USS Jack (SSN-605)

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USS Jack (SSN-605).jpg
USS Jack (SSN-605), probably during sea trials off New England in 1967.
United States of America
Name: USS Jack
Namesake: The jack, a name of various types of fish
Ordered: 13 March 1959
Builder: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
Laid down: 16 September 1960
Launched: 24 April 1963
Sponsored by: Mrs. Grace Groves
Commissioned: 31 March 1967
Decommissioned: 11 July 1990
Struck: 11 July 1990
Motto: We try harder!
Fate: Recycling via Ship-Submarine Recycling Program completed 30 June 1992
Status: Recycled
General characteristics
Class and type: Permit-class submarine
Displacement: 3,968 tons surfaced
Length: 297 ft 4 in (90.63 m)
Beam: 31 ft 7 in (9.63 m)
Draft: 25 ft 4 in (7.72 m)
Propulsion: S5W reactor
Speed: More than 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Complement: 95 officers and men
Armament: 4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes

USS Jack (SSN-605), a Permit-class submarine in commission from 1967 to 1990, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the jack, a name of fish applied to any young pike, large California rockfish, or green pike or pickerel. She saw extensive service during the Cold War.

Construction and commissioning[edit]

The contract to build Jack was awarded to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, on 13 March 1959 and her keel was laid down there on 16 September 1960. She was launched on 24 April 1963, sponsored by Mrs. Grace Groves, the wife of Lieutenant General Leslie R. Groves, who had been the head of the Manhattan Project. She was commissioned on 31 March 1967, with Commander Louis T. Urbanczyk, Jr., in command. The principal speaker at her commissioning ceremony was Rear Admiral James F. Calvert, USN, who served with distinction in the Pacific during World War II on Jack's predecessor, the submarine USS Jack (SS-259).

Jack was a variation on the standard Permit-class design. She was 20 feet (6.1 m) longer than her sisters and used an experimental direct-drive plant with two contra-rotating propellers on concentric shafts.

While Jack was under construction, her pre-commissioning crew won the annual Portsmouth Naval Shipyard "Admiral's Trophy" in 1966 for overall excellence in athletic competition during 1965. Jack was the first submarine to win the trophy.[citation needed]

Operational history[edit]

Early career[edit]

Upon commissioning, JACK was assigned to Commander Submarine Squadron 10 in New London, Connecticut. Jack spent her entire career assigned to Squadron 10. After a shakedown cruise in the Caribbean, Jack took her place in the operational fleet.


On 22 June 1968, Commander David G. Smith relieved Commander Urbanczyk of command of Jack at State Pier in New London, Connecticut.

In September and October 1968, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) held Exercise Silver Tower, its largest combined naval exercise since 1964. The exercise – one of a series of major maritime exercises designed to test NATO plans and defenses under simulated battle conditions – brought together aircraft and about 200 ships from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, the United States, and West Germany, including destroyers and frigates from NATO's new multinational Standing Naval Force Atlantic. Soviet Navy ships shadowed the exercise, which depicted an imaginary threat to Norway posed by political and military pressure from an adversary nation called "Orange." During Silver Tower, Jack very successfully demonstrated the capabilities of a modern nuclear submarine, playing the role of an "Orange" submarine opposing both underway replenishment groups and a large aircraft carrier task force, and she claimed a simulated sinking tonnage of 319,000 displacement tons; during all of World War II, the three top-scoring United States Navy submarines – USS Flasher (SS-249), USS Rasher (SS-269), and USS Tang (SS-306) – had sunk a combined total of just over 293,956 gross register tons of enemy merchant shipping and displacement tons of enemy warships. After the exercise, when key representatives from each participating ship assembled in the United Kingdom at Rosyth Dockyard in Rosyth, Scotland, for a presentation of the results of the exercise, Jack received special mention as a result of her outstanding performance during the exercise.[citation needed]

After the conclusion of Silver Tower, Jack returned to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard late in 1968 for a four-month post-shakedown shipyard availability.


Completing the availability in March 1969, Jack participated in a Caribbean training exercise, Exercise Springboard. As a result of Jack's performance during the exercise, her weapons department was awarded the Battle Efficiency "E" for fire control excellence.[citation needed]

Later in 1969, Jack was assigned a secret special operation. The performance of the crew during that operation resulted in the following letter from the Chief of Naval Operations:[citation needed]

<quoteblock> "The Secretary of the Navy takes pleasure in presenting the Meritorious Unit Commendation to USS JACK (SSN-605) for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

"For meritorious service during a period in 1969 in conducting an important and arduous independent submarine operation. In successfully completing the operation, USS JACK achieved significant results of great importance to the national defense of the United States. These results were attained primarily through the professional skills, resoursefulness, and teamwork of USS JACK's officers and men. Their dedication to the fulfillment of a vital and difficult assignment reflects credit upon themselves and the United States Naval Service. All personnel attached to and servind on board USS JACK (SSN-605) during the period of this citation are hereby authorized to wear the Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon.

"For the Secretary, /s/ T. H. Moorer, Admiral, United States Navy, Chief of Naval Operations." </quoteblock>

Jack later received a second Meritorious Unit Commendation.[when?][citation needed] On 26 June 1969 Jack tested the performance of an armed Mark 16 torpedo by sinking a target ship, the decommissioned destroyer escort USS Snowden (DE-246).[citation needed]


During the summer of 1970, while Jack was engaged in midshipmen training at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, she was awarded the Battle Efficiency "E" by Commander, Submarine Force, Atlantic.[citation needed]


On 11 February 1971, Jack arrived at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to begin an extensive, 12-month overhaul.[citation needed]


In early 1972, toward the end of her overhaul, the United States Atlantic Fleet's Operational Reactor Safeguards Examining Board inspected Jack. The board conducted interviews of crew members, observed operational drills, examined records, and tested the knowledge of crew members. Upon completion of the inspection, Jack received the highest grade awarded by the fleet commander's examining board.[citation needed]

On 22 July 1972, Commander Thomas F. Wiener relieved Commander David G. Smith as commanding officer of Jack. Shortly thereafter, Jack deployed to the Mediterranean.[citation needed]


From October 1975 to January 1977, the ship was given a major overhaul, including main engine overhaul and refueling, at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine. During sea trials in the North Atlantic, state six seas allowed a rush of seawater to travel down the induction mast, overflowing the induction sump and into the battery breaker room. This caused an explosion and fire. Several people were injured; according to HM1 Rodger Burdock, "one sonar tech had his ear drums totally sucked out by a bad valve line up for venting." Despite the accident, the ship passed sea trials and traveled to Groton, Connecticut. Continuing on to sound trials, mark 48 weapons certification, and various training missions during '77–'78, the ship suffered a main engine failure off the coast of North Carolina, and had to be towed back to Groton.


On 27 April 1981, Jack was moored alongside the amphibious transport dock USS Trenton (LPD-14) in heavy swells at Alexandria, Egypt, when she collided with Trenton. Both ships suffered slight damage.[citation needed]


Near the end of September 1982, Jack went to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine for a 27-month overhaul. In April 1983, while in dry dock, she suffered a casualty. While conducting a hydrostatic test of the oxygen banks, the shipyard was using Freon (R-12) as the fluid to conduct the test (the Freon would leave no residue and potential contamination in the O2 banks upon evaporation after the test). One of the shipyard workers was unable to get out of the engineering space in time, and succumbed to the oxygen deprivation effects of the Freon and was not able to be revived.[1]

Decommissioning and disposal[edit]

Jack was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 11 July 1990. She entered the Nuclear-Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program in Bremerton, Washington.[when?] Recycling was completed on 30 June 1992.


  1. ^ "A Kittery Naval Shipyard worker was killed and 10…". UPI. 5 April 1983.

External links[edit]