The USS Bremerton arrived in its namesake city Friday afternoon, the final destination for the fleet's oldest active submarine before retirement.
The submarine is scheduled to begin the inactivation and decommissioning process at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in July, said Navy spokesman Lt. Seth Clarke.
The 37-year-old Bremerton was commissioned March 28, 1981. It was the Navy's 11th nuclear-powered Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine.
Sailors, veterans and families lined the pier to bid farewell to the Bremerton when it departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on April 20 to make its way to the Northwest. It has been homeported at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam since 2003.
It was a bittersweet moment for the crew to leave Hawaii, but they are looking forward to the unique experience of decommissioning the sub, said Master Chief Wade Jacobson, USS Bremerton’s chief of the boat.
"There’s always something special about being the last crew to do things," said Jacobson. "We’re looking forward to the final dive, the final surface, the final reactor shutdown, and many other final events."
Retired Capt. Thomas H. Anderson, the Bremerton's first commanding officer, joined the crew in Pearl Harbor to ride along during the submarine's final underway.
"It feels great to be here and the boat is in excellent condition," said Anderson, who commanded the Bremerton from 1981-1982. "It's a tribute to the hard work the crew has put in and it’s really an honor to be a part of their last cruise."
The submarine returned from its final deployment on April 6 after spending six months operating in the western Pacific Ocean. The submarine deployed 17 times during its service life.
The Bremerton is the second U.S. Navy vessel named after the city where the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Naval Base Kitsap are located. So far, no plans have been made for another vessel to be named after the city, Navy spokesman Clarke said.