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Two more subs coming to Kitsap in summer 2007
Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) will be welcoming two more Seawolf class submarines in the summer of 2007, completing a shift in military resources from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast.
The USS Seawolf and the USS Connecticut will arrive in July and August 2007 from New London, Conn., joining the USS Jimmy Carter on the peninsula. The Navy has not yet announced whether the pair will join the Carter in Bangor or the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in Bremerton, according to U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Belfair).
It is not clear whether they will ultimately be at Bremerton or the Trident base in Bangor. The Navy, for whatever reason, was not prepared yet to say, Dicks said in a press conference Monday at the Norm Dicks Government Center in Bremerton. Theres a lot of people that feel they should be in the shipyard. That would be my personal preference.
We were always told there wasnt enough room at Bangor. They are going to be repaired at the shipyard and thats the most important thing.
Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman echoed the sentiment that the submarines arrival was nothing but good news for the region.
Obviously, this is a huge economic impact, Bozeman said. This is a big day for Kitsap County, not just Bremerton.
The two subs will each bring a crew of 15 officers and 125 enlisted men. Dicks said in addition to the economic impact of the crew and their families, there is an great opportunity for the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
Were in the right location. People like to live here. These bases have tremendous value and theyre all ranked at the top. What the mayor and I are trying to do is make this a better place for the Navy ... and for people to live, he said. I think in the future this is good for us ... and it gives the shipyard workers additional skills.
The ships movement is part of an overall shift of military resources from the Atlantic to the Pacific to deal with the rising concern about China and North Korea, Dicks said. Three more attack submarines will be heading out west along with the Seawolf and Connecticut, two to San Diego and one to Honolulu, completing a Navy goal of having of 60 percent of its attack submarines in the Pacific theater.
It makes great sense to have all three of these Seawolf class subs in one place, Dicks said. From an overhaul and repair point of view, it did not make sense ... to have two of the (Seawolf class) subs on one coast and one on the other.