SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The crew of the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) held an inactivation ceremony Oct. 16, at Naval Base Point Loma, celebrating the boat's 32-plus years service.
The occasion marked the submarine's final public event before its scheduled transit later this month to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington, to begin inactivation process and eventual decommissioning.
Hundreds of supporters and former crew members attended the ceremony to reunite with old shipmates and bid the submarine farewell.
Cmdr. Donald Tenney, Albuquerque's 14th and final commanding officer, attributed the submarine's successful career to its many crews.
"Navy ships have soul and character that remain with them from the beginning to the end of their service," Tenney said. "That character is embodied in the crew of the ship and although commanding officers set the tone for the crew, the character of the ship endures beyond the tenure of the individual commanding officers."
Tenney then recognized the plankowners--the original crew--in attendance by asking them to stand, followed by all previous crew members and lastly by all crew members' families.
Also in attendance was Nancy Domenici, the ship's sponsor, and her husband, former Senator Pete Domenici (R-N.M.). Tenney presented Nancy with flowers as appreciation for her role as the ship's sponsor.
"A little over 33 years ago, you launched the ship with these words: 'I christen thee Albuquerque. May God bless her and all who sail in her,'" Tenney said to Nancy. "That prayer has definitely been answered as providence has smiled on this ship and her crew as she has sailed the oceans of the world doing the bidding of our nation in war and peace."
Rear Adm. Stuart Munsch, Albuquerque's ninth commanding officer and current senior military assistant to the deputy secretary of defense, was the guest speaker.
"Submarining is hard work no matter what, so if you are going to do it you might as well be successful so that you can experience the reward of your labor," he said. "Looking back on the past 33 years of Albuquerque, I think we-crews, families, supporting commands, and namesake city supporters-can look at each other with 'silent service' pride and say, 'we got it right.'"
Michael Riyordan, City of Albuquerque's chief operating officer, represented Mayor Richard Berry and read a mayoral proclamation declaring Oct. 16, 2015, as "USS Albuquerque Day."
The ceremony concluded with the lowering of the national ensign and the hauling down of the commissioning pennant along with a symbolic securing of the watch.
Albuquerque recently completed its final deployment before returning to its homeport of Naval Base Point Loma Aug. 21. A week later, Tenney became the submarine's 14th and final commanding officer during a change of command ceremony Aug. 28.
The ship is the second United States warship to be named after Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was constructed at Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton, Connecticut, launched March 13, 1982, and commissioned May 21, 1983. Albuquerque is the 19th submarine of its class.
Since its commissioning, Albuquerque deployed 19 times. The submarine steamed more than 500,000 miles and visited nearly 20 countries. Albuquerque was also one of the first nuclear submarines to experience combat, gaining the moniker of "Sure Shooter of the Submarine Force."
Measuring more than 360 feet long and displacing more than 6,900 tons, Albuquerque has a crew of approximately 140 Sailors. Albuquerque is capable of supporting various missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
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