USS Sturgeon (SSN-637)

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For other ships of the same name, see USS Sturgeon.
Career (US)
Name: USS Sturgeon
Namesake: The sturgeon, a spiny-finned fish found in coastal waters of the western Atlantic from Cuba to Cape Cod
Ordered: 30 November 1961
Builder: General Dynamics Electric Boat, Groton, Connecticut
Laid down: 10 August 1963
Launched: 26 February 1966
Commissioned: 3 March 1967
Decommissioned: 1 August 1994
Struck: 1 August 1994
Honors and
awards:
Meritorious Unit Commendation 1968
Meritorious Unit Commendation 1969
Navy Unit Commendation 1970
Fate: Scrapping via Ship and Submarine Recycling Program completed 11 December 1995
Status: Recycled
General characteristics
Class & type: Sturgeon-class attack submarine
Displacement: 4,010 tons light,
4309 tons full,
  299 tons dead
Length: 89 m (292 ft)
Beam: 9.7 m (32 ft)
Draft: 8.8 m (29 ft)
Propulsion: S3G Core 3 reactor with a S5W Steam Plant
Speed: 25 knots
Complement: 14 officers, 95 men
Armament: Four 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes

USS Sturgeon (SSN-637), the lead ship of her class of nuclear-powered attack submarines, was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for the sturgeon.

Construction and commissioning[edit]

The contract to build Sturgeon was awarded to the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut, on 30 November 1961 and her keel was laid down there on 10 August 1963. She was launched on 26 February 1966, sponsored by Mrs. Everett Dirkson, the wife of United States Senator Everett Dirksen (1896–1969) of Illinois, and commissioned on 3 March 1967, with Commander Curtis B. Shellman, Jr., in command.

Service history[edit]

1968-1970[edit]

Sturgeon spent a month conducting refresher training and then began her shakedown cruise on 3 April 1967 down the United States East Coast and to Puerto Rico. She returned to Groton for repairs, alterations, maintenance, and training until 18 September 1967, when she departed on extended operations. She returned to port on 2 October 1967 and was transferred to Submarine Development Group 2. On 22 January 1968, she began a five-week antisubmarine warfare exercise to evaluate the relative effectiveness of Sturgeon-class and Permit class attack submarines.

Sturgeon began a three-month post-shakedown period of alterations and repairs on 3 March 1968. When the shipyard work was completed in June 1968, she participated in the search for the missing attack submarine USS Scorpion (SSN-589) in the vicinity of the Azores. She spent July and August 1968 preparing for overseas deployment, then was deployed from September to early November 1968. She participated in tests and evaluation of a new sonar detection device from December 1968 to February 1969. She visited the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, in March 1969 and then held an intensive training period for her crew before deploying from May to July 1969. In April 1969, she was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation for outstanding service during a period in 1968.

Sturgeon participated in fleet submarine exercises in August and September 1969 and in a project for the Chief of Naval Operations from 29 September to 31 October 1969. She was awarded a second Meritorious Unit Commendation, in December 1969, for her service during a period earlier in 1969. After training and preparation for another period at sea, she deployed from 29 January to 8 April 1970. In May and June 1970, she aided in evaluating aircraft antisubmarine warfare tactics and equipment. She spent the period from 1 July to 26 July 1970 in a submarine exercise, and from 15 August to 1 September 1970 in sound trials. On 5 October 1970 she began an overhaul at Groton which lasted until 5 October 1971. While in the shipyard in December 1970, Sturgeon was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for exceptionally meritorious service during a period earlier that year.

1971-1994[edit]

When Sturgeon completed her overhaul in October 1971, she was transferred to Submarine Squadron 10 based at New London, Connecticut. She held refresher training and completed a shakedown cruise from 6 October to 15 December 1971. The period from 16 December 1971 through 16 January 1972 was a leave and upkeep period. She then participated in two antisubmarine warfare exercises before returning to Groton for repairs and alterations from 6 March to 27 May 1972. She conducted sea trials until 15 July 1972, at which time she began a test on sonar systems which lasted until mid-December 1972.

Sturgeon spent the period from 1 January to 2 April 1973 conducting local operations in the Narragansett Bay area. On 3 April 1973, she departed for the Fleet Weapons Range in the Caribbean. On 21 May 1973, she ran aground near St. Croix in the United States Virgin Islands while making some 10 knots (18.5 kilometers per hour). She sustained damage to her bow and was forced to return to Groton on 4 June 1973 to repair the damage.

Sturgeon returned to sea for local operations from 17 July to 1 October 1973, when she entered the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard at Kittery, Maine, to effect bow repairs. She remained in the shipyard until 22 April 1974. After sea trials, she returned to her home port, New London, for a ten-day upkeep period. She operated from New London until 13 August 1974 when she departed for Norfolk, Virginia, to join other fleet units participating in Atlantic Readiness Exercise 1-75. She then returned to New London to hold local training exercises in preparation for an overseas movement.

Sturgeon stood out to sea on 29 November 1974, en route to the Mediterranean and a scheduled six-month deployment there with the United States Sixth Fleet. She arrived in the Mediterranean on 9 December 1974.

Decommissioning and disposal[edit]

Sturgeon was decommissioned on 1 August 1994 and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register the same day. Her scrapping via the Nuclear-Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard at Bremerton, Washington, was completed on 11 December 1995.

Commemoration[edit]

On 15 September 1995 at the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport, Washington, a ceremony commemorated the transfer of Sturgeon '​s sail from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. The sail is now located in the museum '​s parking lot. The control center is now on display at the Submarine Force Library Museum in Groton.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

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