The Meritorious Unit Commendation was awarded to the Navy’s 14 ballistic-missile submarines assigned to the Pacific-based Task Force 134 and the Atlantic-based Task Force 144 on the 52nd anniversary of the Navy’s first submerged ballistic missile launch. The award is in recognition of their excellence in strategic deterrence.
Task Force 134 consists of USS Henry M. Jackson (SSBN 730), USS Alabama (SSBN 731), USS Nevada (SSBN 733), USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735), USS Kentucky (SSBN 737), USS Nebraska (SSBN 739), USS Maine (SSBN 741) and USS Louisiana (SSBN 743), and Submarine Group 9, Submarine Squadron 17 and NSSC Bangor.
Task Force 144 is made up of USS Alaska (SSBN 732), USS Tennessee (SSBN 734), USS West Virginia (SSBN 736), USS Maryland (SSBN 738), USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740) and USS Wyoming (SSBN 742), and Submarine Group 10, Submarine Squadron 20 and NSSC Kings Bay.
The commendation was for the period from July 16, 2007, to January 28, 2011. Submarines assigned to Task Force 134 and Task Force 144 conducted 119 deterrent patrols.
Vice Adm. John Richardson, commander of Submarine Forces, shared: “On July 20, 1960, the commanding officer of USS George Washington transmitted his message to President Dwight Eisenhower, ‘POLARIS – FROM OUT OF THE DEEP TO TARGET. PERFECT’. In many ways, ‘perfection’ is exactly what we still expect from our Strategic Deterrent Submarine Force, even 52 years later. The performance of our people and systems in the SSBN force has delivered what we asked of them: stability and peace.”
He added: “At this very moment, they remain submerged and undetected; ready for the call that they hope will never come. In fact it’s that readiness – the combination of stealth, skill, vigilance and passion – that has allowed us to sustain a secure and survivable posture that minimizes the possibility that any power will seriously threaten our homeland. It’s very fitting that we recognize their efforts with this award.”
Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, said in the award citation: “The Task Forces provided an essential leg to our nation’s strategic triad and were a key element of our deterrent mission. The deterrence mission executed by Task Force 134 and 144 during this period underpinned Department of Defense strategy and provided the backbone and foundation for our political leadership in execution of national security policy.”