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Saturday, February 24, 2001

Sub squadron reactivated

USS Frank Cable new flagship

By Jose Cepeda III
Pacific Daily News; jcepeda@guampdn.com


Sunlight reflected off the silver hull of the USS Frank Cable as Navy personnel and island leaders gathered on the submarine tender's main deck for the reactivation ceremony of Commander Submarine Squadron 15.

Capt. Dick Corpus assumed command of the squadron, which was previously active on Guam 20 years ago. The squadron will provide maintenance and support for submarines deployed in the Pacific region and three nuclear-powered, fast-attack submarines coming to Guam.

Guests at yesterday's ceremony also toured the visiting nuclear submarine USS Honolulu.

Two submarines -- USS San Francisco and USS City of Corpus Christi -- will be moved to Guam next year.

Corpus, a Naval officer for 24 years, said his duties will be difficult, but is excited to be on Guam.

'Permanent fixture'

"It is a very important position, and a difficult one," Corpus said. "But we will try to get the submarine families and crew out here expeditiously, and hopefully will be a permanent fixture on Guam."

The squadron was active on Guam from 1964 to 1981, in which 23 submarines were under the command of the squadron. The squadron was established in 1963 to provide support for Polaris ballistic missile submarines operating in the Pacific Ocean.

The reactivation of the squadron and the arrival of submarines next year means an economic boost for Guam's economy.

Corpus said he estimates between 1,400 to 1,700 Navy personnel and their families will arrive on Guam by September 2002. Corpus' staff of four officers and 16 enlisted personnel will have an estimated total annual salary of $1.1 million.

Flagship

The USS Frank Cable, which has been stationed on Guam since 1996, will be the new flagship for the squadron.

Commissioned in 1980, the submarine tender and crew of nearly 1,200 officers and enlisted personnel will provide maintenance, repair parts and provide supplies for submarines deployed here. It is the only submarine tender operating in the region, and is only one of two submarine maintenance ships active today. The other submarine tender is based in the Atlantic Ocean, according to the Navy.