USS Honolulu Leaves Pearl For The Last Time
This morning, if all went according to plan, USS Honolulu (SSN 718) left Pearl Harbor for the last time. At the end of her regular WestPac, she'll return directly to Bremerton to start deactivation.
For a while after the San Francisco grounding, I heard talk that they would refuel Honolulu to keep the Sub Force's numbers up. For some reason, they decided not to -- since she was commissioned in 1985, she would nominally still have about 12 years of life left after a refuelling overhaul.
The good thing about doing a "last deployment" is that, unless the core is very close to end-of-life, you can tear around without having to worry about fuel depletion curves. Pretty much "Ahead 1/3, Ahead Flank" the whole time if you want to -- kinda the way we used to do it before we started worrying about how much it cost to refuel the boats...
Anyway, anytime I mention the Honolulu, it's a good time to bring out their famous polar bear picture:
Update 2357 17 April: Here's a picture of Honolulu during the ceremony. As a commenter mentioned, they didn't actually get underway; it turns out they won't actually be leaving on deployment until next month. (My guess is they scheduled the ceremony so Senator Inouye could be there during the Senate's Easter recess. Since Sen. Inouye has earned the Medal of Honor, the Pentagon is more than happy to change schedules for his convenience -- as well they should.)
In other news, it looks like they've finally announced that PCU Hawaii will be going to Pearl after she gets commissioned next year, as was rumored a while ago.