USS Miami nuke sub forced into retirement after worker-set fire
KITTERY, Maine — The Navy said farewell on Friday to the USS Miami, the nuclear-powered submarine whose service was cut short when a shipyard employee trying to get out of work set it on fire, causing $700 million in damage.
The somber deactivation ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard marked the beginning of an inglorious end: The submarine will be towed to the West Coast to be cut up for scrap metal.
Rear Adm. Ken Perry, commander of the submarine Group Two in Groton, Conn., where the sub was based, acknowledged the disappointment over its premature retirement but told the crowd they were there to celebrate Miami and its crew members for nearly 24 years of service.
“This is a tribute,” he said. “This is a celebration of the ship's performance and the superb contributions to the nation's defense and this is how we're going to treat it. So I expect to see some smiles out there.”
Perry praised the ship's performance over more than a dozen deployments that included clandestine undersea warfare missions and back-to-back deployments in which it fired cruise missiles in Iraq and in Serbia, earning the nickname “Big Gun.”
After the fire, the Navy originally intended to return the ship to the fleet next year after extensive repairs. But it decided to scrap the submarine when estimated repair costs grew substantially above a $450 million estimate.
Instead, shipyard workers will remove nuclear fuel and ship it to a federal repository in Idaho. They will make enough repairs so the submarine can be towed to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Washington state, where it will be cut up for scrap. The estimated cost of the sub's inactivation is $54 million.
The Los Angeles-class submarine was damaged at the hands of a shipyard worker who set a fire in May 2012.
Seeking an excuse to leave work early, Casey James Fury set fire to a box of rags on a bunk, and the blaze quickly spread. Fury pleaded guilty and is serving a 17-year sentence in federal prison.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ohio got DEA approval to import lethal-injection drugs
- Santorum charter flight tab broke $400K
- Lion cubs jump hurdles in Gaza Strip in journey to Jordan sanctuary
- Solar-powered plane crosses Pacific Ocean
- Suspect in San Francisco pier shooting was deported 5 times, federal authorities say
- Missouri spells out eating disorder coverage for insurers
- Record-breaking solar-powered plane lands in Hawaii after flight from Japan
- Instances of hacking may be up, but indictments against Chinese military impactful, experts say
- Hiring freeze, budget cuts put West Virginia on better footing
- Northwest wildfire season begins early
- Diebold, heirs of Prohibition agent Ness squabble over stock find