Former Pittsburgh Sailors Visit Naval Submarine Base New London
GROTON, Conn. – Twenty former USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720) Sailors walked across the boat’s brow and visited Naval Submarine Base New London to reminisce their time in the U.S. Navy, Sept. 30.
"USS Pittsburgh couldn't be happier to welcome aboard shipmates from the ship's honored past. Even though they have moved on to other duty stations or careers, they will always be part of the extended Pittsburgh family," said Cmdr. Michael Savageaux, commanding officer of USS Pittsburgh.
The Sailors, many who retired or left active duty in late 90’s participated in the first reunion aboard “the Heart of Steel.” Former Mess Specialist Michael John Dorety, who served aboard Pittsburgh in the late 90’s started planning for the reunion in 2010 and reflected on how the idea was first conceptualized.
“I was looking through my old pictures and the idea of reuniting many of the former crew members, who I really enjoyed serving together, was formed,” said Doherty. “Soon after, I started a Facebook page inviting crew members who served aboard the boat from 1996 – 1999. Almost a month later I had nearly 300 former Pittsburgh Sailors interacting on my reunion page.”
The former Pittsburgh Sailors participating in the first reunion have travelled from both coasts to participate in the reunion. While many of the former Sailors currently live in Connecticut, others have travelled from as far as Washington and Texas. Others are joining their former shipmates from Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Missouri, Louisiana and Pennsylvania.
“For many of us we haven’t seen the Naval Submarine Base or USS Pittsburgh for 20 years. We wanted to take this opportunity to reminisce about the days we served our country,” said Doherty.
Four of the former Pittsburgh Sailors were original plank owners and were witness to the boat’s commissioning in 1985.
USS Pittsburgh is the fourth American warship named for the city of Pittsburgh, Pa. The first was a Union gunboat during the Civil War while the next two were armored cruisers in the first and second World Wars.