Submarine Development Squadron (DEVRON) 5 held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 19, 2022 on a newly-completed service pier extension located on Naval Base Kitsap Bangor, Washington. The ceremony marked the completion of a major infrastructure project, nicknamed the “Olympic pier” due to its proximity to the Olympic Mountain Range, which will support the arrival of fast attack submarines, including the planned change of homeport for USS Seawolf (SSN 21) and USS Connecticut (SSN 22) from Naval Station Bremerton to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.
The ceremony, which was led by Capt. Gary Montalvo, commodore of DEVRON 5, hosted the event which featured Adm. Stuart Munsch, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, as the keynote speaker.
The service pier extension project was more than a decade in the making. Originally envisioned in 2008 and supported by Munsch, who was the DEVRON 5 commodore at the time, was a project that was needed to service all classes of SSNs. Construction began in 2020.
“Your efforts, and that of many others over the years, to build this pier and ready it to sustain our most advanced submarines, represents the best of the many organizations working together, fighting any and all obstacles to build capability to enhance our undersea dominance,” said Montalvo.
The service pier extension includes state-of-the-art technologies for security and pier services for moored submarines. The shore power configuration incorporates the latest technology to provide multiple fully redundant power sources, ensuring continuous safe in-port operations and minimizing the affects due to normal wear and tear or natural disasters. The pier boasts a first-of-its-kind captured mooring system that compensates for tidal changes, which will ensure all classes of submarines remain securely moored without need to frequently adjust mooring lines.
A full environmental assessment of the project was performed during the design phase in order to minimize the environmental impacts to the Hood Canal and its local fish and wildlife. Environmental considerations include a newly-designed, all-electric crane which will provide service on the pier, and the deliberate positioning of backup diesel generators located upland, away from the water.
Upland support infrastructure for the service pier extension include a newly constructed parking lot to provide safe and convenient access for submarine crews and support personnel. The pier has maintenance support facilities dedicated to units moored at the service pier extension.
“The completion of Olympic Pier advances a visionary shore infrastructure plan designed to improve quality of work for our Sailors, increase operational availability of fast attack submarines in the Pacific Northwest, and advance the research, development, test and evaluation needed to deliver decisive warfighting advantage,” said Munsch. “Olympic Pier enables us to bring together intellectual and industrial partners with the Submarine Force’s most experienced operators of advanced undersea systems and, now, the right current and future submarines to test and field those decisive new capabilities.”
The service pier extension provides substantial immediate and long term benefits to the submarine force and the Navy. The planned change of homeport for Seawolf and Connecticut will improve the quality of service to the units while in port. Dedicated pier and maintenance facilities promote efficiency for maintenance.
Support, training, and oversight provided by DEVRON 5, the Immediate Superior in Command, will be improved by the close physical proximity of the boats. Longer-term benefits include the capability to maintain increased persistent presence of fast attack submarines in the northern Pacific region, and the continued development of future undersea warfare capabilities.