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Electronics Tech 2nd Class Richard Hubbs, 3rd,  of Gloucester City, recently returned to his home port after participating in Ice Exercise 2009. Hubbs is assigned to the Fast Attack Nuclear-powered Submarine USS Annapolis which left Groton Submarine Base in Connecticut on March 2 and rendezvoused north of Alaska with the USS Helena, home ported in San Diego. The Annapolis broke through three feet of Arctic ice on March 21. While there Hubbs was able to call home from the North Pole.

Chief of Naval Operation Adm. Gary Roughhead paid a visit, along with some lawmakers; the Director of Naval Reactors, Admiral Donald Kirkland; and the Secretary of Energy, Dr. Chu. Operational challenges range from temperatures below minus 55 degrees Celsius, to vast, uninhabited expanses, to months-long darkness. Recent attention on the Arctic has covered climatic changes, natural resources, sovereignty claims and new shipping lanes. Nuclear-powered submarines, inherently self-sufficient, suffer least in the northern extremes.

In the tradition of the U.S. Navy, Petty Officer Hubbs earned a “Blue Nose” certificate for crossing the Arctic Circle. Previously he earned an “Emerald Shellback” certificate for crossing the Equator and the Prime Meridian while on deployment off the coast of Africa.

reprinted from the Gloucester City News

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