Friends and family cheer Wednesday as they greet crewmembers from the attack sub La Jolla, which returned to Pearl Harbor following its final deployment. (MC1 Jason Swink / Navy)
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The attack submarine La Jolla pulled into Pearl Harbor Wednesday on a sunny day tinged with a sense of finality: The crew was bringing their sub home from its final deployment, a 6-month Western Pacific cruise.
“"The crew maintained the ship at sea and fought through all the ups and downs of being on deployment," said Master Chief Fire Control Technician Edward Brennan, the La Jolla’s chief of the boat, in a Navy newsstand release.
On their final cruise, the La Jolla steamed over 35,000 miles and visited Okinawa and Yokosuka; Sattahip, Thailand; Singapore; and Sepangar, Malaysia, according to the Submarine Force Pacific news release. The sub was underway 150 days of the 6-month cruise.
The sub is scheduled to be decommissioned Dec. 1, according to the inactivation schedule. But that will not be the end of the La Jolla. It will be converted into a moored training ship and permanently berthed at the Nuclear Power Training Unit in Charleston, S.C.
"Well past 20, 30, maybe 40 years from now, she'll still be doing a mission — training students, and that's great thing to be part of," said Cmdr. Kevin Roach, the sub’s commanding officer.