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Guest Opinion | William Paparian: Will Victor Gordo Go Down With the USS Pasadena in 2025?

Published on Saturday, June 25, 2022 | 5:16 am

The USS Pasadena (SSN 752) returns to her homeport of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, following an eight-month deployment to the Western Pacific in 2003. [U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Benjamin D. Glass]
The United States Navy plans to recycle the USS Pasadena in 2025. Recycle is Navy speak for literally dismantling the ship and selling the parts of the pride of our city for scrap metal.

When the nuclear-powered fast attack submarine was commissioned the USS Pasadena in 1989 it became the third Navy ship to be named after the Crown City.

William Paparian (in sports jacket at right) and his wife and sons with the commanding officer of the U.S.S. Pasadena in 1995. Paparian was Mayor of Pasadena at the time. [Courtesy photo]
When the U.S. Marines raised our flag on top of Mt. Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima, there was another USS Pasadena offshore supporting our troops with her guns.

And she was there on September 1, 1945, in Tokyo Bar to witness the official surrender ceremony.

Since World War I, our Navy has had ships named after our city. But these things just don’t happen by themselves. When the current USS Pasadena was named, it was the culmination of a community-wide campaign of support helped in no small measure by the fact the late John Watkins, a Pasadena resident, was the brother of the Chief of Naval Operations. We don’t have John to help us this time around. It also took leadership from the Mayor of Pasadena at that time, my good friend Bill Thomson. A Cold War military veteran himself, Bill understood the importance of having a United States Navy ship named after our city.

In 2025 Victor Gordo’s four-year term as Mayor will be ending. Will he rise to the occasion and ensure that the legacy of the USS Pasadena continues? Or will he be recycled along with the USS Pasadena for scrap metal.

USS Pasadena’s insignia was created by Walt Disney and was based on a snapping turtle adopted by the crew which they named ‘Frumpy.’ The badge bears the submarine’s motto, ‘Anytime, Anywhere,’ putting in clear terms the crew’s readiness to fight anywhere in the world on short notice in the national interest. The red rose ties the submarin to the Rose Parade. The turtle pugilist harkens back to the SSN-752’s predeccesor, the Pasadena (CL-65), a World War II light cruiser that earned six battle stars.

Well, I have a few words of advice for you Mr. Mayor. First, don’t wait until the end of your term to do something. Pick up the phone today and contact the Pasadena Chapter of the Navy League and offer to help them. The next step should be to resurrect the USS Pasadena Foundation. Yes, funds will have to be raised. The next call should be to our lobbyists in Washington. You will need their help. Ask former Mayor Bill Thomson for guidance. He will help you. This task will not be easy, and you will have to call upon all your well-honed skills as an elected public official as you navigate the waters of our nation’s capital. Ask Adam Schiff and Judy Chu to help you.

Finally, there is the proposal that I made to establish a Pasadena Military and Veterans Commission. You have a constituency that will support you in this endeavor. It includes four former Mayors who are military veterans, the local chapters of the American Legion and Vietnam Veterans of America, and countless families for whom service to our country in the Armed Forces of the United States is an honored tradition.

Former Mayor Terry Tornek said it best when we welcomed home our Pasadena Marines from their most recent overseas deployment. He said, “Pasadena is known for many things, but people don’t often think of as a military town. But we are.” Terry’s right. We are a military town and Victor Gordo is our mayor. Let’s help him ensure that there will always be a USS Pasadena.

William Paparian is an attorney, former Mayor of Pasadena, and United States Marine Corps veteran

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One thought on “Guest Opinion | William Paparian: Will Victor Gordo Go Down With the USS Pasadena in 2025?

  • I agree with Former Mayor Paparian that Pasadena should strive to be the namesake of a next generation warship. Quite a number of years ago, when I was on the Pasadena City Council, I travelled on the USS Pasadena when it was re-bethed from Terminal Island to the submarine base in San Diego. When I was allowed to steer that extraordinary submarine for 20 minutes, those were unquestionably the most exciting 20 minutes of my eight years on the Council. America’s independence requires a robust defense based, among other things, on freedom of navigation everywhere in the world. As a world-renowned city, Pasadena should very much want to continue to be associated with that mission by continuing to be the namesake for a United States Ship, which is a small community — a small city — of American patriots. protecting our freedom on the high seas