USS Philadelphia 'Finishes Strong' Following 33-Year Service
by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steven Myers, Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs

GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- The Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Philadelphia (SSN 690) was decommissioned June 25 during a ceremony at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn.

The decommissioning ceremony marked Philadelphia's 33rd anniversary.

Philadelphia was commissioned and officially put into service June 25, 1977.

The ceremony's guest speaker, Rear Admiral Douglas J. McAneny, commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, was the seventh commanding officer of Philadelphia.

McAneny said he was honored to speak at the ceremony and to have the opportunity to have one last look at his old boat and eat one more meal in the wardroom.

"We gather today not only to recognize the important role played by the leaders, the crew members and the families," said McAneny. "But to say goodbye to our boat – USS Philadelphia."

In addition, McAneny asked those that have served aboard Philadelphia to remember the sacrifices they endured and the freedom they fought to defend.

"The soul of USS Philadelphia lives on forever in her crews," said McAneny.

Philadelphia has deployed to all regions of the globe in support of various operations vital to national security, including Desert Storm in 1991.

Cmdr. Dave Soldow, Philadelphia's final commanding officer, felt this ceremony marked a unique occasion.

"On one hand, it is truly heartwarming to see the enthusiastic support of the community for their Navy and the men who have volunteered to serve this great nation of ours," said Soldow. "On the other hand, it is indeed sad to take out of commission a warship that has so boldly and so proudly served the American people for all these years."

Soldow also said that the warship is much more than technology and steel.

"These men who stand before you today, and those seated throughout the audience who came before them represent some of the greatest American's to ever serve this nation of ours," said Soldow.

The contract to build Philadelphia was awarded to Electric Boat Division at the General Dynamics Corporation in Groton Jan. 8, 1971. Philadelphia's keel was laid Aug. 12, 1972, and was launched Oct. 19, 1974.

Philadelphia completed her final deployment in February 2010, conducting operations in the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility.

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