SSN 716 Salt Lake City
The USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716) is the Navy's 27th LOS ANGELES Class Fast Attack Submarine. Her keel was laid on 26 August 1980 and she began her waterborne career on 16 October 1982 when she was launched in Newport News, Virginia. She was commissioned on 12 May 1984 in Norfolk, Virginia. Her initial assignment on commissioning was Submarine Squadron EIGHT.
In May 1985, after completion of the Post Shipyard Availability, her homeport was San Diego, California where she was assigned to Submarine Group FIVE. After the commissioning of Submarine Squadron ELEVEN in July 1986, Salt Lake City was reassigned to that squadron. In October 1991 she began an extensive depot modernization period at Mare Island Naval Shipyard and was assigned again to Submarine Group FIVE. After completion of the depot modernization program, she returned to San Diego as a member of Submarine Squadron THREE. Upon the decommissioning of Squadron THREE, in March 1995, she was assigned to Submarine Squadron ELEVEN.
Salt Lake City is a streamlined, highly advanced and maneuverable multi-mission platform which employed the best that the industry can offer in three major areas.
First, she is powered by a pressurized water nuclear reactor of advanced design. The safe, reliable and extremely powerful reactor plant gives Salt Lake City the ability to operate independent of the outside atmosphere for extended periods at high speed.
Second, the state of the art combat systems and electronic suites installed on board Salt Lake City provide the nervous system that allows her to perform her assigned tasks. Computers are the backbone of the ship's sonar, electronic surveillance measures, fire control and navigation systems; the systems that give Salt Lake City her formidable capacity.
Finally Salt Lake City is capable of carrying the most advanced weapons available to the submarine force, including the TOMAHAWK long range cruise missile, the HARPOON anti-surface ship cruise missile, the MK-48 long range antisubmarine and antisurface torpedo and a variety of mines.
Salt Lake City departed San Diego in either April or May 2004 for a Western Pacific deployment. She returned home on Oct. 22, 2004. That deployment, began with a surge deployment more than one month ahead of schedule as part of the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Strike Group. The submarine was also one of 17 submarines that were surged in support of Summer Pulse '04, the Navy's first exercise under the Fleet Response Plan (FRP). During its deployment, Salt Lake City conducted operations throughout the Western Pacific, steaming nearly 36,000 nautical miles. Port visits during the deployment included Guam; Sasebo and Yokosuka, Japan; Singapore; and Oahu, Hawaii.
The 21-year career of the Los Angeles-class submarine USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716) came to an end 26 October 2005, when the attack submarine held an inactivation ceremony and prepared to travel under the polar ice cap to New Hampshire to deactivate. Dignitaries from Salt Lake City, Utah, plankowners (the first Sailors stationed on the submarine) and former crewmembers joined the boat's crew in celebrating the submarine's history. On that date the boat's status transitioned to "In Commission, in Reserve (Stand Down), commencement of inactivation availability" which makred the atart of the inactivation cycle. These hulls are not counted in either the active or inactive fleet counts.
The boat had been a second home to hundreds of Sailors since 1982. Salt Lake City had a crew of more than 140 Sailors and was commanded by Cmdr. Tracy Howard. Cmdr. Howard took command of the boat in July 2003 in a ceremony in San Diego.
Salt Lake City left San Diego for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716) concluded a proud 21-year history of service by completing a "first-of-its-kind" mission during the ship's final underway, surfacing through the polar ice pack in the Arctic Ocean Nov. 17. This was this first time that a first-flight Los Angeles-class submarine surfaced through the polar pack ice, breaking through more than one foot of ice near the North Pole. "First-flight" means it was in the first series of the Los Angeles-class design. This surfacing marked the high point of Salt Lake City's final deployment and inter-fleet transfer to the Atlantic Fleet for decommissioning.
After surfacing through the ice, the crew of Salt Lake City had a few hours to enjoy the unique but harsh conditions on the surface of the Arctic ice. Despite the lack of a sunrise during this time of year in the high-north latitudes, the crew was able to conduct several events that included awarding Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Dana Woodward with his silver dolphins pin. The designation of a Sailor as "qualified in submarines" earns him the right to wear the dolphin insignia and signifies that he has acquired specific skills, knowledge and experience, has demonstrated proficiency in all aspects of the submarine's operations and is a trusted member of the ship's crew.
The USO sent care packages with the crew, so Sailors also opened those while on the Arctic ice. Just prior to submerging, the ship conducted a burial at sea, committing the ashes of former Arctic Submarine Laboratory employee Gene Bloom. Bloom had devoted most of his life to operating in and understanding the challenging Arctic environment. Following the ship's return below the ice, it conducted a scientific exercise during the remainder of the polar transit, which gathered ice and oceanographic data for a variety of scientific research projects. During this period, the ship operated at the North Pole and joined the Order of Magellan by circling the globe in less than an hour.
Los Angeles class submarines are named after U.S. cities. This submarine is the second U.S. Navy ship to bear the proud name of Utah's capital city. The first was a heavy cruiser ship that served from 1929 until her decommissioning after WWII. The tie to the submarine's namesake city has been strong through its 21-year history, thanks to the city's 716 Club. The 716 Club is a group of Salt Lake City business, government and community leaders that maintained a close relationship with the submarine and her crew.