Vice Admiral William Merz, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Systems, was the guest speaker at the ceremony. Merz, who commanded Memphis from 2003 to 2006, described his crew as ordinary guys who did extraordinary things.
“My crew (USS Memphis) was an amazing bunch of ordinary submariners. I know a lot of people say that humbly, but I have documentation to prove it,” said Merz. “Working together that ordinary group quickly turned into extraordinary. We wanted to be the boat that you picked to do the hard missions. The boat that when you knew it had to get done, that Memphis would get it done.”
During the ceremony Master Chief Raidoman (Ret.) Ron O’Donnell, former Memphis crewmember, and Merz presented Cmdr. Leightom Pitre, commanding officer, and Master Chief Machinist Mate Cindy Huratiak, command master chief, of Submarine Learning Facility with Memphis’ shadow box.
“On behalf of all the officers and crew who served aboard USS Memphis, from 1977 to 2011, I would like to present this shadow box,” said O’Donnell.
Each hall of fame inductee’s shadow box is displayed in the Alcorn Auditorium, located inside Submarine Learning Facility, with a history plaque below it. The Alcorn Auditorium is used by today’s submarine crews and offers a visual display of their heritage.
“The submarines are the forefront. They are the ones that knock down the door and every day I am in the Pentagon I learn more and more the importance of this community,” said Merz. “This is a tremendous honor that you have bestowed on me, my ship and everyone who has served on USS Memphis.”
Memphis became the 20th submarine inducted into the Submarine Hall of Fame. Memphis, a Los Angeles-class submarine, was commissioned Dec. 17, 1977, redesignated an experimental submarine during 1989 to test composite hull structures, unmanned underwater vehicles, advanced sonars, hull friction reduction, and other advanced technologies for the Los Angeles and Seawolf classes. Memphis was decommissioned Apr. 1, 2011.