The nuclear-powered Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Louisville (SSN 724) arrived at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton to commence in the inactivation and decommissioning process.
The U.S. Navy has announced that Louisville conducted its final transit from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to Bremerton, Washington, for its final underway and homeport change. Commissioned in 1986, Louisville made naval history by firing the first submarine-launched Tomahawk cruise missile in war during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
Under the command of Cmdr. Robert Rose, from Garland, Utah, Louisville departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for a homeport change to Bremerton, Washington, Oct. 7.
“Louisville Sailors, past and present, are some of the finest in the world,” said Rose. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as a commanding officer on this fine ship. The crew’s ingenuity, hard work, and effort has been incredible through a Western Pacific deployment then shifting our focus to moving our families and submarine to Bremerton for decommissioning. I am beyond proud of this crew.”
The Navy has three classes of fast-attack submarines. Los Angeles-class submarines make up the majority of the submarine force, with nearly 40 in commission. As the Los Angeles-class reaches the end of their operational life, the Navy is slowly decommissioning the submarines to make room for the next generation of submarines, the Virginia-class. Currently, there are 16 active Virginia-class submarines, armed with several innovations that have significantly enhanced its warfighting capabilities. The third class of fast-attack submarines is the Seawolf-class. These faster and quieter submarines were developed towards the end of the Cold War with three currently in service.
“It was such an honor to be the last Louisville Sailor to get his dolphins in Pearl Harbor,” said Yeoman (Submarines) Seaman Rodrigo Merino, from Corona, New York. “This is such an incredible and capable submarine. She is old and she has done so much for our country, it is time to let her rest and make room for the newest class of submarine. I feel so honored to be part of the crew and this submarine’s history.”
During the inactivation process, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility will defuel the submarine, with the hull retained in safe storage until decommissioning.
“It is surreal to be part of Louisville’s final crew,” said Electrician’s Mate (Nuclear) 1st Class Joshua Walters, from Gainesville, Florida. “I joined the Navy for more opportunities and to do something with my life, and Louisville has allowed me to do that.”
The submarine’s ability to support a multitude of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare, surveillance and reconnaissance, made Louisville one of the most capable submarines in the world.
Commissioned Nov. 8, 1986, Louisville is the fourth United States ship to bear the name in honor of the city of Louisville, Kentucky. She is the 35th nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine of the Los Angeles-class design. She returned from her final deployment May 2, where is conducted operations vital to national security in the 5th and 7th fleet’s areas of operation.