The following is the transcript of the speech given by CAPT Phillip Boyer on the occasion of the decommissioning of USS Queenfish (SSN651) on Friday, 9/21/90, and published in Run 36, Dive 20 of the Submarine base, Pearl Harbor, "Patrol" newspaper, September 28,1990

"I am honored to be here today to speak at this significant occasion, and I would like to thank both Admiral Colley and Captain Virgilio for thinking of me and affording me the opportunity to not only be here today, but to participate in what I consider to be, a most noteworthy and important deactivation.

"I say this not only because of the personal ties and feelings I have for this ship, but more importantly because of the transition this deactivation symbolizes for the Navy and for the Submarine Force.

"To understand this transition, it is necessary to review the significance of what occurred on December 6, 1966 when Queenfish became the first of a new class of submarine to join the fleet.

"Prior to that date, we had explored other submarine classes as we developed expertise in how to effectively utilize nuclear powered attack submarines.

"The Skate class, essentially diesel boats with nuclear reactors; the Skipjack class, built for speed but little else, and the Permit class, our first attempt at building an all purpose submarine, but fraught with design and material problems.

"All these classes served our nation well and through their experiences the Submarine Force learned what it needed in a submarine to serve us across the entire spectrum of conflict from the Soviet submarine threat to potential conflicts with other foes.

"What resulted was the 637 class SSN; and the first submarine of that class, USS Queenfish. It has puzzled me why this class was named the Sturgeon or 637 class when the first ship of the class was Queenfish (SSN651).

"But let there be no doubt, the name of the class not withstanding, the lead ship of the class, both in chronological order and in level of performance was, is, and will always remain, USS Queenfish (SSN 651).

"With the commissioning of Queenfish, the Navy, for the first time, obtained a truly all purpose submarine. Many existing voids in submarine warfare were filled by her arrival.

"One needs to recall the state of the world in the late sixties to fully appreciate the importance of this delivery. Vietnam was in full swing; the cold war, and the Soviet military buildup were well underway.

"The new all purpose submarine was required to excel not only in an open ocean antisubmarine warfare role against a soon to improve Soviet submarine adversary, but it had to be capable of exploring under ice regions to counter the Soviet SSBN threat; it had to be able to operate with special forces or SEALS, and it had to act as a surveillance platform.

"The Queenfish class did it all. In fact, it excelled at all these endeavors so well that when it became time to design the next SSN class, the Los Angeles class, it was possible to build a special purpose submarine and sacrifice both surveillance and under-ice capabilities to accommodate increased speed to support aircraft carrier battle group operations.

"Queenfish arrived in Pearl Harbor on April 13, 1967 where she has been home ported throughout her operational life. She was immediately employed in all the wide variety of missions for which she was designed.

"As the first of her class in the Pacific, she was run very hard. Deployment followed deployment and operation followed operation. Others of her class went to the shipyard for an 11-month overhaul at the three-to four-year point; but not Queenfish. Her first overhaul occurred at the seven-year point when she ran out of fuel.

"Throughout her life, she has had only two overhauls, collectively totaling less than three years in the shipyard -- a duration which submarines today routinely exceed for just one non-refueling overhaul.

"Even with that, as late as 1984, approaching 20 years service, Queenfish deployed to WestPac, steamed almost 50,000 miles across the Pacific and Indian oceans; from Hawaii to Yokosuka, Japan; from Yokosuka to the Arabian Sea; to Auckland, New Zealand; Guam and the Philippines.

"Fifty thousand miles, twice around the world in less than six months for a relatively old lady. I think it is safe to say that in terms of miles steamed per shipyard dollar spent, Queenfish has been a bargain.

"But economy is not the only measure by which this magnificent lady should be judged. She remains a legend in the Submarine Force for the operational successes she achieved.

"As we deactivate her today, she proudly flies six Navy Unit Commendations and three Meritorious Unit Commendations, making her the most highly decorated ship in the U.S. Navy.

"She earned these awards by deploying to the Western Pacific 11 times and to the Arctic on four occasions. She pioneered exploration of the polar regions and in 1967 became the first single screw ship to surface through the Arctic ice, a feat she was to duplicate at the North Pole a record three times.

Rest well. pretty lady

"She was awarded countless battle efficiency, departmental excellence and Golden Anchor awards. By any standard, Queenfish excelled -- truly not just the leader of her class, but the leader of all classes.

"As we look at Queenfish, and marvel at her accomplishments, there is a lesson for all of us. Queenfish succeeded because, as I have stated earlier, she filled so many voids in submarine capability which existed when she was commissioned; and because she was designed to expand and assume new roles as they developed.

"Throughout her life, every major combat system was replaced with an improved version; components were added; new equipment was loaded on board and an already capable ship was made even more capable.

