Tag Archives: USS Dallas

“Red October” submarine returns to Connecticut from last deployment

USS Dallas

USS Dallas

The submarine that starred in “The Hunt for Red October,” the USS Dallas, returned from its last overseas deployment Monday. Next year, after 33 years in the fleet, the Dallas will be inactivated.

Tom Clancy’s Cold War thriller made the Dallas famous, but in Navy circles it is better known for being the first attack submarine to carry a dry-deck shelter, which houses a vehicle for launching and recovering special operations forces.

“Of all the submarines that would be finishing up their service life, there are a couple out there that people know by name, and Dallas is one of them,” said Capt. David A. Roberts, who commanded Dallas from 2007 to 2009. “It kind of adds to the moment. ‘The Hunt for Red October’ submarine we all know and love from the movies is going to be finishing up its service life soon.”

But, Roberts said, he always tells people who ask about the Dallas that it has “done a lot more than just being in the movies.”

“Think about how the world has changed,” said Roberts, who now leads the Submarine Learning Center. “The missions Dallas was built for initially back then, in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, are so much different than in 2013. And she has stood the test of time and been able to keep step with the changing world, the challenging world.”

The Dallas (SSN 700) returned to the Naval Submarine Base on Monday after operating in Europe and the Middle East and traveling more than 34,000 miles during nearly seven months at sea.

While all deployments are memorable, Cmdr. Jack Houdeshell, the current commanding officer of the Dallas, said the last deployment comes second only to the maiden deployment for a submarine.

And on this deployment, Houdeshell added, the crew and the ship “showed the world what we can still do.”

The Dallas will continue to support training and other missions until September, when the preparations begin in earnest for the decommissioning, Houdeshell said.

One of 42 Los Angeles-class attack submarines remaining in the fleet, the Dallas was commissioned in 1981 as the seventh member in a class of 61 submarines. It has deployed to every operational theater around the world ever since.

The submarine circumnavigated the globe and transited the Panama Canal in 1984 and participated in Operations Desert Shield/Storm in the early 1990s.

Master Chief Electronics Technician Tomas A. Garcia, who was the chief of the boat on Dallas from 2010 to 2012, said the Dallas was known for delivering Navy SEALs, but the equipment was removed shortly before he reported aboard. Guided-missile submarines and some Virginia-class submarines carry the dry-deck shelters now, he added.

Roberts, Houdeshell and Garcia all said serving aboard Dallas was the highlight of their careers.

Garcia, a Texas native who is now the department master chief for Basic Enlisted Submarine School, led about 100 Naval Submarine School students to the pier on Monday so they could attend a submarine homecoming for the first time.

“There is no better way for them to really get a full appreciation for what it means to deploy on a submarine,” Garcia said.

Seeing the families and feeling the excitement of the homecoming, Garcia added, “really drives home” the importance of the submarine force’s missions and of the family support at home. Garcia said he also watched “The Hunt for Red October” with his family on Sunday night to celebrate the Dallas’ impending arrival.

Seaman Jose Cruz, 19, cheered “Hooyah, Dallas” with his classmates as the Dallas arrived next to the pier. Cruz said he felt as if he was being welcomed into the traditions of the submarine force.

“For all of us,” he said, “this will be something to remember.”

Houdeshell said Monday was an emotional day because he was thrilled to see his family and see the sailors reunited with their families, especially in time for Thanksgiving, but he also knew that after he brought his ship in “she’s not going to go out and do it again.”

“I think the real measure of the Dallas is the crews that served on the Dallas and have gone out throughout the fleet,” he said. “Even when the ship is gone you will still have the Dallas spirit out in the fleet from the sailors that served on board.”

The submarine itself may live on too, as a centerpiece for a maritime museum. A nonprofit foundation, the Dallas Maritime Museum Foundation, plans to build a museum featuring Navy ships and other vessels named after the city.

“As much as I hate to see my old ship eventually be decommissioned,” Roberts said, “I think memorializing her in Dallas would be a perfect ending to a great career.”

Source – New Haven Register

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Landlocked USS Dallas to be site of major maritime museum

The USS Dallas, a 362-foot nuclear-powered submarine, will be displayed next to the museum building. The submarine is scheduled for decommissioning in 2014.

