Submarine Squadron THREE
Submarine Squadron Three was first established on November 25, 1930 at Coco Solo in the Panama Canal Zone. Her ten boats conducted Panama Sea Frontier patrols for the Atlantic Fleet. As tensions grew through the Thirties, Squadron Three's mission evolved into the defense of coastal regions on both ends of the canal. Most of Squadron Three's submarines shifted to the Pacific end of the canal when war broke out. As World War II progressed, most of the squadron's submarines were transferred to more active regions, leaving only four subs in Squadron Three by August 1943. Squadron Three was deactivated July 1, 1945 and reactivated in Guam on October 1, 1945. In February, 1946 the squadron moved to San Diego. Submarine Squadron Three continued to serve proudly until March 31, 1995 when it was again deactivated. On June 16, 1997 Submarine Squadron Three rejoined the Pacific Submarine Force in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
In 2003, five submarines from COMSUBRON 3 were deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Three of these submarines, USS Columbia (SSN 771), USS Louisville (SSN 724) and USS Key West (SSN 722), conducted Tomahawk strike operations against targets in Iraq. For 82 years COMSUBRON 3 has served with distinction, from the R-1 built in 1917 to the USS North Carolina (SSN 777). COMSUBRON 3 submarines have ensured America's ability to control the seas throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
The Pearl Harbor-based Commander, Submarine Squadron (COMSUBRON) 3 disestablished, as COMSUBRON 1 changed command, during an official ceremony aboard USS Greeneville (SSN 772) at the submarine piers at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam 02 February Feb. 2012. The disestablishment reassigns all COMSUBRON 3 attack submarines to COMSUBRON 1 and COMSUBRON 7. Under the deactivation, USS Jacksonville (SSN 699), USS Key West (SSN 722) and USS North Carolina (SSN 777) are assigned to COMSUBRON 1 and USS Louisville (SSN 724) and USS Olympia (SSN 717) are assigned to COMSUBRON 7. USS Chicago (SSN 721) will be assigned to COMSUBRON 15 in Apra Harbor, Guam. COMSUBRON 1 will support the unit and act as its host until she conducts a change of homeport to Guam.
Rear Adm. Frank Caldwell, Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, guest speaker at the event, remarked on the history of the squadron. "The demands of our national security evolve, as do the fiscal demands on the country. But the hallmark of our force is that we have always adapted. We are driven by the strategic imperative that we must be combat ready," said Caldwell. "So as Squadron 3 decommissions, one thing that we can absolutely count on is that our people will deal with this change, lead through it and deliver a better, more capable submarine force in the end. Our measure of success on a day-to-day basis is the ability to send submarines on deployment, have them operate for months away from homeport, complete the mission and return safely home."
Outgoing COMSUBRON 3 Commodore Capt. James Childs also noted the rich history of the squadron. "Throughout the years, the complexion, the submarines, the assigned missions and the location of Submarine Squadron 3 have changed" said Childs. "What has not changed is the dedication that the squadron has had to the crews and submarines that have belonged to and thrive under its care. Decommissioning Submarine Squadron 3 will certainly add to the challenges of our submarines, squadrons and supporting commands face."
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