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SSN 723 Oklahoma City

The nuclear powered attack submarine USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723) was commissioned at Norfolk Naval Base on July 9, 1988.

Oklahoma City deployed to the Mediterranean in March 1990 with the Eisenhower Battlegroup and participated in Operation Desert Shield, received the Sixth Fleet "Hook'em" award for anti-submarine warfare excellence, and was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation.

Oklahoma City won the 1990 and 1991 Battle Efficiency "E" from Commander, Submarine Squadron Eight for overall excellence in submarine operations. The ship also won the 1990 Engineering "E" for engineering excellence.

Oklahoma City deployed to the Mediterranean a second time in September 1991, again with the USS Eisenhower Battlegroup, returning home in March 1992, then spent a year backfitting the Navy's most advanced sonar and fire control system, the BQQ-5E and CCS Mk2. From March 1993 through February 1995, Oklahoma City tested this state-of -the-art combat system, firing four Tomahawk and two Harpoon cruise missiles and over seventy torpedoes. The two year testing program was an unprecedented success - on-time and on-budget - a $2.5 billion (total) acquisition program to upgrade all non-improved Los Angeles class SSN combat systems tested and proofed without a glitch.

Oklahoma City then immediately worked-up and deployed to the Mediterranean for a third time, this time traveling with the USS America Battlegroup to the Arabian Gulf, and, fresh out of testing, won a third Battle Efficiency "E" from Commander, Submarine Squadron Eight. The ship also won the 1995 Supply "E" for logistics readiness and the 1994 Engineering "E" and won honorable mention in the 1996 Edward F. Ney food service competition.

In March 1998 USS Oklahoma City returned to its homeport of Norfolk. The move followed a fifteen-month Depot Modernization Period (DMP) at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which ended with a flawless Sea Trials period. During the DMP, many of the ship's systems were upgraded, overhauled, or replaced.

In 2001 the Oklahoma City took part in LANTSUBICEX 1-01, a Navy exercise to improve the Arctic operability of the Oklahoma City, the USS Scranton, and the USS Connecticut.

MED 2002

On November 13, 2002 the USS Oklahoma City collided with a Norwegian commercial vessel while transiting the western Mediterranean Sea east of the Strait of Gibraltar. No Sailors were injured. The accident occurred in international waters at approximately 1:30 p.m. (GMT). At the time of the incident, the submarine was proceeding to periscope depth.

On November 30 the Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Richard Voter, was relieved of command in La Maddalena, Sardinia. Voter, one other officer and two enlisted crew members were also disciplined in a non-judicial punishment proceeding Dec. 2. Charged with dereliction of duty, they each received punishment ranging from punitive letters of reprimand to reduction in rank. The officers were relieved of their duties and ordered to return to their parent squadron, Submarine Squadron 8, in Norfolk, Va. The enlisted crew members were to remain aboard the submarine. Capt. Howard Reese, Commander, Submarine Squadron 22, assumed command of Oklahoma City. Reese will turn command over to Cmdr. Ronald LaSalvia, Deputy Commander, Submarine Squadron 8 in early December.

Oklahoma City remains in port, undergoing repair at the Naval Support Activity, La Maddalena, Sardinia. The submarine suffered damage to its periscope and sail area. The submarine's propulsion system was not affected, and there were no injuries reported in this accident.

When repairs to the submarine are completed, the ship will undergo a recertification procedure to ensure the ship is ready to resume operations. Oklahoma City began a scheduled six-month deployment with the USS George Washington (CVN 73) Battle Group in June 2002.


Oklahoma City deployed to the Pacific Ocean in July 2004, and within three weeks, completed an inter-fleet transfer under the Arctic.

USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723) made a rare port visit to Pearl Harbor Dec. 20, 2004. Although a U.S. Atlantic fleet submarine, USS Oklahoma City deployed on a Pacific deployment that had been planned for some time to underscore the flexibility of submarines to support operational commitments around the world. Oklahoma City was at the time only the third submarine to make the under-ice transit. The first submarine to transit from the Atlantic to the Pacific under the Arctic was USS Nautilus (SSN 571) in 1958. USS Alexandria (SSN 757) was the second submarine to transit coast-to-coast through the Arctic in June and was the first such transit of a Los Angeles-class submarine.

USS Oklahoma City (OKC) (SSN 723) returned to Norfolk Naval Station Jan. 20, 2005 after a six-month deployment.

Insignia and Crest

The USS Oklahoma City crest is a shield, outlined with a hawser - the line with which ships moor - and, at the same time, with a cowboy's lariat, symbolizing the historical importance of cattlemen to Oklahoma. The crest summarizes the many links between the submarine and her namesake. The bottom of the shield lays along the flukes of a Navy stock anchor - the kind used by sailing ships in times of old. The anchor's shank is formed by USS Oklahoma City, underway on the surface, with waves breaking down her powerful sides.