Plans are afoot to build a major maritime museum in Dallas. You heard right.

The $80 million Dallas Maritime Museum will be on a 3.5-acre site near the Trinity River, but more than 250 miles from the nearest body of salt water. Plans will be officially announced Friday morning by Mayor Mike Rawlings and members of a foundation formed to create the new facility.

“Dallas is a city of big ideas, and this is just one more example,” said Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is backing the idea. “Lots of people are excited about this.”

One big idea is to acquire and display the 362-foot nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Dallas next to a 30,000-square-foot museum building. Foundation officials said naval authorities have approved the transfer once the vessel is removed from active duty.

The submarine is scheduled for decommissioning in 2014. It would be another 21/2 years before the vessel is ready for public display.

“By that time we want to have the museum ready,” said John Shellene, the foundation’s executive director. “We’re in the early stage of the fundraising process.”

Shellene said the money will largely come from private sources, though he said backers may apply to the city for additional funding.

Museum plans call for two other major acquisitions besides the submarine. Shellene declined to elaborate, other than to say that one of the exhibits “would excite people not just on the national, but the international, level.”

Rollie Stevens, a retired Navy captain who is the foundation’s president, said the idea was launched in 2009 after he and other local military supporters became aware that the USS Dallas was scheduled to leave active duty.

The idea was also conceived as a way to create an attraction in southern Dallas along the Trinity River Corridor, he said. The foundation has acquired land on Riverfront Boulevard in the Rock Island area for the project.

“We look upon its purpose as education, but also as a living memorial to the contributions North Texas has made to the Navy, the Coast Guard and the merchant marine,” he said.

While the city is not usually regarded as a major seaport, Dallas is still a logical place for a maritime museum, he said.

“It’s important to know that North Texas is the No. 1 recruiting area in the country for the Navy,” he said. “Last year in the Veterans Day parade, the Navy had 100 new recruits, as big as the Army.”

Jones, too, believes North Texas’ strong military tradition makes the museum a logical step. The facility would draw national tours specializing in retirees and military veterans, he said.

“This gives Dallas a good balance of attractions. It’s a needed addition in South Dallas,” Jones said.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based research firm ConsultEcon, commissioned by the foundation to study the feasibility of the museum, did not estimate the number of visitors the facility might attract. Its executive summary concluded, however, the Dallas Maritime Museum “has the potential to be one of the strongest tourist attractions in the city and the state.”

Stevens said visitors would be able to walk through the three levels inside the submarine. Though other cities have submarines, he said, Dallas would be the only place a nuclear-powered attack submarine could be viewed entirely out of water.

The USS Dallas has been part of the American naval defense for 32 years. There has been a lack of major sea battles during that time, but the USS Dallas achieved a kind of notoriety, if only a fictional one, by being a major component of the Tom Clancy thriller The Hunt for Red October.

Its journey to the city after which it is named may be its most epic journey.

After decommissioning ceremonies in Connecticut, the submarine will be towed along the Atlantic seaboard, through the Panama Canal and up the Pacific Coast to Puget Sound, Stevens said.

There the nuclear reactor and other classified components will be removed. The stripped-down vessel will then be towed back through Panama to Houston. The vessel, which is longer than a football field, will be dismantled, and its parts hauled to Dallas on the backs of trucks.

Once here, it will be reassembled.

“It will take a lot of planning,” Shellene said. “But it can be done.”

Description: Los Angeles-class, nuclear-powered, fast attack submarine

Length: 362 feet

Beam: 33 feet

Speed: Greater than 25 knots

Dead weight: 375 long tons, which are each 2,240 pounds

Commissioned: July 18, 1981

Homeport: Groton, Conn.

History: The USS Dallas was the first U.S. Navy ship to be named for the Texas city. It was initially attached to Submarine Development Squadron 12 in New London, Conn., and was used for research and development projects. In 1988, it became a member of Submarine Squadron 2 in New London. It has had one Indian Ocean deployment, three Mediterranean deployments and seven North Atlantic deployments.

Source – Dallas News