Nuclear sub bound for GuamUSS Buffalo will replace USS San Francisco
By Steve Limtiaco
Pacific Daily News
Originally Published September 25, 2006
The nuclear submarine USS Buffalo, which will replace the damaged USS San Francisco as the third submarine homeported on Guam, is scheduled to come here next spring, according to local Navy spokesman Lt. Donnell Evans.
Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo's office last November announced that the Los Angeles-class submarine was expected to be here by this month.
Evans on Friday said April 1, 2007, has been slated as the official date for the USS Buffalo to call Guam home, but said the submarine itself likely will not arrive here until after that date. The Buffalo, which has been homeported at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, since 1984, has a crew of 143, and will join the USS City of Corpus Christi and the USS Houston here. The USS San Francisco left Guam after it was damaged when it crashed into an undersea mountain in January 2005.
The House Armed Services Committee earlier this year received a report prepared by the Congressional Research Service, which states that homeporting eight submarines on Guam, in addition to the submarines already here, could reduce the need for submarines because Guam is a more efficient location.
The report, prepared by defense specialist Ronald O'Rourke, and presented to the committee on March 28, 2006, draws much of its information from earlier congressional and Navy studies.
According to the report, the Navy determined that a single submarine based on Guam is worth about 2.3 submarines based in Hawaii or San Diego, in terms of the amount of time it would be able to operate.
"Guam-homeported attack submarines can generate significantly more days on station in Pacific Fleet attack submarine operating areas than can attack submarines homeported in the other two locations," the report states.
And Guam-based submarines could operate even longer, the report states, if submarines were manned in shifts, with three crews for every two submarines.
According to Pacific Daily News files, the Navy intends to shift 60 percent of its submarine fleet to the Pacific Ocean by 2010.
The United States hopes to keep a robust military presence in a region that is home to a growing share of the world's trade and to potential security flashpoints on the Korean peninsula and Taiwan.