SSN 713 Houston
Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Houston (SSN 713) was decommissioned during a ceremony held at Deterrent Park at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, WA, on 26 August, 2016, after 33 years of service.
USS HOUSTON (SSN 713) joined the fleet as the 132nd nuclear powered submarine and the 20th of the Los Angeles class.
Her technologically advanced nuclear propulsion plant allows HOUSTON the capability of exploring the depths freed from all ties to the surface, while her incredibly sensitive and sophisticated sonar and state of the art fire control system guide her deadly weapons, allowing HOUSTON to attack targets at sea or on land.
HOUSTON was designated as a high speed escort for carrier task forces. She supports national military objectives with the ability to carry the fight to the enemy at sea or on land with torpedos and cruise missiles.
Because of her stealth, HOUSTON is the ideal platform for such missions as Anti-Submarine Warfare, Anti-Surface Warfare, Strike Warfare, Mine Warfare, Special Forces Operations, Intelligence gathering and search and rescue.
Many of the vital missions during HOUSTON's seven deployments to the Western and Northern Pacific areas were of critical importance to National Securtiy. For one of her classified operations in the Pacific, she was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation. One of her special missions was the first test launch of a particulary unique capability, the submerged launch of the Tomahawk cruise missile Whether at periscope depth or deep at sea, HOUSTON is a vital element of the United States military strength.
This classy lady has twice starred on the silver screen; initially in a Navy recruiting film and then starring in the smash hit "The Hunt for Red October". Her tremendous power and agility were fully displayed as she surged to the surface to avoid the enemy torpedos in the exciting climax of that movie.
Military units have historically employed emblems as a means of organization identification. Designed during the new construction period, the chosen insignia becomes an integral part of the ship. Closely associated with the crew and reputation, the emblem is proudly displayed on a wide variety of official documents and memorabilia.
The design incorporates a 688 class submarine, three stars, one for each of the three previous HOUSTONS; United States and Texas flags depicting HOUSTON'sties to the United States and the state of Texas; and dolphins for the United States Submarine Service.
The first Houston was originally the German Freighter LIEBENFELS, captured during World War I and commissioned USS HOUSTON (AK -1) in 1917. She served in various transport and convoy duties in the Atlantic and Pacific until her decommissioning in 1922.
The second HOUSTON (CA-30) was launched by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company on September 7, 1929, and commissioned June 17, 1930.
Prior to World War II she served as the flagship of four admirals and carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt on four official cruises.
When the United States entered World War II, HOUSTON was assigned to the Asiatic Fleet and after transit to Australia she joined the ABDA (American-British-Dutch-Australian) naval forces at Surabaya, Java.
In the Battle of Java Sea on February 26, 1942, HOUSTON and the ABDA force boldly engaged a large Japanese invasion fleet steaming to Java. The battle continued through the night when HMAS PERTH and USS HOUSTON steamed boldly into Bantea Bay, hoping to damage the Japanese invasion forces. The cruisers successfully evaded nine torpedos launched by Japanese destroyers, then sank one transport and so severely damaged three others that they had to beach.
Enemy ships blocked Sunda Strait, their only means of retreat, and two Japanese heavy cruisers stood dangerously near. The black night was dramatically illuminated by flashing salvos, bursting shells and burning ships. Within an hour PERTH was gone and the HOUSTON surrounded.
A champion at bay, her guns blazed in all directions, sinking or badly damaging eight ships while suffering four torpedo hits and countless direct hits. But her time had come. By dawn, with her guns smoldering and ensign still proudly flying, she slipped into history.
In addition to two battle stars, HOUSTON was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.
The cruiser earned three battle stars for service in World War II, distinguishing herself in numerous engagements, including the invasion of the Marianas, the Battle of the Philippine Sea and the naval assault on Formosa. She was decommissioned December 15, 1947.
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