Pearl Harbor to lose submarine to Guam
The Navy plans to move the USS Buffalo to Guam from Pearl Harbor to replace another nuclear-powered submarine, which struck an undersea mountain earlier this year.
Guam Congressional Delegate Madeleine Bordallo announced the decision on her Web site. She said the vessel would be home-ported at the western Pacific island starting next September.
The move would boost Guam's fleet of fast-attack submarines back up to three. In August the Navy shifted the USS San Francisco's home port to Bremerton, Wash., while the vessel is repaired at a shipyard there.
"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 said. "I look forward to welcoming the sailors and families of the Buffalo's crew when they join our community."
Mike Yuen, a spokesman for Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye, said the senator was aware the Buffalo would be going to Guam.
U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Jon Yoshishige said the Navy had "no specific plans to announce at this time," but he said the Navy's goal to maintain three attack submarines on Guam had not changed.
The San Francisco slammed into a mountain while submerged 525 feet below the ocean's surface on Jan. 8. One sailor, Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph A. Ashley, 24, of Akron, Ohio, suffered severe head injuries in the collision and died the next day. Another 97 sailors were injured.
Preliminary estimates said the submarine would cost $88 million to repair.
The Buffalo is host to 14 officers and 129 enlisted sailors. It is capable of carrying the MK-48 advanced-capability torpedo, the Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile and other weapons.
The USS Corpus Christi and the USS Houston submarines are also based in Guam, a U.S. territory about 3,700 miles southwest of Hawaii.
The Navy currently bases 17 submarines at Pearl Harbor.