Sailors aboard Guam-based USS Oklahoma City receive Battle ‘E’ Award

Rear Adm. Blake Converse, Commander of Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, pins Machinists Mate (Nuclear) 2nd Class Stephen Sebastian, assigned to the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723), with his submarine warfare device during an awards ceremony on the pier. Oklahoma City is one of four forward-deployed submarines assigned to Commander, Submarine Squadron Fifteen out of Apra Harbor, Guam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kelsey J. Hockenberger)

The leadership and crew of the Los Angeles class fast-attack submarine, USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723) were presented with the Commander, Submarine Squadron Fifteen Battle “E” Award in a ceremony held at Naval Base Guam, Feb. 7.

Each year one submarine from each squadron is recognized and the Battle “E” is presented to the submarine crew that demonstrated the highest level of battle readiness during the evaluation year.

Rear Adm. Blake Converse, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, presented the crew with the award.

“USS Oklahoma City is an example of sustained, superior performance in core competencies and warfighting skills. They exemplify battle readiness,” said Converse. “Our nation expects a Navy that is ready to fight tonight – ready to conduct prompt and sustained combat operations at sea.”

The Battle “E” competition is conducted to strengthen individual command performance, overall force readiness and to recognize outstanding performance. The criterion for the award is the overall readiness of the command to carry out its assigned wartime tasks as a unit of the Pacific Submarine Force.

“This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the crew,” said Cmdr. Steven Lawrence, commanding officer of Oklahoma City. “They continue to excel by thoroughly preparing for all tasks, meticulously executing and then conducting thorough post-execution critiques to continue to improve. I am extremely proud that they continue to meet the high standard required of a submarine operating in the Indo-Pacific region.”

The Battle Efficiency competition evaluates submarines on their performance and readiness in the following fields: Engineering, Weapons, Strategic, Navigation/Operations, Communications/Cyber, Supply, Personnel, Medical, and Repair.

“We were selected for this award by excelling as a crew,” said Master Chief Machinist’s Mate (Auxiliary) Kevin Swanson, Oklahoma City’s chief of the boat. “I am extremely honored to be leading this group of Sailors. Each crew member was a key part in highlighting our hard work and ability to maintain mission readiness as a forward-deployed submarine in Guam.”

This is the second consecutive year that Oklahoma City has earned the award.

Oklahoma City 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 forward-deployed submarine force and are readily capable of meeting global operational requirements.