The U.S. Navy decommissioned its Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Dallas (SSN 700) during a ceremony in the controlled industrial area (CIA) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) in Bremerton, Washington on April 4, 2018.
The decommissioning ceremony, a time-honored naval tradition, retires a ship from service through a variety of ceremonial observances, including the department heads’ final reports, the lowering of the ship’s commissioning pennant, and Sailors walking off the ship for the final time. The ceremony is held to honor the ship and all the Sailors who have honorably served as the crew.
Cmdr. Brian Freck, deputy commodore, Submarine Squadron 19, was the guest speaker for the decommissioning and he put into context the famous ship’s place in history during her 38 years of service.
“We are here to say farewell to a work horse in the defense of our nation, USS Dallas,” said Freck. “To this day, Dallas is still the most famous submarine in the U.S. Navy, because she was the star of the best-selling novel, ‘The Hunt for Red October’. Although many of the real stories remain classified, there are other great stories, which she starred in, that are actually true. I can say that she superbly conducted countless missions of vital importance to the United States and our allies.”
Decommissioning a submarine is a major undertaking that relies on teamwork. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance facility led the team.
“Professional warfighters come together with a huge organization of exceptional technical expertise and capabilities to shut down, dismantle and render safe all the systems and equipment which gave that vessel its lethality,” said Cmdr. David Kaiser, Dallas’ final commanding officer. “We built a critical, questioning, proactive team that has met or exceeded all expectations.”
The Navy is committed to preserving the readiness of the forces deploying. As the aging Los Angeles-class boats are stricken from the Naval Vessel Registry, the way is made for newer, more advanced submarines.
“Today, we have reached that point in the inactivation where the benefit of retaining the active duty Dallas Sailors no longer justifies the cost and burden on the operational fleet from where we came,” said Kaiser. “Today marks the end of ship’s force involvement. It is time for us, the crew, to return to the fleet as the Dallas legacy in order to help ensure that our submarine force is ready to be first in harm’s way.”
Dallas carried out missions vital to national security, deployed 14 times, steamed over one million miles and visited over 30 countries. Dallas completed their most recent deployment November 22, 2016. During their final extended 7-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet Areas of Operation, the submarine traveled 37,000 nautical miles and made port calls to Brest, France, Al Hidd, Bahrain, and Duqm, Oman.
Dallas was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for Dallas, Texas. The keel was laid by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics in Groton, Conn., October 9, 1976. The boat was launched April 28, 1979, and commissioned July 18, 1981.
Dallas received two Meritorious Unit Commendations, two Navy Unit Commendations and was awarded the Battle Efficiency “E” in 1986, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1999, 2000 and 2013.
Measuring more than 360 feet long and displacing more than 6,900 tons, Dallas had a crew of approximately 140 Sailors. Dallas was capable of supporting various missions, including anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface ship warfare (ASuW), strike warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR).
Lt. Cmdr. Michael L. Smith