USS Pittsburgh

Attack submarine USS Pittsburgh starts decommissioning process after Arctic transit

The US Navy’s Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720) arrived at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton on May 28 to start her inactivation and decommissioning process.

USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720), arrives at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton to commence the inactivation and decommissioning process. Photo: US Navy

Under the command of Cmdr. Jason Deichler, 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,” said Deichler. “It was an amazing transit, one that is 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 their 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’,” said Deichler. “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.”

During the inactivation process, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility will de-fuel the submarine, with the hull retained in safe storage until decommissioning.

“The 35 years of USS Pittsburgh has been an amazing 35 years,” said Deichler. “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 US Navy vessel to be named for the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At 360-feet-long and 6,900 tons, Pittsburgh carried MK48 advanced capability torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles.