USS Memphis Sails for the Final Time into Retirement
Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Memphis (SSN 691) and her crew of 13 officers and 121 enlisted personnel arrived at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) in Maine April 7 to complete the process of being retired from the U.S. Navy fleet.
The journey to the shipyard began a day before, when Memphis departed Submarine Base New London for the final time. Before arriving at the shipyard, Memphis celebrated her proud 33-year history during a decommissioning ceremony the sub base’s Shepherd of the Sea chapel on April 1.
Next, Memphis will be dismantled. Once her power plant is emptied of fuel, the submarine is officially decommissioned and remaining crew is released for other assignments.
In her more than three decades of service, Memphis steamed more than 1.4 million miles, the equivalent of circumnavigating the globe nearly 60 times. She also won the coveted Battenberg Cup in 2005 as the best overall ship in the fleet. In addition, she received numerous modifications. She returned from a two-month deployment overseas supporting missions in the European Command area of responsibility on March 2.
“In less than a year from (now), Memphis Sailors will be serving on submarines and shore commands throughout the fleet,” Cmdr. Jeffrey Joseph, Memphis’ current commanding officer said during the decommissioning ceremony. “So, while it is hard to see such an accomplished ship head off to decommissioning, it is heartening to know that the fighting spirit of the Mighty Memphis will continue to contribute to the defense of our nation in every corner of the globe for many years to come, adding to an already significant legacy.”
Joseph grew up in Peoria, Ill., and St. Louis, Mo., earning his degree in Nuclear Engineering at the University of Illinois. He completed his division officer tour onboard USS Kamehameha (SSN 642) and served as Navigator and Operations Officer on USS Buffalo (SSN 715). He later served as Executive Officer onboard USS Louisville (SSN 724) and assumed command of Memphis in March 2011. He is a graduate of the Naval War College, and holds a graduate degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.
The Navy’s fourth Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered attack submarine and sixth U.S. Naval vessel to be named in honor of the city of Memphis, Tenn., Memphis was built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company.
Memphis’ host community is Kittery, Maine.
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