Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Goodby USS Los Angeles (SSN-688)

On January 23, 2011 The U.S. Navy held the public decommissioning ceremony for USS Los Angeles
(SSN-688) at the Port of Los Angeles. The first of the world's largest class of nuclear-powered
submarines. She was placed the special "in commission, in reserve" Los Angeles then traveld
to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.

On February 4, 2011 after 34 years in service, her commissioning pennant was hauled down and
 the last shipboard watch was secured. In attendance were her last commanding
officer Cmdr. Steven Harrison, Capt. Mark Whitney, commander of PSNS and IMF; and Capt.
Dan Prince, Chief of Staff for Submarine Group 9.

Commissioned Nov. 13, 1976 as the first of a new class of fast attack submarines, a total of 62
of this class were built between 1972 and 1966 making them the largest nuclear-powered
submarine class in the world.

Commander Harrison, in his closing remarks remembered the important role on the frontline
of defense that Los Angeles and other submarines of her class played during the Cold War.

"The ship served proudly, as well as all the other remaining ships of the class and contributed
to victory in the (Cold) War in ways the general public will never know about," said Harrison.

Among the many honors received during her three decades of service were a Navy Unit
Commendation, 7 Meritorious Unit Commendations, and 7 Battle Efficiency Awards.
During her 16 deployments she participated in 4 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercises.

She also play host to Adm. Hyman Rickover and President Jimmy Carter and his wife
Rosalynn for an at sea demonstration of the ships capabilities. It is noted that President
Carter was the only U.S. president that was qualified in submarines.

Capt. Whitney, taking final custody of Los Angeles promised that the Puget Sound
Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility would honor the ships history.

"The inactivation and retiring of ships is an important part of our business," said Whitney.
"But one of important elements we don't actually talk about an awful lot when we are
executing the work is one of the things we hold very sacred-that is, we will respect
and honor and we will preserve the legacy of your ship."

And so another piece of history, a brave fighting ship goes into retirement. All those who
served aboard Los Angeles will never forget her. It was their home away from home, and
as it is for all sailors; a time of friendships formed, long journeys at sea. Proud moments,
fond memories, and plenty of hard work.

Jerald Terwilliger
National Chairman
American Cold War Veterans
"We Remember"

---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996