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Recent History of U.S. Submarines

I will begin this story in the 1960's with the Thresher/Permit Class (SSN 593-SSN 621) and the subsequent Sturgeon Class (SSN 637-SSN 687)

The U.S. "lost" the USS Thresher in 1963 during a "deep dive test" when the hull gave way causing the boat to flood beyond recovery, so the name of the class actually was transferred to the USS Permit since the Thresher was the first of it's class. The USS Permit was the first submarine that was built with the new SUBSAFE program, a strong system of testing to ensure strength of the hulls, etc...

The U.S. Submarine force has grown and expanded and improved in the last 50 years with remarkable progress. In the mid 1970's, the U.S. Submarine Force transitioned again with technology with the advent of the Los Angeles Class fast attack submarines, and the Ohio Class Ballistic Submarines.

With the end of the Cold War, the end of the 1980's brought the newest flight of submarines, the SEAWOLF Class to the U.S. Submarine Force. Originally intended to be 29 submarines over 10 years, it was later reduced to a plan for 12. However, the entire fleet was cancelled in 1995 with only 3 boats built (USS Seawolf SSN 21, USS Connecticut SSN 22 and USS Jimmy Carter SSN 23).

The cancellation of the Seawolf class led to the U.S.' newest class of submarines, the Virginia Class. In 2003, the Virginia class of submarines began with USS Virginia SSN 774 and is about to commission their 8th submarine (USS California SSN 781) on 10/29/11.

When I joined the U.S. Navy in December, 1989 and subsequently the U.S. Submarine force in the Summer of 1990, I had no idea that Gulf War I was imminent and my service would be so "valuable" and memorable. I remember when my buddy John Barrier and I were in MS A School for cooking in the Navy and we were given the option to pursue service aboard submarines, we went down the road to Sub Base San Diego (where I would later spend much of my career). We were able to tour the USS Permit (SSN 594) and we both decided within minutes of that tour that we wanted to use our skills aboard submarines where we could cook entire meals for the entire crew of 100-120. We thought this much more challenging and fulfilling than making 3000-5000 portions of GRAVY or Dinner Rolls aboard an Aircraft Carrier.

I was unaware of the significance of the USS Permit in the history of U.S. Submarine Forces (more later). John and I both signed up for Sub School and proceed to Groton, Connecticut, where we would both pass with flying colors and be assigned to submarines. My friend John was from Olathe, KS (outside of Topeka) and really, really wanted to get orders to the USS Topeka. However, as fate would dictate, I finished first in our sub school class which gave me my choice of orders/duty station. I chose San Diego and was promptly given orders to the USS Topeka (SSN 754) which was in dry dock there in Groton preparing for final Sea Trials (before transition over to San Diego). Least to say, John was a little upset with me. It didn't help that he received orders to a Ballistic Sub out of Bremerton, Washington where it rains 300 days/year!

So, here is a quick summary of recent U.S. Submarine "classes", the boats in those classes and some links to "history" pages on Wikipedia.

ENJOY!!! ~ BILL

USS Thresher/Permit Class
1960's-1994
USS Sturgeon Class
1960's-2004
USS Los Angeles Class
1976-present
USS Ohio Class
1974-present
USS Virginia Class
2003-present


