PEARL HARBOR - The Pacific Submarine Force and the Pearl Harbor waterfront said farewell to the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS City of Corpus Christi (SSN 705) in a decommissioning ceremony on Memorial Day, May 30, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Guest speaker for the ceremony, Rear Adm. (ret.) Winford "Jerry" Ellis, City of Corpus Christi's first commanding officer and whose last assignment was as commander of the Pacific Submarine Force here in Hawaii, shared some of the highlights from the commissioning of City of Corpus Christi at the Electric Boat Division of the General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut, on January 8, 1983.
"It was an incredible beginning of the life of this wonderful submarine," said Ellis. "I am now standing on the decks again after an absence of more than 33 years, what a feeling of both happiness and sadness."
Ellis said officers and enlisted of that first crew established a superb reputation that continued throughout its years of service.
"All who have served on this submarine, whether in the audience today, standing on her decks, on watch below, or located some place in the world can be proud of being a part of the success this submarine has always had," said Ellis.
Representing the city of Corpus Christi, Texas, the Veterans Band of Corpus Christi performed a Memorial Day tribute to open the ceremony, and Corpus Christi city councilman Mark Scott expressed his pride and gratitude to the crew.
"Today we pause to recognize a job well done and a journey ending," said Scott. "To the men who served her, we say, 'thank you.' We know that it has not always been easy, but we know you have done it well, with pride, and have made it a better ship."
City of Corpus Christi's current commanding officer, Cmdr. Travis Petzoldt from Beaver Falls, New York, a graduate of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, said that we are here to recognize that the City of Corpus Christi is larger than the sum of all her people, and all her parts; our unity.
"She is the manifestation of our collective will not only to survive, but to thrive as a nation of free people," said Petzoldt. "On behalf of the United States, thank you to all the men and women who have touched this fine ship, who have designed her, built her, took care of her and sailed in her."
During her 33 years of patrolling the world's oceans, City of Corpus Christi has circumnavigated the globe, completed multiple overseas deployments and several first-in-class distinctions such as the first to complete an engineering refueling overhaul in record 24 months.
City of Corpus Christi has been assigned to Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, since her arrival to Apra Harbor, Guam, in October 2002, becoming the first-ever forward deployed fast-attack submarine. In May 2011, City of Corpus Christi came to Pearl Harbor for a final overhaul and to serve out its final years.
City of Corpus Christi is the 18th ship of the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarines and the 2nd ship to bear the name of Corpus Christi, Texas. The submarine is 362-feet long, displaces 6,100 tons, and can be armed with sophisticated Mk-48 advanced capability torpedoes.
Following today's decommissioning ceremony, City of Corpus Christi will transit to the Pacific Northwest where the submarine will be prepared for inactivation and removal from the roles of active U.S. naval warships.