Thank you for your kind invitation to speak at the banquet during the weekend celebration commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the commissioning of the USS BOSTON SSN703. Regrettably, I will not be able to attend. Please pass my best wishes to all USS BOSTON Shipmates, particularly those from SSN703.
I remember well the frantic pace during the last few months of BOSTON's construction. As the sixth submarine delivered to the Navy by Electric Boat in 1981, we had a slow period of construction while EB concentrated on USS PHOENIX SSN702. Once PHOENIX was delivered, the full weight of literally thousands of EB workers descended on us. BOSTON's crew had many responsibilities in testing and accepting systems from the shipyard, ensuring they were operating properly. Until we had accepted those systems, the ship could not go on sea trials. The intensity of this effort was directly proportional to the number of shipyard workers assigned to the ship.
The performance of everyone on our crew was magnificent. Days were long and liberty slim. Weekends were almost nonexistent. After system acceptance came sea trials: four different trials which were done in what was then record time. Sea trials were entirely the responsibility of the crew. They went flawlessly. When BOSTON moved up the Thames River to the Submarine Base a few days after Christmas, the "Christmas present" to the Navy was every bit as much due to the dedication and hard work of the crew as it was to the efforts of EB!
The pace slackened a little—but not much—during the hectic preparations for the ship's commissioning. Commissioning day went flawlessly—another superb tribute to the crew.
I was, and am, extremely proud of every member of BOSTON's crew.
I wish you a most memorable reunion, and I wish I could be with you.
Yours truly, J.M Barr RADM USN (Ret)