The US Navy's oldest nuclear-powered attack sub just finished its final deployment after sailing around the world

Ryan Pickrell
Sailors assigned to Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Olympia (SSN 717) participate in a swim call at sea

U.S. Navy photo by Fire Control Technician Senior Chief Vien Nguyen


  • The USS Olympia, the Navy's oldest serving fast-attack submarine, wrapped up 35 years of service with a seven-month, around-the-world deployment.
  • The submarine returned home to Hawaii for the last time on September 8, where the crew was met by friends and families at the pier.
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The US Navy's oldest nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine wrapped up its final deployment Sunday after sailing around the world.

Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Olympia completed a seven-month, around-the-world deployment on September 8 when it returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, the Navy said on Monday.

The USS Olympia was commissioned in 1984. On Sunday, it returned home to Hawaii for the last time after circumnavigating the globe, a fitting send-off. It will soon sail to Bremerton, Washington, to be decommissioned.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Amanda Gray

The powerful sub "completed her final deployment after 35 years of service, circumnavigating the globe in seven months starting from Oahu, Hawaii, transiting through the Panama Canal, Strait of Gibraltar and Suez Canal," Cmdr. Benjamin Selph, the sub's commanding officer, said.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael B. Zingaro

Selph said the sub and its crew worked visited various allies and partners during the deployment, at times engaging other navies, such as the British Royal Navy. "We joined the crew of HMS Talent in a day of barbeque and friendly sports competitions of soccer, football and volleyball," he explained.



Selph said that "sailing around the world in our country’s oldest serving nuclear-powered Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine is a testament to the durability and design of the submarine but also the tenacity and 'fight on' spirit of the crew."

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael B. Zingaro

Master Chief Electronics Technician (Radio) Arturo Placencia, Olympia's chief-of-the-boat, said the boat and its crew "performed with excellence," adding that "for everyone onboard, this was the first time we completed a circumnavigation of the globe."



The War Zone, a defense publication, tracked the Olympia's travels from Hawaii to the Western Pacific and through the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and the Suez Canal. The sub then conducted operations in the Mediterranean before heading to the Atlantic, passing through the Panama Canal, and sailing through the Eastern Pacific to Pearl Harbor.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kelly M. Agee

Source: The War Zone



"Olympia conducted an around-the-world deployment in support of maritime security operations with allies and partners to ensure high-end war fighting capabilities in this era of great power competition," Navy said, without going into too many details about exactly what the sub did during its deployment.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Amanda Gray

Even in the final years of its more than three decades of service, the Olympia remained a symbol of US undersea power. For example, last summer, it became the first US sub in 20 years to fire a Harpoon sub-launched anti-ship cruise missile. The US military is building this capability as it confronts great power rivals with capable surface fleets.

U.S. Navy photo

Source: Submarine Force Pacific



When the Olympia returned home, friends and family greeted the crew at the pier.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael B. Zingaro

In Navy tradition, a lucky cribbage board belonging to Cmdr. Richard O'Kane, who was dealt an incredible winning hand before his Gato-class sub, USS Wahoo, sank two Japanese freighters in 1943, was passed from the USS Bremerton to the Olympia when the latter became the oldest fast-attack sub. Before it is decommissioned, the Olympia will pass the board to another sub, reportedly the USS Chicago.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Lee