BREMERTON, Wash. — The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Pittsburgh (SSN-720) arrived on May 28 at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton, Washington, to start the inactivation and decommissioning process, commander, Submarine Group 9 said in a release.
Under the command of Cmdr. Jason Deichler, a Pittsburgh native, the submarine departed Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut, and made its first arctic transit for its final homeport change.
“We are the first second flight 688 to complete an arctic transit from Groton to Bremerton for an inactivation,” Deichler said. “It was an amazing transit, one that it unique to submarines. There aren’t too many people in the history of the world, let alone the submarine force, let alone the Navy, that have done that transit under the ice.”
Pittsburgh completed its most recent deployment Feb. 25, 2019. During the deployment, the boat and her crew steamed more than 39,000 nautical miles and conducted three foreign port visits.
“All I heard from the crew during the transit was ‘this is the last,’” Deichler said. “This is the last meal; this is the last time we are going to eat Pittsburgh steak on Pittsburgh; this is the last turn; this is the last shut down. So, the pride that they have in the ship is amazing, the best I have ever seen on any ship I have ever served.”
The submarine’s ability to support a multitude of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare, surveillance and reconnaissance, made Pittsburgh one of the most capable submarines in the world.
“It is a bittersweet feeling to be the last operational commanding officer of Pittsburgh,” Deichler said. “I am a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, so the boat has a special meaning to me. It is bittersweet to see Pittsburgh come for a final mooring here in Bremerton, but I know it will help the Navy in her future mission as we bring more Virginia-class submarines out online and we get our technology upgraded.”
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.
“The 35 years of USS Pittsburgh has been an amazing 35 years,” Deichler said. “We have been involved in two Tomahawk strike exercises and a multitude of missions vital to national security. What I really hope that the public remembers of our ship and our crew is the hard working men and women that helped build the submarine, utilizing materials from Pittsburgh, companies from Pittsburgh, and the support I got from the citizens of Pittsburgh; and then the crew itself, as they supported the ship and conducted operations over these 35 years.”
Commissioned Nov. 23, 1985, Pittsburgh is the fourth U.S. Navy vessel to be named for the city of Pittsburgh. The boat’s mission is to seek out and destroy enemy ships and submarines and to protect U.S. national interests. At 360-feet-long and 6,900 tons, Pittsburgh can be armed with sophisticated Mk48 advanced-capability torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles.