USS LOUISVILLE (SSN 724)
USS LOUISVILLE (SSN 724) is the fourth United States ship to bear the name in honor of the city of Louisville, Kentucky.
Commissioned on 16 January 1862, the first LOUISVILLE, an ironclad center-wheel steamer, served continuously with the War Department flotilla on the Western rivers. She participated in the successful siege that forced the surrender of Vicksburg on 4 July 1863.
The second LOUISVILLE was originally the American Line steamship, ST. LOUIS. On 26 April 1918, the ship was renamed LOUISVILLE and served as a troop transport for several round trip voyages to Europe.
The third LOUISVILLE (CA 28) was launched 1 September 1930 at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington and commissioned 15 January 1931. During World War II, she participated in several great naval campaigns in the Pacific theater. At the battle of Leyte Gulf, her most significant engagement, LOUISVILLE’S participation contributed to the virtual destruction of the Japanese naval forces. On 5 and 6 January 1945, two kamikazes scored direct hits on LOUISVILLE resulting in extensive damage. She was repaired and returned to sea only to be struck by another kamikaze on 5 June 1945. LOUISVILLE was awarded 13 battle stars for her service during World War II.
The fourth LOUISVILLE (SSN 724) was commissioned on 8 November 1986 at the Naval Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut. The 35th nuclear powered fast attack submarine of the LOS ANGELES (SSN 688) class design, USS LOUISVILLE is one of the most advanced attack submarines in the world.
LOUISVILLE'S mission is to seek out and destroy enemy ships and submarines, and to protect our naval interests. At 360 ft and 6,900 tons, she is well equipped to accomplish this task. Faster than her predecessors and equipped with highly accurate sensors and weapons systems, LOUISVILLE is armed with sophisticated MK48 torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles.
During Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, USS LOUISVILLE (SSN 724) made naval history by firing the first submarine launched Tomahawk cruise missile in combat. To accomplish this, LOUISVILLE conducted a 14,000 mile submerged, high-speed transit across the Pacific and Indian Oceans to the Red Sea; firing shortly after noon on 19 January 1991. LOUISVILLE returned to combat operations in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom where she made history as the only Pacific Fleet SSN to have twice launched cruise missiles in combat when she fired numerous salvos into Iraq.
Throughout her illustrious career LOUISVILLE has primarily operated out of San Diego, California and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. LOUISVILLE has also conducted several modernization periods at various shipyards in order to upgrade both the engineering and combat systems to maximize her capability and lethality. The most recent modernization took place at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard where the ship subsequently returned to Pearl Harbor in March 2009. For her outstanding service, LOUISVILLE has been awarded three Meritorious Unit Commendations, two Navy Unit Commendations, and one Joint Meritorious Unit Award.
COMMANDING OFFICER - CDR Robert D. Figgs| Biography