The crew of the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Dallas (SSN 700) held an inactivation ceremony, Dec. 5, at Naval Kitsap-Bangor, celebrating the boat’s 36 years of service.
The occasion marked the crew’s final public event before the submarine is officially decommissioned in the controlled industrial area (CIA) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) in Bremerton, Washington.
“Today we celebrate the numerous accomplishments of this fine ship and the crews who sailed her, the outstanding efforts of both the crew and the shipyard over the inactivation, as well as our close association with both the great city of Bremerton and the boat’s namesake, Dallas, Texas,” said Dallas’ Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Todd Bowers.
Many supporters, Dallas Navy League members, and former crew members attended the ceremony to reunite with old shipmates and bid the submarine farewell. Also in attendance was Mr. John Hayes, who represented the City of Dallas, and Texas Congressman Kenny Marchant.
“The boat and her crew, through their years of dedicated service, have lived up to the USS Dallas’ motto, ‘First in Harm’s Way,’ and I know that the crew of USS Dallas will continue to hunt for excellence throughout their lives,” said Hayes. “I am honored to recognize the USS Dallas and the incredible men and women who served as her crew.”
When a commissioned U.S. Navy ship is decommissioned, it is taken out of active service and the crew is reassigned to another ship or command. Inactivation is the process in which the submarine will be de-fueled, with the hull retained in safe storage until decommissioning.
“We anticipate that sometime in early April 2018, behind the layered security of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard’s Controlled Industrial Area and with little fanfare, a small fraction of the crew and a handful of shipyard personnel shall observe the final striking of the commissioning pennant and hauling down of the ensign, following which Dallas will be officially decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Registry,” said Cmdr. David Kaiser, Dallas’ final commanding officer. “Today’s ceremony is our opportunity to bring together current and former crewmembers and families, our adoptive families from Dallas, Texas, members of our project team, and a number of our brothers and sisters in our profession of arms to remember and to truly appreciate the sacrifices of the crew and their families. This is a chance to finally say goodbye to Dallas.”
Capt. Robert Jezek, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet Puget Sound Naval Shipyard representative was the guest speaker for the event.
“The decommissioning of Dallas marks the end for this amazing submarine that has served our country for more than 36 years,” said Jezek. “When commissioned on July 18, 1981, Dallas was hailed as the cutting edge of the nation’s defense system. For all these years Dallas carried out missions vital to national security, deployed 14 times, steamed [more than] one million miles, visited [more than] 30 countries, starred in one blockbuster movie, and has been considered home for hundreds of Sailors over the years, some of which are in the audience today.”
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.
“Today I am truly humbled to have had the opportunity to lead these fine men and to be part of the family and history of such a fine warship,” said Kaiser. “Following 36 years of commissioned service, it is time to let this great lady rest. Today’s ceremony does not mark the death of a vessel; rather it symbolizes a transition which occurs in the life of every warship. The transition where her legacy shifts away from the individual ship accomplishments and now to the Sailors and families which carry all that they’ve learned and all they’ve experienced.”
Dallas completed their most recent deployment on Nov. 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 departed Groton, Connecticut for Bremerton, Washington on March 24, 2017. During their transit, Dallas transited the Panama Canal and conducted port calls in Port Canaveral, Florida and San Diego. They arrived at PSNS, May 22.
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, Connecticut on Oct. 9, 1976. The boat was launched April 28, 1979, and commissioned July 18, 1981.
Dallas has received two Meritorious Unit Commendations, two Navy Unit Commendations and has been awarded the Battle Efficiency “E” for 1986, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1999, 2000 and 2013.
Dallas was featured prominently in the Tom Clancy novel, “The Hunt for Red October,” and its film adaptation. However, instead of filming on Dallas, they used the recently decommissioned Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Houston (SSN 713) as the primary boat.
Measuring more than 360 feet long and displacing more than 6,900 tons, Dallas has a crew of approximately 140 Sailors. Dallas is capable of supporting various missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.