Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet


COMSUBPAC Press Release

USS Hawkbill inactivates after 28 years of service

Story by: JO3 McClain Shewman

USS Hawkbill (SSN 666) inactivated after 28 years of faithful service in a ceremony held at 10:00am on Friday, August 27th at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Guest speaker for the ceremony was the Deputy Secretary of Defense, The Honorable John Hamre.

"I'm very proud of my men. We've done a lot of great things, notably SCICEX missions, and we've served our country well," said Cmdr. Robert Perry, commanding officer of USS Hawkbill. USS Hawkbill completed two highly successful Scientific Ice Expeditions and recently returned from a historic voyage around the world. The submarine conducted the fifth of five planned science expeditions (SCICEX) to the Arctic Ocean in a joint venture between the Navy and the National Science Foundation (NSF), which represented the last Arctic cruise for any pacific fleet Sturgeon class nuclear-powered submarine.

"One of the highlights of my tour as commanding officer was surfacing at the North Pole. It was very memorable. Doing it one time is a tribute to the crew, but doing it twice made it all the more special and unforgettable.

"Going through the Panama Canal was exciting, and for the first time in 28 years of service the Hawkbill actually got to visit the Atlantic Ocean," said Perry. The submarine force will continue to shrink from as many as 40 in the early 1990's to only 25 early in the next decade. Ironically, demand for submarines in support of specific national tasking has more than doubled since the end of the Cold War.

"We'll put [USS Hawkbill] to rest in March of 2000 and it's going to be a sad day for the crew. I have some crewmembers that have spent the majority of their careers on the Hawkbill. There's going to be a tear in our eye as we walk across the brow for the last time," said Perry.

"I have a highly motivated and proud crew, and it was a combined effort from the whole crew that got us underway on time every time. The taxpayers have got their money's worth," said Perry.

USS Hawkbill has been stationed in Pearl Harbor since 1975 as a part of Submarine Squadron One, which is longer than any other Pearl Harbor-based Pacific Fleet Submarine.

"The condition of this 28 year-old ship directly reflects the pride of this crew," said Petty Officer 1st Class Edward Day, a Yeoman who was stationed on the submarine after they returned from SCICEX. "I am happy to be a part of the decommissioning crew and I'm honored to be able to help them any way I can during the boats' final months," said Day, a native of Madrid, NY.

USS Hawkbill, commissioned in February of 1971 and the last active Sturgeon-Class Pacific Fleet submarine, carries a crew of 120 men.

"We must never forget that for over 10,000 days, Hawkbill has performed its varied missions with remarkable distinction," said Hamre. "It has built an extraordinary record of achievement because it possessed one exceptional asset; a generation of skilled and dedicated professional Sailors," added Hamre.

Dr. Hamre, the 26th Deputy Secretary of Defense, previously served as the Comptroller of the Department of Defense as the principal assistant to the Secretary of Defense for the preparation, presentation and execution of the defense budget and management improvement programs. Crewmembers from the original USS Hawkbill - SS-366, attended the ceremony with the first and only commanding officer of the boat, Capt. Worth Scanlan.

Catch the complete story of Hawkbill's most recent SCICEX operation by tuning in to CNN Perspectives on Sunday, September 12 at 9:00pm EST for Ice Run: Submarine to the Arctic.

August, 1999