Groton, Conn. (NNS) -- The Los Angeles class fast-attack submarine USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720) returned to Naval Submarine Base New London Feb. 4, after a regularly scheduled deployment.
Besides celebrating their homecoming, Sonar Technician (SS) Art Harley took the opportunity to celebrate the submarine's namesake city and its Super Bowl victory by waving a 59 x 30- inch "Terrible Towel."
Harley, a life-long Steelers fan, presented the idea for the giant "Terrible Towel" to the submarine's commanding officer, who approved it. Then the submariners went to work.
"There are a lot of Steelers fans on board. They built the "Terrible Towel" on board from yellow nylon," said Cmdr. Andrew Jarrett, commanding officer of USS Pittsburgh.
Harley, a native of Apollo, Pa., about 30 minutes outside of Pittsburgh, has been assigned to the steel city's namesake submarine for more than a year. He has been a Steelers fan since he can remember.
"I saw them through all seven Super Bowl appearances," said Harley. He didn't actually get to "see" the Steelers' 27-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII just yet, because his submarine was deployed, and it is not equipped with the system to watch TV. His wife and several other people recorded the game for him, and he'll be watching it on Friday.
A 22 1/2 year veteran of the Navy, Harley was "pretty impressed" when he was assigned to USS Pittsburgh. He called it a "perfect place to end his career" since he plans to retire soon.
As for the football season, Harley was "disappointed" he missed most of the games because he was out to sea, but he was "ecstatic" when he found out the Steelers would be in the Super Bowl.
Harley's blood runs black and gold: "Every port I pull into, I get my picture taken with my Terrible Towel."
Pittsburgh's crew acted as ambassadors for the United States Navy during port calls to Cape Verde and Tunisia. The submarine completed a wide range of joint requirements supporting national security in the U.S. Southern Command and European Command areas of responsibility.
Pittsburgh is the fourth American warship named for the city of Pittsburgh. The first was a Union gunboat during the Civil War while the next two were armored cruisers in the first and second World Wars.
Technology has dramatically changed the size and capabilities of Naval warships since the original Pittsburgh steamed the Mississippi in 1863. The mission of Pittsburgh (SSN 720), however, has not significantly changed: to protect the Naval interest of the United States of America.
For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/Subgru2/.