SSN 711 San Francisco
USS SAN FRANCISCO (SSN711) was built at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia and was commissioned on 24 April 1981. After initial shakedown operations, the ship joined the Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet and transited to its homeport of Pearl Harbor. While enroute, the ship conducted its initial visit to San Francisco, participating in Fleet Week 1981.
During its first operating cycle the ship completed deployments to the Western Pacific in 1982, 1985, and 1986, conducting a variety of operations and exercises as a member of the U.S. Seventh Fleet. The ship conducted independent submarine operations deployed to the Northern Pacific in 1986 and 1988, and earned the coveted Battle Efficiency "E" for Submarine Squadron SEVEN in 1985 and 1988.
During a demanding DEPOT Modernization Period (DMP) at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in 1989-1990, the ship was equipped with the newest and most capable submarine sensor and combat systems and made fully ready to perform the variety of missions assigned to the submarine force.
Following the DMP, SAN FRANCISCO completed sea trials and a series of rigorous certification inspections and returned to the fleet to resume operations. Two highly successful deployments to the Western Pacific were completed in 1992 and 1994 with ports of call in Hong Kong, Singapore, Chinhae, South Korea, Guam, Sasebo, Japan and Yokosuka, Japan. In December 1994, the ship conducted a dependents cruise to Lahaina, Maui.
In January of 1995, SAN FRANCISCO was awarded the 1994 Commander Submarine Squadron SEVEN "T" for excellence in tactical operations. SAN FRANCISCO was also awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for its outstanding performance during the WESTPAC deployment in 1994.
USS SAN FRANCISCO was the host ship for the COMSUBPAC Change of Command ceremony on February 23, 1996. From June - December 1996 the ship deployed to the Western Pacific, visiting Yokosuka and Sasebo Japan; Subic Bay Philippines; and Guam USA.
In its life, USS SAN FRANCISCO has carried the pride and charm of its namesake city to the far reaches of the Pacific including: Pattaya, Thailand; Hong King; Yokosuka and Sasebo, Japan; Okinawa; Subic Bay, Philippines; Singapore; Guam; Chinhae, Korea; Esquimalt, BC; as well as the stateside ports of Bremerton, Washington; San Diego and San Francisco, California; Lahaina, Maui, and Kona, Hawaii.
The San Francisco arrived at her new home port of Apra, Guam on December 18, 2002.
On 08 January 2005 [local time], the USS San Francisco, while on its way to making a routine port visit to Brisbane, Australia, ran aground and hit the ocean floor, approximately 350 nautical miles(560 kilometers) south of Guam, in the middle of the East Marianas Basin. The incident reportedly caused one critical injury and a number of minor ones to 23 of the submarine's crew ranging from broken bones, lacerations, bruises to a back injury. The critically wounded sailor later died of his injuries. Initial reports indicated that the submarine's hull was intact and that the submarine's nuclear reactor plant had not been damaged. The submarine resurfaced following the accident and proceeded to return to its homeport of Guam.
The Navy announced 09 May 2005 the completion of the investigation into the Jan. 8 accident aboard the submarine USS San Francisco (SSN 711) that claimed the life of one Sailor. San Francisco struck an undersea mountain about 360 miles southeast of its Guam homeport because its leaders and watch teams failed to develop and execute a safe voyage plan, the command investigation into the incident concluded.
The findings of fact show that San Francisco, while transiting at flank (maximum) speed and submerged to 525 feet, hit a seamount that did not appear on the chart being used for navigation. Other charts in San Francisco's possession did, however, clearly display a navigation hazard in the vicinity of the grounding. San Francisco's navigation team failed to review those charts adequately and transfer pertinent data to the chart being used for navigation, as relevant directives and the ship's own procedures required.
If San Francisco's leaders and watch teams had complied with requisite procedures and exercised prudent navigation practices, the grounding would most likely have been avoided. Even if not wholly avoided, however, the grounding would not have been as severe and loss of life may have been prevented.
Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Joseph Allen Ashley, 24, of Akron, Ohio, died aboard the submarine Jan. 9 from an "inevitably fatal" severe head injury sustained during the accident. Earlier evacuation or arrival of medical officers would not have changed the outcome for [Petty Officer] Ashley. Two additional medical personnel were flown aboard by helicopter and two attempts were made to medically evacuate him by helicopter.
Another 97 of 137 crew members reported injuries ranging from minor bruising and muscle strains to two who suffered dislocated shoulders. Sixty-eight of them were evaluated and treated aboard, while the remaining 29 were treated at Naval Hospital Guam when San Francisco returned to port under its own power Jan. 10. Just three of them were admitted overnight for further evaluation and treatment.
As a result of the collision, U.S. 7th Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert relieved Cmdr. Kevin Mooney of his command of San Francisco Feb. 12 following non-judicial punishment proceedings in Yokosuka, Japan. Mooney also received a letter of reprimand. But Greenert, in his endorsement of the investigation, also praised Mooney's prior record and performance following the impact.
"Although the grounding incident compelled me to punish [him] and remove him from command, in my opinion it does not negate 19 years of exemplary service," the admiral wrote. "Prior to the grounding incident, USS San Francisco demonstrated a trend of continuing improvement and compiled an impressive record of achievement under [Mooney's] leadership. Moreover, the crew's post-grounding response under his direct leadership was commendable and enabled [the sub's] recovery and safe return to port."
Greenert also criticized the executive officer and navigation team for their share of the responsibility, saying their "failure to adequately and critically review applicable publications and available charts led to submission of an ill-advised voyage plan and hindered the commanding officer's ability to make fully informed safety-of-ship decisions."
Six crew members were punished March 22 by Capt. Bradley Gehrke, commander of Submarine Squadron 15 on Guam, to which San Francisco was assigned. None were identified due to privacy reasons, but they included enlisted, senior enlisted and officer. The punishments included reduction in rate and punitive letters of reprimand.
San Francisco completed her final Western Pacific deployment in October 2016, steaming over 50,000 nautical miles and conducting port visits in Japan, Singapore, and Guam. Prior to arriving back in San Diego, she made a last visit to her namesake city and her Sailors participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the USS San Francisco Memorial Park.
Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS San Francisco (SSN 711) marked the end of 35 years of active service with a change of command and farewell ceremony at Naval Base Point Loma, 04 November 2016. Capt. Daniel Caldwell relieved Cmdr. Jeff Juergens as commanding officer of San Francisco in the ceremony. "By any measure, the San Francisco has had a stellar career as an operational submarine," said Juergens. "I've been extremely fortunate to be one of the few to command this fine submarine, and especially lucky to get to command San Francisco for the last three years, which have been so successful." Also as part of the ceremony, previous crew members, plankowners, commanding officers, friends and family bid farewell to the vessel.
San Francisco shifted homeport to Norfolk to begin a two-year conversion process to become a moored training ship. Following the conversion, she was moved to Nuclear Power Training Unit in Charleston, South Carolina. She would help challenge and train a new generation of submariners through 2040.
City of San Francisco
SSN 711 is the third U.S. Navy fighting ship to carry the name of SAN FRANCISCO.
The ship's name honors the city of San Francisco: California's "Port of Gold;" the financial and insurance capital of the west; a dominant port in world trade and "THE CITY" to northern and central Californians. This 200 year old port occupies a 46 square mile fingertip between the Pacific Ocean and one of the world's greatest natural harbors. San Francisco's first permanent settlements were the Presidio, established in 1776 by the Spanish, and the Mission San Francisco do Asis, founded by the Franciscan fathers at about the same time. With the discovery of gold in 1848, the sleepy settlement sprang almost overnight to a city of 900 people and then steadily grew to nearly 5 million residents today. San Francisco's cosmopolitan character comes primarily from the fact that three out of every ten inhabitants of the Bay Area were born outside of the United States or have at least one foreign-born parent. The city - known variously as the Paris of the Est, Baghdad-by-the-Bay, and the Gateway to the Orient - has some 30 foreign language publications. Its culture has been enriched by the traditions and folkways of countless ethnic groups. Within its boundaries are Chinatown, North Beach, Fisherman's Wharf and Nob Hill. It is truly a city of great charm.
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