Story by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Amanda R. Gray, Commander, Submarine Group Nine Public Affairs
Houston Sailors, past and present, along with friends and families celebrated her 33 years of honorable service to the U.S. submarine force.
Originally homeported out of Pearl Harbor, Houston arrived at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Bremerton, Washington, for inactivation and decommissioning on July 14. Houston will spend the next year going through deactivation and the disassembling of components for historical archiving.
Capt. Michael Lewis, Houston’s 13th commanding officer, from Bend, Oregon, was the keynote speaker for the event.
“Today we are here to say farewell to USS Houston and allow her to pass the torch to the next generation of submarines,” Lewis said. “It is with a sad and heavy heart that I am here, along with so many of her former shipmates, to give her our final thanks and honor a fast ship who sailed into harm’s way time and time again, and that always brought her crew back home safe and sound; and for this, we as a nation are forever grateful.”
Throughout Houston’s successful service, the boat conducted nine Western Pacific deployments, performing missions vital to national security and developing maritime partnerships with foreign western pacific nations. Recently, she has served as the training platform for not only her crew, but for 46 submariners from five other boats, and provided command courses for prospective commanding officers.
Cmdr. Scott McGinnis, Houston’s commanding officer, from Richmond, Virginia, was presented with a Mayoral Proclamation from Councilman Gregory Travis from the City of Houston, proclaiming August 26 as USS Houston (SSN 713) Day.
“We are honored by this proclamation and appreciate the support of the great city of Houston,” said McGinnis.
Houston, the fourth U.S. Navy vessel named in honor of the city of Houston, Texas, was constructed at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, Virginia, and was commissioned on September 25, 1982.
“Today is not a wake for the steel and metal that make- up Houston, but a celebration of all the work and effort which made her successful,” said McGinnis. “Congratulations Houston warriors, you have served your nation well. You have been strong for over three decades and our spirit will continue on in other crews throughout the Navy. I have been honored to lead this fine team for her final years.”
Houston joined the fleet as the 132nd nuclear powered submarine and the 20th of the Los Angeles class. She earned two Navy Unit Commendations and a Meritorious Unit Commendation throughout her service.