Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye, Lt. Gov. James Aiona, and Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Gary Roughead joined past and current crew members of USS Honolulu (SSN 718) to bid farewell to the nuclear-powered attack submarine at a ceremony April 15, at Naval Station Pearl Harbor.
Keynote speaker, U.S. 7th Fleet Commander
Vice Adm. Jonathan Greenert, who commanded Honolulu from 1991 to 1993, said the submarine performed exceptionally well throughout its career.
“She was consistently the most reliable ship in the squadron, whatever squadron she was in," he said. "Her complex systems always worked well…even the anchor on this ship always worked.”
Inouye said Honolulu, and all other Los Angeles-class submarines, have served the Navy in a variety of roles.
“These submarines constituted the front lines during the Cold War," he said. "Today, they continue to operate...putting SEALs (Sea, Air, Land) ashore, collecting intelligence, and taking care of our strike forces.”
“USS Honolulu demonstrates how important Pearl Harbor is and how important the submarines are and how much we rely upon them,” Inouye added.
Praising the efforts of her crew that have served for more than 20 years, Aiona cited the submarine Honolulu as a valuable asset to the community and the country.
“For the past two decades, this nuclear-powered attack submarine has proudly served our nation and her namesake city Honolulu," he said. "The state of Hawaii is indeed honored to have had the prestigious USS Honolulu at Pearl Harbor.”
As Honolulu’s final operational commanding officer, Russ said the crew have enjoyed serving aboard the namesake city submarine, and are ready to put the submarine through its paces.
“Although we are sad to say goodbye to the best homeport in the Navy, a place that has been a warm and welcoming home for crew members and their families for nearly two decades, we are excited about our upcoming deployment,” said Russ.
Russ added that he and his submariners are looking forward to going to sea aboard Honolulu.
“It’s a chance to put into practice the skills we have spent our careers mastering, and the teamwork we have spent the last few months honing,” Russ said.
USS Honolulu, which has served as Honolulu’s namesake for the last two decades, is scheduled to depart for its final deployment to the Western Pacific in early May.
Following the deployment, it will return directly to Bremerton, Wash., to begin inactivation.
Sidney Quintal, director of Enterprise Services for the City & County of Honolulu, presented a proclamation on behalf of Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who was out of the country. Hannemann visited Honolulu March 29 to bid his farewell.
The submarine Honolulu has been homeported at Pearl Harbor for most of her operational life. After her commissioning in 1985, she moved to Hawaii to join the Pacific Fleet in September 1986. She has completed nine deployments to the Western Pacific, participated in Operation Enduring Freedom and conducted operations under the Arctic ice.
The submarine has received an impressive array of awards, including six Battle ‘E’s. USS Honolulu is the third ship named
in honor of the city of Honolulu.
By Chief Journalist (SW/AW) David Rush, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs