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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

San Francisco Slips Beneath the Waves -- But This Is a Good Thing

Posted By on Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge The U.S.S. San Francisco rides again - U.S. NAVY
  • U.S. Navy
  • The U.S.S. San Francisco rides again

Just as cranks who warn us we're playing with our lives for living in the natural disaster Mecca that is California predicted, San Francisco yesterday sank beneath the waves of the Pacific and headed for the bottom of the ocean.

But that's okay. San Francisco is a submarine.

The U.S.S. San Francisco -- and we'll leave it to you to make your own jokes about the Navy's decision to name a submarine after the nation's most gay-friendly city -- steamed out of Bremerton, Wash. yesterday en route for its new home port of San Diego. The 30-year-old sub had been docked in the Pacific Northwest for a three-and-a-half year rehabilitation following a near catastrophic 2005 accident in which it ran, full speed, into an undersea mountain near its old home port of Guam. That collision killed one sailor, injured 97 others, and gravely damaged the sub.

click to enlarge The U.S.S. San Francisco, shortly following its 2005 collision - U.S. NAVY
  • U.S. Navy
  • The U.S.S. San Francisco, shortly following its 2005 collision
While the Navy would probably be pleased if the U.S.S. San Francisco didn't embody many of the characteristics of its namesake city, it does, fittingly enough, stand as a triumph of recycling. The San Francisco's destroyed nose section was replaced with the salvaged nose of the decommissioned U.S.S. Honolulu (Incidentally, the San Francisco is a "Los Angeles-Class sub" -- and it just had a nose job. So that fits, too).

Sadly, also in line with San Francisco's spend-happy ways, the cost of replacing the sub's nose was $134 million -- up from an estimated 79 million in 2006.

Finally, unlike its namesake city, the commander in charge of the sub spends much of his time, literally, in San Francisco.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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