PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- USS Los Angeles (SSN 688) departed Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Jan. 14, for her final voyage to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for inactivation.
Los Angeles has faithfully patrolled the world's oceans for 33 years, conducting all but one of her 18 deployments in the Pacific. She is the fourth naval ship to be named after the city of Los Angeles, and is the lead ship of her class. Her many capabilities include wartime functions of undersea warfare, surface warfare, strike warfare, mining operations, special forces delivery, reconnaissance, carrier battle group support and escort, and intelligence collection.
"Los Angeles has been on the Pearl Harbor waterfront for 32 years, and it is with some sadness that we are now making our final voyage," said Cmdr. Steven Harrison, commanding officer.
Launched on April 6, 1974, at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry-dock Company in Newport News, Va., Los Angeles was commissioned on Nov. 13, 1976. She hosted President Jimmy Carter and the First Lady on May 27, 1997, for an at-sea demonstration of the capabilities of the nation's newest fast-attack submarine. She then made her first operational deployment to the Mediterranean Sea in 1977 and was awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation.
In 1978, Los Angeles transferred to the Pacific Fleet and was assigned to Submarine Squadron 7, homeported in Pearl Harbor. The sub and her crew operated with distinction over the next 32 years, conducting 17 Pacific deployments. Along the way, Los Angeles earned eight Meritorious Unit Citations, a Navy Unit Citation, and the coveted Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Award, awarded to the Pacific Fleet's top warship.
Additionally, she was awarded her squadron's annual Battle Efficiency "E" for excellence in combat readiness eight times. Los Angeles participated in four multinational "Rim of the Pacific" or RIMPAC exercises, and visited numerous foreign ports in Italy, Republic of the Philippines, Diego Garcia, Hong Kong, Mauritius, Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Canada and Singapore.
The United States Navy is steeped in customs, courtesies and rituals. One of the least known among these is the guardianship of World War II (WWII)submarine Hero and Medal of Honor recipient Rear Admiral Richard H. "Dick" O'Kane's cribbage board, traditionally held by the oldest submarine in the Pacific Fleet.
USS Kamehameha (SSN 642) was the longest commissioned of the oldest submarines to safeguard the board. When Kamehameha was decommissioned in 2002 after nearly 37 years of service, the board was cleaned and restored and passed on to USS Parche (SSN 683). Parche was the namesake of one of the most highly decorated subs to serve in the Pacific Fleet during WWII. When Parche decommissioned in July 2005, the cribbage board was passed on to Los Angeles.
With the decommissioning of Los Angeles, the board is being passed on to the oldest remaining submarine, USS Bremerton (SSN 698).
"It is with great pride that I hand over the 'Dick O'Kane cribbage board' to Cmdr. Howard Warner, Commanding Officer of Bremerton," said Harrison. "I hope the crew of Bremerton enjoys re-living history playing this great game as much as we have."
Having outlived, outrun, and outclassed her competitors, Los Angeles set the mark for submarine design, maintenance and operations for decades to come. The Honorable Linda Lingle, Gov. of Hawaii and James Aiona Jr., Lieutenant Gov. therefore proclaimed Jan. 14, 2010, USS Los Angeles Day in dedication to her builders, the U.S. Navy, the Submarine Force, and the boat's crews, past and present, for their unfailing dedication to their shipmates, the Navy, our state and nation.
For more news from Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/subpac/.