USS Los Angeles (SSN-688)
A President's visit aboard the "First and Finest"
The USS LOS ANGELES (SSN-688) is the U.S. Navy's 109th nuclear-powered submarine and the 67th of the attack submarine fleet. She is the fourth naval ship to bear the name, Los Angeles, and is the lead ship of the largest class of high speed nuclear powered attack submarines in the U.S. Navy's arsenal today. Designed as a follow-on to the PERMIT and STURGEON-class fast-attack submarines built during the 1960's, the LOS ANGELES-class incorporated improved sound quieting and a larger propulsion plant than previous classes. Her design combines unmatched endurance and speed with the ultimate in submarine "stealth; or quieting technology."
Her armament consists of the heavyweight MK-48 ADCAP (Advanced Capability) torpedoes, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and all variants of the Tomahawk cruise missile, as well as both variants of the Navy's submarine launched mines. Her capabilities include anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare, land-attack (her Tomahawk cruise missiles being capabile of hitting on target on 75 percent of the Earth's land surface), special forces delivery, reconnaissance, and carrier battle group support and escort. To safely operate the ship in any environment under routine and casualty conditions to support training for LOS ANGELES' warfare functions of undersea warfare, surface warfare, strike warfare, mining operations, and intelligence collection.
USS Los Angeles (SSN-688)
The LOS ANGELES began her waterborne career on April 6, 1974 when she was launched by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Newport News, Virginia. LOS ANGELES was christened by her sponsor, the Honorable Anne L. Armstrong, then counselor to President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr., and United States Ambassador to Great Britain. LOS ANGELES' launching on 6 April 1974 coincided with the keel laying of a sister ship the USS CINCINNATI (SSN-693), the first of its kind ceremony at the Newport News Shipbuilding Company.
For nearly 39 month after her launching, LOS ANGELES set out on her initial sea trials to test operations of the nuclear propulsion plant under the direction of Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, the Deputy Commander for Nuclear Propulsion of the Naval Sea Systems Command and head of the Naval Reactors Branch of the Energy Research and Development Administration. Immediately after completion of the first sea trials, further trails were commenced to test the ship's complex sonar and weapons systems.
After completion of the numerous sea trials associated with all new submarine classes, LOS ANGELES' commissioning ceremonies took place at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company on November 13, 1976. Following her commissioning, on May 27, 1977, USS LOS ANGELES (SSN 688) proudly hosted President and Mrs. Carter for an at-sea demonstration of the capabilities of the nation's newest attack submarine.
President and Mrs. Carter join ADM Hyman G. Rickover on board the USS Los Angeles (SSN-688)
President Carter proudly displays his Presidental Flag which was rhoisted on USS Los Angeles before the ship was underway,
Dubbed the Navy's "First and Finest," the LOS ANGELES made her first operational deployment to the Mediterranean Sea in 1977 where she earned her first Meritorious Unit Citation. In 1978, the LOS ANGELES was transferred to the Pacific Fleet, where she made her first of many port visit to the city of Los Angeles. From there, LOS ANGELES proceeded to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where she was assigned to Submarine Squadron SEVEN.
LOS ANGELES operated with distinction, conducting five Western Pacific, one Indian Ocean, and four Northern Pacific deployments before conducting her first overhaul. These operations, vital to national security, earned her three additional Meritorious Unit Citations. Additionally, she was awarded her squadron's annual Battle Efficiency "E" for excellence in combat readiness four times.
In July 1992, LOS ANGELES departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for a change of homeport to the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California. Arriving on August 6, she commenced the first Engineered Refueling Overhaul of a LOS ANGELES-class attack submarine. During the overhaul, LOS ANGELES was outfitted with the state-of-the-art BQQ-5E Sonar System/CCS MK-II Fire Control System,as well as the Navy's newest reactor core and advanced reactor control equipment. A special rubber hull treatment was added as a noise-reducing agent effectively making the submarine one of the quietest submarines in the U.S. Fleet today.
A rare view of the USS Los Angeles in drydock.
Although the LOS ANGELES recently passed her 20th birthday, following an extensive 31 month overhaul in March 1995, she returned to the fleet as one of the most modern and capable submarines in the Navy today equipped with the latest state-of-the-art components.
The LOS ANGELES has once again been reassigned to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and is attached to Submarine Squadron ONE where she recently completed a deployment in the Western Pacific and operations to provide a continued forward presence for the United States. Returning from WestPac, she was again upgraded to provide special SEAL-delivery capabilities, further enhancing her already potent offensive capabilities.
Despite her age, these extensive upgrades make her one of the most advanced submarines in the Submarine Force today.
From one submariner
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California Center for Military History
President and Mrs. Carter take a turn at navigating USS Los Angeles (SSN-688)
Related Educational Pages
World War II Submarine Veterans History Project
USS Los Angeles (SSN-688)
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