A Time for Everything
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
A short distance from where I am sitting, the hull of the submarine that bore the name USS Pittsburgh is quietly resting in the waters of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. She has joined many of her sister ships to wait for final disposal. Three of my previous boats went there many years ago and I recently read that at some point the Ohio will join them. San Francisco has an extension on life as it is prepared to be a Moored Training Ship.
Eventually Pittsburgh will be decommissioned although that is really just a formality at this point. She has already begun the process of removing all that needs removed until that day comes. Then the name will go back into the drawer and wait for another ship that the Navy graces with the honorable title of USS Pittsburgh.
The Captain and crew will receive new assignments and go on to new adventures. So will I. At the end of this month, I will give up the reigns of the Pittsburgh Council of the United States Navy League and let the new leadership plot a new course. It was an honor to help serve the boat and the Navy but I am in need of a break.
I thank all those that supported me. I tried to do my best. It came at a cost, just as any leadership position does.
My last official act as President in regards to the boat was to participate in the inactivation ceremony. I was honored to help. This is a copy of the written proclamation I penned for the event:
The Heart of Steel Will Live Forever
On behalf of the men and women of the Pittsburgh Council of the United States Navy League, congratulations to the Officers and Men of the USS Pittsburgh SSN 720 for completing the last mission.
For thirty five years, we have enjoyed a unique partnership that has few parallels. It has been our honor so serve you and your families for all of those years. We have shared joys and concerns, laughter and tears, and our hearts are forever entwined with a shared service to a great Nation.
Thank you Captain Deichler for being such an outstanding friend. The Pittsburgh Council wants you to know that you will always have a home to come back to when your days serving the country are through.
God Bless all of the men who have sailed on this Mighty Ship of Steel
Robert W. MacPherson
President, Pittsburgh Council
United States Navy League
It was great meeting so many people who served on the boat. Your service mattered. I wish you all the very best.