"Compare this design philosophy to the next SSN class, the Los Angeles class, designed as a special purpose submarine rather than an all purpose submarine, with the lead ship of the class just half way through its design life, the ship's size precludes incorporating new additional improvements.

"Essentially we have reached the limit in the improvements we can make to that class. This is the transition to which I referred earlier. We are deactivating the first of a class of all purpose submarines before we are building its replacement, the SSN 21 Seawolf.

"We are therefore running the risk of transitioning from a submarine force comprised of all purpose submarines in an era where the future threat is both unknown and variable.

"But this is not solely a programmatic issue. If we are to obtain the SSN 21 and maintain our all purpose submarine capability, we as submariners must look at a ship like Queenfish, look at her performance against the threats of the sixties, as well as threats of the future and ensure we develop the tactics and strategies which will justify procurement of this expensive new platform

"It is no longer sufficient to oppose only a Soviet threat, because today that threat is not an extant treat, it is only a potential threat. We must find ways for all purpose submarines to deter and counter the Noriegas, Husseins and Ortegas of today's world.

"Just as Queenfish has done over the last 24 years, the SSN 21 is being designed to counter all potential threats through the middle of the next century, and we as operators need to be ready with the operational concepts and training to effectively employ her against those threats

"It is no longer sufficient to oppose only a Soviet threat, because today that threat is not an extant treat, it is only a potential threat. We must find ways for all purpose submarines to deter and counter the Noriegas, Husseins and Ortegas of today's world.

"Just as Queenfish has done over the last 24 years, the SSN 21 is being designed to counter all potential threats through the middle of the next century, and we as operators need to be ready with the operational concepts and training to effectively employ her against those threats.

"This is the legacy Queenfish leaves us. It is a legacy of unparalleled success against a wide variety of adversaries. As the leading all-purpose submarine of her day, she departs without relief and begs us to carry her success of the past into the future by being ready to meet all foes in the wide variety of scenarios ahead.

"For those of us who served on Queenfish, a little of us will die today as Queenfish is taken away and started down an irreversible path toward decommissioning.

"There is a special relationship that exists between a sailor and his ship, especially a successful ship such as Queenfish. Equipment alone does not do the job, neither do people alone. A positive relationship must exist between equipment and people -- a symbolic relationship which allows each to perform at top efficiency.

"As time passes, the effect of this relationship and its closeness becomes even more evident, because the effect is cumulative. That is to say, the ability of the crew and the ship to operate together at any given time influences the ship's performance throughout its entire life, until the ship operates at an equilibrium level which is difficult to alter and can only be changed over a long period of time.

"Queenfish's sustained outstanding performance is testimony to the closeness of that relationship throughout her life. The ship and its crew have been an integral part of each other for 24 years, and all of us justifiably take pride not only in what we have done during our tours on Queenfish, but also what has been done by those who preceded us as well as those who succeeded us.

"This feeling exists because we all have influenced our past, present and future shipmates. Those of us who worked so hard to be a part of that relationship cannot take today lightly. Past commanding officers, Jack Richard, Fred McLaren, George Lehmberg, Jim Harvey, Chip Joslin, Rich Virgilio and I all have a lump in our throat today as do Queenfish sailors like Force Master Chief Kikis and SUBPAC Staff Command Master Chief Smith.

"But as this ship retires, we know her memories will live beyond her, just like the memory of her most colorful, and perhaps her best commanding officer, Milo Daughters.

"I was privileged to serve as Milo's executive officer, then later as his relief on Queenfish, and sadly as commanding officer of the ship which carried his remains to sea. His tour on Queenfish exemplifies to me the record of this ship.

"Milo was aggressive, dynamic and charismatic. He made submarining fun and exciting. He was tactically brilliant, but knew when to take advice from his juniors. He made two extremely successful deployments on Queenfish and earned one of the Navy Unit Commendations the ship flies today.

"To those of us who knew him, we cherish the time we had with him knowing somehow, it was just not enough. Queenfish deactivates today, but not her memory and not the memory of sailors who served on her -- sailors like Milo Daughters.

"I ask you not to think of this deactivation as so much metal going to Pearl Harbor Naval shipyard. I ask you to look at her as a proud lady, gracefully retiring knowing that her job has been done well.

"I ask you to think of the transition this deactivation symbolizes, the potential transition from an all purpose force to a special purpose force.

" I ask you to look to the future to ensure our new submarines are fortified with operational concepts and tactics which reflect the new era we are entering just as Queenfish was fortified for the era in which she served.

"And finally, I would ask you to reflect on the accomplishments of this great, albeit tired lady -- she is truly the leader of her class and arguably the most productive and successful submarine in the post World War II era.

"Rest well, pretty lady; you have earned your peace. Know your labors have set the standard which others must meet. Let them try and match you. To those of us who have served on you, you remain the love of our lives, you will always be our lady."

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