USS Salt Lake City Deactivated by the Navy

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The USS Salt Lake City, a fast-attack nuclear submarine, has been deactivated by the Navy.

The deactivation ceremony was held on Wednesday at Naval Base Point Loma, Calif., the home port for the sub that spent 21 years patrolling the globe.

About a dozen members of the 716 Club -- a Salt Lake City group named for the boat's number -- and Salt Lake City Councilman Carlton Christensen made the trip to submarine base on Point Loma for the ceremony.

They joined dignitaries, guests and the 140 all-male crew in watching the Salt Lake City's commissioning pennant, ensign and jack hauled down for the last time.

Later this fall, the submarine will make a final journey under the North Pole ice cap to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in New Hampshire, where it will have another formal decommissioning ceremony before being dismantled.

"It's like losing a piece of you," Yeoman 2nd Class Ismael Maese, who served on the sub from 2001 to May of this year, told the Salt Lake Tribune.

The submarine carried a huge photograph of the Salt Lake City skyline, which often served as the crew's only window to the outside and a view back home.

Maese, who has never been in the city his ship was named after, could point out Temple Square.

"It gets lonely out there after eight months," Maese told the Deseret Morning News. "Starring at that photo, it makes it seem like you're looking out the window into Salt Lake City."

The USS Salt Lake City was commissioned as the Navy's 27th nuclear submarine on May 12, 1984.

It was awarded a Navy Unit Commendation on its first western Pacific deployment in 1986 for "leading the American effort to win the Cold War," retired Navy Adm. Thomas Fargo said.

It completed 13 western Pacific deployments.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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