Virginia Class Diagram
USS Thresher SSN 593
USS Sturgeon SSN 637
USS Los Angeles SSN 688
USS Ohio SSGN 726
USS Virginia SSN 774
USS Permit SSN 594
USS Whale SSN 638
USS Baton Rouge SSN 689
USS Michigan SSGN 727
USS Texas SSN 775
USS Plunger SSN 595
USS Tautog SSN 639
USS Philadelphia SSN 690
USS Florida SSGN 728
USS Hawaii SSN 776
USS Barb SSN 596
USS Grayling SSN 646
USS Memphis SSN 691
USS Georgia SSGN 729
USS North Carolina SSN 777
USS Pollack SSN 603
USS Pogy SSN 647
USS Omaha SSN 692
USS Henry Jackson SSBN 730
USS New Hampshire SSN 778
USS Haddo SSN 604
USS Aspro SSN 648
USS Cincinnati SSN 693
USS Alabama SSBN 731
USS New Mexico SSN 779
USS Jack SSN 605
USS Sunfish SSN 649
USS Groton SSN 694
USS Alaska SSBN 732
USS Missouri SSN 780
USS Tinosa SSN 606
USS Pargo SSN 650
USS Birmingham SSN 695
USS Nevada SSBN 733
USS California SSN 781
USS Dace SSN 607
USS Queenfish SSN 651
USS New York City SSN 696
USS Tennessee SSBN 734
USS Mississippi SSN 782
USS Guardfish SSN 612
USS Puffer SSN 652
USS Indianapolis SSN 697
USS Pennsylvania SSBN 735
USS Minnesota SSN 783
USS Flasher SSN 613
USS Ray SSN 653
USS Bremerton SSN 698
USS West Virginia SSBN 736
USS North Dakota SSN 784
USS Greenling SSN 614
USS Sand Lance SSN 660
USS Jacksonville SSN 699
USS Kentucky SSBN 737
USS John Warner SSN 785
USS Gato SSN 615
USS Lapon SSN 661
USS Dallas SSN 700
USS Maryland SSBN 738
USS Illinois SSN 786
USS Haddock SSN 621
USS Gurnard SSN 662
USS LaJolla SSN 701
USS Nebraska SSBN 739
USS Washington SSN 787
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USS Hammerhead SSN 663
USS Phoenix SSN 702
USS Rhode Island SSBN 740
USS Colorado SSN 788
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USS Sea Devil SSN 664
USS Boston SSN 703
USS Maine SSBN 741
USS Indiana SSN 789
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USS Guitarro SSN 665
USS Baltimore SSN 704
USS Wyoming SSBN 742
USS South Dakota SSN 790
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USS Hawkbill SSN 666
USS City of Corpus Christi SSN 705
USS Louisiana SSBN 743
USS Delaware SSN 791
xxx
USS Bergall SSN 667
USS Albuquerque SSN 706
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SSN 792
xxx
USS Spadefish SSN 668
USS Portsmouth SSN 707
xxx
SSN 793
xxx
USS Seahorse SSN 669
USS Minn/St Paul SSN 708
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SSN 794
xxx
USS Finback SSN 670
USS Hyman Rickover SSN 709
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SSN 795
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USS Narwahl SSN 671
USS Augusta SSN 710
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SSN 796
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USS Pintado SSN 672
USS San Francisco SSN 711
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SSN 797
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USS Flyfish SSN 673
USS Atlanta SSN 712
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SSN 798
xxx
USS Trepang SSN 674
USS Houston SSN 713
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SSN 799
xxx
USS Bluefish SSN 675
USS Norfolk SSN 714
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SSN 800
xxx
USS Billfish SSN 676
USS Buffalo SSN 715
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SSN 801
xxx
USS Drum SSN 677
USS Salt Lake City SSN 716
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SSN 802
xxx
USS Archerfish SSN 678
USS Olympia SSN 717
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SSN 803
xxx
USS Silversides SSN 679
USS Honolulu SSN 718
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SSN 804
xxx
USS Redfish SSN 680
USS William H Bates
USS Providence SSN 719
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TBA SSN 805
xxx
USS Batfish SSN 681
USS Pittsburgh SSN 720
xxx
xxx
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USS Tunny SSN 682
USS Chicago SSN 721
xxx
xxx
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USS Parche SSN 683
USS Key West SSN 722
xxx
xxx
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USS Cavalla SSN 684
USS Oklahoma City SSN 723
xxx
xxx
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USS Glenard P. Lipscomb SSN 685
USS Louisville SSN 724
xxx
xxx
xxx
USS L. Mendel Rivers SSN 686
USS Helena SSN 725
xxx
xxx
xxx
USS Richard B Russell SSN 687
USS Newport News SSN 750
xxx
xxx
xxx
USS Richard B Russell SSN 687
USS Newport News SSN 750
xxx
xxx
xxx
688i Class>>>
USS San Juan SSN 751
<<<688i Class
xxx
xxx
xxx
USS Pasadena SSN 752
xxx
xxx
xxx
xxx
USS Albany SSN 753
xxx
xxx
xxx
xxx
USS Topeka SSN 754
xxx
xxx
xxx
xxx
USS Miami SSN 755
xxx
xxx
xxx
xxx
USS Scranton SSN 756
xxx
xxx
xxx
xxx
USS Alexandria SSN 757
xxx
xxx
xxx
xxx
USS Asheville SSN 758
xxx
xxx
xxx
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USS Jefferson City SSN 759
xxx
xxx
xxx
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USS Annapolis SSN 760
xxx
xxx
xxx
xxx
USS Springfield SSN 761
xxx
xxx
xxx
xxx
USS Columbus SSN 762
xxx
xxx
xxx
xxx
USS Santa Fe SSN 763
xxx
xxx
xxx
xxx
USS Boise SSN 764
xxx
xxx
xxx
xxx
USS Montpielier SSN 765
xxx
xxx
xxx
xxx
USS Charlotte SSN 766
xxx
xxx
xxx
xxx
USS Hampton SSN 767
xxx
xxx
xxx
xxx
USS Hartford SSN 768
xxx
xxx
xxx
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USS Toledo SSN 769
xxx
xxx
xxx
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USS Tucson SSN 770
xxx
xxx
xxx
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USS Columbia SSN 771
xxx
xxx
xxx
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USS Greenville SSN 772
xxx
xxx
xxx
xxx
USS Cheyenne SSN 773
xxx
xxx