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Oklahoma City II (SSN-723)

1988–

The second U.S. Navy ship named for the capital city of Oklahoma. The first Oklahoma City, a light cruiser (CL-91), was reclassified to a guided missile light cruiser (CLG-5) on 23 May 1957, to a guided missile cruiser (CG-5) on 1 July 1975, and served (with some interruptions) from 1944–1979.

II

(SSN-723: displacement 6,200; length 362'; beam 33'; draft 31'; speed 25 knots; complement 110; armament UGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles, UGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and Mk 48 torpedoes -- four torpedo tubes; class Los Angeles)

The second Oklahoma City (SSN-723) was laid down on 4 January 1984 at Newport News, Va., by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.; launched on 2 November 1985; sponsored by Mrs. Linda L.M. Nickles, wife of Senator Donald L. Nickles, Okla.; and commissioned on 9 July 1988 at Naval Station (NS) Norfolk, Va., Cmdr. Kevin J. Reardon in command.

Oklahoma City, Cmdr. Richard C. Voter in command, and Norman Lady, a liquefied natural gas tanker registered with Leif Höegh & Co., en route to Trinidad, collided just east of the Strait of Gibraltar while the submarine surfaced while sailing from Italian waters for the United States at about 1330 on 13 November 2002. The impact damaged Oklahoma City’s sail, though neither vessel reported any casualties. The attack submarine completed repairs at La Madallena, Italy. Rear Adm. Kirkland H. Donald, Commander Submarine Group 8, relieved Cmdr. Voter of his command on 29 November, and Capt. Howard F. Reese, Commander Submarine Squadron 22, assumed command until Cmdr. Ronald A. LaSalvia relieved Reese on 3 December. Two days later, Oklahoma City resumed her voyage, returning to Norfolk on 18 December and in time for Christmas.

Oklahoma City II (SSN-723) 1988-050120-N-5268S-003
A brightly festooned Oklahoma City returns to NS Norfolk following a six-month deployment, 20 January 2005. During her voyage, the attack submarine circumnavigates North America by slipping under the Arctic, steams in the Pacific, and returns to the Atlantic by passing through the Panama Canal. (JO2 Christina M. Shaw, U.S. Navy Photograph 050120-N-5268S-003, Navy NewsStand)

The Voyage Management System (VMS), a combination of digital charts, constant global positioning system fixes, environmental sensors, and electronic command and control, was installed in Oklahoma City during 2007. The VMS streamlined the boat’s navigation and saved space by replacing the paper charts with electronic scans on compact discs.

Oklahoma City II (SSN-723) 1988-070406-N-8655E-001
An Oklahoma City sailor familiarizes himself with the VMS while the submarine lies moored at NS Norfolk, 6 April 2007. (MCSN Kelvin Edwards, U.S. Navy Photograph 070406-N-8655E-001, Navy NewsStand)

The increasingly veteran submarine deployed to the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Arabian Gulf (May–November 2007). Following Oklahoma City’s return to the United States, she carried out the usual post-deployment voyage repairs, upkeep, and training, and then (May–July 2008) set out on a counter-narcotics patrol in the Eastern Pacific, where she proved instrumental in the interception and seizure of nearly 11 metric tons of cocaine valued at $1.5 billion. Cmdr. Aaron M. Thieme relieved Cmdr. Louis E. Mayer IV, as the commanding officer on 22 November 2008.

Oklahoma City forward deployed to Naval Base Guam, reaching the island on 3 March 2011, where she subsequently relieved attack submarine City of Corpus Christi (SSN-705) — which in turn shifted to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hi. Oklahoma City commenced operating with Submarine Squadron 15.

Detailed history pending.

Mark L. Evans
3 January 2018

Published: Wed Jan 03 13:44:34 EST 2018