Buffalo, N.Y., and commissioned in May 1982, the submarine has been home-ported in Pearl Harbor since 1984.
“Guam continues to be well-positioned to host an increased military presence including air, land and sea forces,” Bordallo was quoted in the news release as saying. “The upcoming release of the Quadrennial Defense Review is expected to lead to additional forces coming to Guam, some of which will complement the new Marine presence planned for our island.”
The congressionally mandated review, to determine the U.S. defense strategy, includes examinations of defense strategy, force structure, modernization plans and infrastructure.