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Sailors Utilize Every Inch Of Space Aboard Key West
by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Kelsey Hockenberger
 March 28, 2020

Sailors from the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Key West (SSN 722) prepared for their next mission in January 2020 by transferring supplies on the pier at Naval Base Guam.

The supply transfer consisted of food that will sustain over 150 Sailors for three meals a day lasting over 90 days in the ocean depths.

January 3, 2020 - Sailors pass a box of food down a hatch during an onload of provisions aboard the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Key West (SSN 722). Key West is one of four forward-deployed submarines assigned to Commander, Submarine Squadron Fifteen out of Polaris Point, Guam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kelsey J. Hockenberger)
January 3, 2020 - Sailors pass a box of food down a hatch during an onload of provisions aboard the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Key West (SSN 722). Key West is one of four forward-deployed submarines assigned to Commander, Submarine Squadron Fifteen out of Polaris Point, Guam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kelsey J. Hockenberger)

“Planning for this evolution is extremely important to the mission and readiness of our submarines,” said Lt. Cmdr. Dave Dyal, the Submarine Squadron Fifteen supply officer. “This is what gives us the ability to create a self-sustaining submarine that will navigate the depths of the ocean without the need to surface.”

Months ahead of a deployment or underway, the ship’s culinary specialists plan how to feed the entire crew.

“To sustain the crew of a submarine with the intent of rarely surfacing, we need to coordinate every meal, snack and drink that each Sailor will consume,” said Chief Culinary Specialist (Submarine) Donta Allen, from Mobile, Ala. “We don’t have the luxury of a replenishment-at-sea to receive more goods, so we have to plan and coordinate what meals we will make and how we can store them in such a small place.”

No nook or cranny is left open on the submarine. The chefs aboard the submarine utilize almost every space on the boat to store the food.

January 3, 2020 - Culinary Specialist (Submarine) 1st Class Samuel Lewis stores food in the dry storage compartment during an onload of provisions aboard the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Key West (SSN 722). Key West is one of four forward-deployed submarines assigned to Commander, Submarine Squadron Fifteen out of Polaris Point, Guam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kelsey J. Hockenberger)
January 3, 2020 - Culinary Specialist (Submarine) 1st Class Samuel Lewis stores food in the dry storage compartment during an onload of provisions aboard the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Key West (SSN 722). Key West is one of four forward-deployed submarines assigned to Commander, Submarine Squadron Fifteen out of Polaris Point, Guam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kelsey J. Hockenberger)

“If parts aren’t going in the space, then the food is,” said Culinary Specialist (Submarine) 1st Class Samuel Lewis, from Beaufort, N.C., assigned to the Key West. “We hang bags of food in the engine room to storing our shortening in the sonar spaces. It’s all about utilizing every space on a submarine”

During a course of a two day loadout, thousands of pounds of food and supplies will make its way aboard the submarine.

“This evolution takes hours and hours of getting the food from the pier to the boat and from the box to its storage area,” said Allen. “After it’s loaded onto the boat, we inventory our supplies once biweekly to ensure we are always on schedule to continue our operations at sea.”

Key West is one of four Los Angeles-class fast attack submarines assigned to CSS-15, which is located at Polaris Point, Naval Base Guam in Apra Harbor, Guam. The squadron staff is responsible for providing training, material and personnel readiness support to these commands.

Also based out of Naval Base Guam are submarine tenders USS Frank Cable (AS 40) and USS Emory S. Land (AS 39). The submarines and tenders are maintained as part of the U.S. Navy's only forward-deployed submarine force and are readily capable of meeting global operational requirements.

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