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US Navy inactivates Los Angeles sub USS Pittsburgh after 35 years of service

USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720) en route to decommissioning site. Photo: US Navy

After completing an Arctic transit from Groton to Bremerton, the crew of the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720) held an inactivation ceremony to celebrate the boat’s 35 years of service at the US Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport, Washington.

The January 17 occasion marked the crew’s final public event before the submarine is officially decommissioned in the controlled industrial area at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington.

Inactivation is the process in which a submarine will be de-fueled, with the hull retained in safe storage until decommissioning, when the boat is then taken out of active service and the crew is reassigned to another ship or command.

Crew members, Navy League members and supporters, past and present, were on hand to bid farewell to the boat. Dr. Carol H. Sawyer, a professor of organizational leadership at University of La Verne, California, spoke fondly of what it has meant to her to have been the Pittsburgh’s sponsor and a part of the Pittsburgh family since the ship’s commissioning, Dec. 8, 1984.

The ceremony concluded with the lowering of the national ensign, a symbolic securing of the watch and remarks from the 14th and current USS Pittsburgh Commanding Officer Jason Deichler, who himself is a native of Pittsburgh.

“The essential inside of the submarine is gone. But what remains are the stories, the memories and moments… that’s where the Pittsburgh will eternally reside.” said Deichler. “I consider myself truly blessed to close the final chapter and draft those final memories on board the Pittsburgh.”

Pittsburgh completed their last deployment Feb. 25, 2019. Then the boat and her crew made their first arctic transit for a final homeport change from Groton, Connecticut, to Bremerton, arriving May 28, 2019 to commence the inactivation and decommissioning process.

Pittsburgh is the fourth US Navy vessel to be named for the city of Pittsburgh.

Sailors assigned to the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720) waive their Pittsburgh Steelers terrible towels in honor of the boat at an inactivation ceremony at the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport, Washington, Jan. 17. Photo: US Navy