The third U.S. Navy ship named for the city in north central Alabama, the seat of government for Jefferson County.
(SSN-695: displacement 6,159; length 362'; beam 33'; draft 32'; speed 25 knots; complement 110; armament UGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles, UUM-44 SubRoc antisubmarine missiles, UGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and Mk 48 torpedoes, four torpedo tubes; class Los Angeles)
The third Birmingham (SSN-695) was laid down on 26 April 1975 at Newport News, Va., by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.; launched on 29 October 1977; sponsored by Mrs. Maryon P. Allen, wife of Senator James B. Allen of Ala.; footage taken during her commissioning trials was used in the motion picture The Hunt for Red October [released in 1990]; and she was commissioned on 16 December 1978, Capt. Paul L. Callahan in command.
Birmingham blows her main ballast tank and dramatically surfaces. Submarines “blow” their main ballast tanks by forcing high-pressure air into the tanks, forcing ballast water from them and thus lightening the boats so they can surface rapidly. (Unattributed or dated U.S. Navy photograph, Project Management Challenge, Naval Sea Systems Command)
Birmingham deployed to the Western Pacific, as part of a battle group formed around aircraft carrier Nimitz (CVN-68) on 27 November 1995. The group, that at times also included guided missile cruiser Port Royal (CG-73), guided missile destroyer Callaghan (DDG-994), destroyer Oldendorf (DD-972), guided missile frigate Ford (FFG-54), submarine Portsmouth (SSN-707), oiler Willamette (AO-180) and ammunition ship Shasta (AE-33), operated in the South China Sea before Christmas.
Birmingham was inactivated at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Hi., on 27 March 1997, and decommissioned and stricken there on 22 December 1997. The Navy began recycling the submarine -- to dismantle and dispose of her -- at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash., on 1 October 2012.
Former crewmen stand next to Birmingham’s sail with Rear Adm. John King, Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime Commander, after the ribbon cutting ceremony to open the Mission Park at Defense Supply Center, Columbus, Ohio, 23 September 2015. Note the awards and ribbons painted onto her sail. (Charles A. Morris, U.S. Navy Photograph 150923-D-LC637-004, Photo Gallery, Defense Logistics Agency)
Detailed history pending.
Mark L. Evans
8 January 2016