Across her bow flows a banner bearing the ship's adopted motto: "The Sooner the Better," which originally announced the "sooners" who settled Oklahoma and established Oklahoma City. The words aptly describe the spirited vigor of those pioneers and that of the crewmen of this powerful warship. In the background is the silhouette of the great state of Oklahoma with its capital, Oklahoma City, marked with a star. This illustrates the bond between the ship and the people of not only Oklahoma City but of the entire state of Oklahoma. It serves as a constant reminder of the source of the ship's strength - the irrepressible American people - and of the reasons for which Oklahoma City sails.

To the left is the oil derrick. The derrick is an enduring symbol of Oklahoma and stands as the source of the state's wealth and power. Around the derrick is wrapped a stylized atom, symbolizing the source of Oklahoma City's power - her nuclear power plant. Beneath Oklahoma City lie the submarine dolphins. Dolphins are the traditional attendants to Poseidon, the mythical god of the sea and patron deity of sailors. They are symbolic of a calm sea and are called the "Sailor's Friend." Dolphins are the traditional symbols of submariners worldwide. In the crest they symbolize Oklahoma's blessing of "fair seas and following winds" for their namesake warrior as well as reminding all of a terrible and hidden warfighting power which comes, truly, "from the sea." These dolphins duplicate those in the warfare insignia worn proudly by American submariners. The crest was designed by Ms. Heather Foster of Oklahoma City in 1985 on the occasion of the ship's launching.

Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City was born on the afternoon of April 22, 1889, when the central portion of what is now Oklahoma was opened to settlement by presidential proclamation. Thousands crossed the borders of the "unassigned district" at the sound of gunfire at high noon. By the time the dust had settled on that historic day, many of these people had staked their claim at "Oklahoma Station," an area which was destined to become a leading city in 20th century America: Oklahoma City. The term "Sooner," a nickname for all Oklahomans, was also derived that day. As a term describing those "enterprising" individuals who crossed the border early (sooner than "legally" allowed) and were waiting on their compatriots with claims already staked, the Sooner designation is now a proud reminder of an unusual heritage.

Jumping from zero to 10,000 people in the space of a single afternoon is a growth feat hard to duplicate, and the city's growth rate has been orderly and steady over the last nine decades. Oklahoma City is one of the nation's largest cities in terms of land area, covering a total of 621 square miles.

The city developed as a distribution point for crops and cattle with extensive growth after being named state capital in 1910, three years after Oklahoma attained statehood. Now a major transportation center, it is the chief market processing point for the state's vast livestock industry, and a shipping point for cotton, wheat and cattle.

On December 4, 1928 oil was discovered beneath a section of the already growing city, leading to development of what was then the largest oil stake ever made. Today, petroleum remains a major industry in Oklahoma City with about 1,400 wells producing oil within the city limits, including some on the state capital grounds. The economy is, however, highly diversified with manufacturing of petroleum products, executive aircraft, oil-field machinery, electronic equipment, computers, and fabricated steel, merging with a rich agricultural and livestock industry.

The word Oklahoma is derived from two Choctaw Indian words: okla, "people" and humma, "red," which is especially fitting considering the deep Indian heritage of the state, formerly known as the Indian Territories. Additionally, the area was a major player in the development of the "wild west" and is the home of The National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center.

Oklahoma City is a blend of old and new. Cowboys and Indians re-enact old customs in a modern metropolitan atmosphere that has developed flourishing medical research centers; major aeronautical, chemical, and electronic industries; extensive educational facilities, and renown cultural and entertainment activities. It is a city with a rich, rowdy history: modern, growing and on the move. It is a fitting namesake for a fast, powerful ship.

CL 91 / CLG 5

The first Oklahoma City (CL-91) was a 14,000 ton light cruiser commissioned December 22, 1944. During World War II, Oklahoma City was awarded two Battle Stars for heroic service in the Okinawa campaign and action against the Japanese homeland.

Decommissioned in 1947, Oklahoma City was recommissioned in 1960 as a Guided Missile Light Cruiser, and became the first Pacific Fleet combatant to fire the Talos anti-air missile. Oklahoma City was awarded 13 Battle Stars, 3 Meritorious Unit Citations and a Navy Unit Citation for gallant performance of duty during the Vietnam War. She completed a distinguished career on December 15, 1979, when she was decommissioned as the 7th Fleet Flagship.

In 1999 the ex-USS Oklahoma City was sunk in a SINKEX that occurred during a multinational training exercise. Ships, submarines, and numerous tactical and maritime patrol aircraft from the five nations fired Harpoon, Penguin, and Maverick missiles, torpedoes, and shipboard guns.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:00:54 ZULU