GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Memphis (SSN 691) returned to Naval Submarine Base New London March 2, completing her final overseas mission.
Next month, the Navy will hold a decommissioning ceremony for Memphis, which has been in service for more than 30 years, spanning six presidents. The ceremony is scheduled for April 1 at 1:00 p.m. at the submarine base.
When Memphis arrived, most crewmembers were wearing their service dress uniforms, but Chief Fire Control Technician Brian Paugh was dressed in a white jumpsuit with rhinestones, depicting music icon Elvis Presley.
"Since I love Elvis, and I love Johnny cash - both are from Memphis, Tenn. - I said, 'Sure. Why not? I'll do it,'" said Paugh.
Many crewmembers are remembering this final deployment with reverence.
"There've been lots of great chiefs who have come before me, who have served on Memphis," said Paugh. "I've met a lot of them over this past year with the boat decommissioning and everything. To be able to say I was one of the last chiefs in the chief's quarters is a great honor and a privilege."
Memphis, which departed Jan. 10, supported missions in the European Command area of responsibility.
"The deployment went excellent," said Capt. Carl Lahti, Memphis commanding officer. "The crew performed extremely well. We fulfilled all of our missions exactly as we were tasked overseas. I'm particularly proud of the crew and the effort they put in to get the 33-year old ship prepared. We are in excellent condition."
"Not sure if you guys realize it, but what you just pulled off here with this fairly short deployment overseas has accredited you rock star status in the submarine force," Capt. William Merz, commodore of Submarine Development Squadron 12 told the crew of Memphis. "While you were brilliantly completing your missions, you enabled a dozen other ships to better complete theirs."
Shortly after the homecoming, Capt. Carl Lahti turned over command of Memphis to Cmdr. Jeffery Joseph, who will lead the submarine through the decommissioning and inactivation process.
"It's a distinct honor to be the last commanding officer," said Joseph. "It is a unique responsibility because we are responsible for the legacy of the ship."
Previously, Joseph previously served as deputy commander of readiness for Submarine Squadron 3 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He was also executive officer of USS Louisville (SSN 724).
Commissioned Dec. 17, 1977, Memphis became an Atlantic Fleet operational asset as part of Submarine Squadron 8 in Norfolk, Va. in 1978. All current and former crew members, their families, and friends are cordially invited to attend activities connected to the historic decommissioning ceremony.
For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/Subgru2/.