Community Says Farewell to Namesake Submarine USS Honolulu
by Chief Petty Officer (SW / AW) David Rush, USN
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(above) Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann visited the Pearl Harbor-based Honolulu to bid farewell to the nuclear-powered attack submarine that has served as his city’s namesake for the last two decades.  Cmdr. John Russ, USS Honolulu’s commanding officer, exchanged gifts with the Mayor, who was given a tour of the control room, followed by lunch with the crew on the mess deck.

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Chief Petty Officer Brian Hircock and Petty Officer 1st Class Burnell Broussard of Honolulu’s navigation department review charts in the control room.

U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, Lieutenant Governor James Aiona, and Commander, Pacific Fleet, Adm. Gary Roughead, joined past and current crewmembers of USS Honolulu (SSN-718) to bid farewell to the nuclear-powered attack submarine at a ceremony on April 15, at Naval Station Pearl Harbor.

Keynote speaker, Seventh Fleet commander Vice Adm. Jonathan Greenert, who commanded Honolulu from 1991 to 1993, said USS Honolulu performed exceptionally well throughout its career. “She was consistently the most reliable ship in the squadron, whatever squadron she was in. 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. Today, they continue to operate…putting SEALs 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 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. The state of Hawaii is indeed honored to have had the prestigious USS Honolulu at Pearl Harbor.”

As USS Honolulu’s final operational commanding officer, Cmdr. John Russ said the crew has enjoyed serving and is 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 crewmembers and their families for nearly two decades – we are excited about our upcoming deployment,” said Russ. “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.”

USS Honolulu departed 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 USS Honolulu on March 29 to bid his farewell.

Mufi Hannemann, who was out of the country. Hannemann visited USS Honolulu on March 29 to bid his farewell.

USS Honolulu has been homeported at Pearl Harbor for most of its operational life. After its commissioning in 1985, it moved to Hawaii to join the Pacific Fleet in September 1986. It 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, Hawaii.

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USS Honolulu (SSN-718) sails by the USS Arizona Memorial one last time before heading out on its 10th Western Pacific deployment on May 13, 2006. This will be the last deployment for the Pearl Harbor based nuclear-powered attack submarine. Following the deployment, the ship is scheduled for decommissioning
and will transit to Bremerton, Wash. to begin inactivation.

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