USS Hawkbill (SSN-666)

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USS Hawkbill (SSN-666) off Southern California on 1 February 1991
United States
NameUSS Hawkbill (SSN-666)
NamesakeMisspelling carried over from previous ship of the name (USS Hawkbill (SS-366)) of "hawksbill", a large sea turtle
Ordered18 December 1964
BuilderMare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California
Laid down12 September 1966
Launched12 April 1969
Sponsored byMrs. Bernard F. Roeder
Commissioned4 February 1971
Decommissioned15 March 2000
Stricken15 March 2000
  • "The Devil Boat"
  • "Devilfish"
FateScrapping via Ship and Submarine Recycling Program begun 15 March 2000, completed 1 December 2000
General characteristics
Class and typeSturgeon-class attack submarine
  • 4,002 long tons (4,066 t) light
  • 4,294 long tons (4,363 t) full
  • 292 long tons (297 t) dead
Length292 ft (89 m)
Beam32 ft (9.8 m)
Draft29 ft (8.8 m)
Installed power15,000 shp (11,000 kW)
PropulsionOne S5W nuclear reactor, two steam turbines, one screw
  • 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) surfaced
  • 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph) submerged
Test depth1,300 ft (400 m)
Complement109 (14 officers, 95 enlisted men)
Armament4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes

USS Hawkbill (SSN-666), a Sturgeon-class attack submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the hawksbill, a large sea turtle. The name perpetuated the inadvertent misspelling of "hawksbill" in the naming of the first ship of that name, USS Hawkbill (SS-366), a Balao-class submarine launched in 1944. USS Hawkbill (SSN-666) was the eighteenth of 39 Sturgeon-class nuclear-powered submarines that were built.

Hawkbill was sometimes called "The Devil Boat" or the "Devilfish" because of her hull number (666), from chapter 13 of the Book of Revelation, in the Bible's New Testament, which begins "And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea...." and ends "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six;" and the resulting association in Christianity of the number 666 with the Devil and the Antichrist.[citation needed]

Construction and commissioning[edit]

The contract to build Hawkbill was awarded to the Mare Island Division of San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California, on 18 December 1964 and her keel was laid down there on 12 September 1966. She was launched on 12 April 1969, sponsored by Mrs. Bernard F. Roeder, the wife of Vice Admiral Bernard F. Roeder, Commander United States First Fleet, and commissioned on 4 February 1971.[citation needed]

Service history[edit]

In 1982, Hawkbill completed a scheduled overhaul of her reactor core at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard at Bremerton, Washington, with her crew berthed at Naval Submarine Base Bangor at Bangor, Washington. After sea trials and sound trials and port visits to Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada; Alameda, California; and San Diego, California, Hawkbill returned to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, commanded by Fred Crawford, where she joined Submarine Squadron ONE.[citation needed]

In 1983, Hawkbill made a Western Pacific cruise, under the command of George Roletter, with stops at Yokosuka, Japan; Subic Bay, the Philippines; and Hong Kong.[citation needed]

Hawkbill made a dependent cruise from Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii to home port in Pearl Harbor. In early 1984, Hawkbill deployed to the Arctic, undertaking an 87-day excursion under the polar ice cap which included visits to Chinhae, South Korea; and Guam. Hawkbill earned two Battle Efficiency "E" awards from Submarine Squadron ONE during this period.[citation needed]

Hawkbill was decommissioned on 15 March 2000, the last of the "short-hull" Sturgeon-class attack submarines to be decommissioned, and that same day both was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register and entered the Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for scrapping. Her scrapping was completed on 1 December 2000.[citation needed]


Sail of SSN-666 on display in Arco, Idaho

Hawkbill's sail was preserved and is exhibited in the Idaho Science Center in Arco, Idaho.


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