USS Topeka hosts professional mixed martial arts athletes

Chief of the Boat Senior Chief Matthew Zwan, assigned to the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Topeka (SSN 754), from Garden Grove, Calif., explains the external components of the boat to Brandon Vera, an athlete with One Championship and former U.S. Air Force veteran, during a Morale, Welfare and Recreation tour. Topeka is one of four forward-deployed submarines assigned to Commander, Submarine Squadron Fifteen out of Polaris Point, Naval Base Guam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Destinyy Reed)

Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Topeka (SSN 754) hosted members of the One Championship mixed martial arts group at Naval Base Guam, Feb. 25.

The mixed martial artists, who came to Guam as part of a Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) tour, jumped at the opportunity to tour the submarine.

Chief of the boat Senior Chief Matthew Zwan, a native of Garden Grove, California, greeted the athletes upon their arrival and spoke to them about the importance of their visit to Topeka.

“I’m excited that USS Topeka had the opportunity to showcase a forward-deployed submarine to the group,” said Zwan. “Tours like this give our Sailors a chance to talk about their careers and lives as submariners to a group of individuals who they may not otherwise have a chance to interact with.”

Yeoman (Submarine) 1st Class Victor Vazquez, the leading Yeoman onboard Topeka, led the tour and discussed the capabilities of the submarine as they walked topside before heading into the submarine’s control room, living quarters, torpedo room, machinery room and mess decks.

“Being able to explain the different capabilities and readiness aspects of our submarines to the athletes was something I enjoyed,” said Vazquez. “I hope we were able to teach them something new about submarines that they can take with them in future endeavors.”

The athletes posed for photographs with members of the Topeka crew before leaving the pier.

“I am grateful for the time that we had to tour USS Topeka today,” said Brandon Vera, an athlete with One Championship and U.S. Air Force veteran. “Being able to see a submarine up close and personal was something I was will always remember and be thankful for. Getting a glimpse at the personal sacrifices our brothers and sisters have to make in service to our country is an amazing awakening.”

Topeka is assigned to Commander, Submarine Squadron Fifteen, which is located at Polaris Point, Naval Base Guam in Apra Harbor, Guam, and consists of four Los Angeles-class fast attack submarines. The CSS-15 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.

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(Information from a news release)