Unknown Waters: A Firsthand Account of the Historic Under-Ice Survey of the Siberian Continental Shelf by USS Queenfish (SSN-651)

By Alfred S. McLaren | Go to book overview

4
Construction and Commissioning
of USS Queenfish (SSN-651)

General Dynamics in Groton, Connecticut, was the lead shipyard and builder of the new Sturgeon-class submarine and began construction on the first boat on 10 August 1963. Follow-on submarines of the class were either under construction or scheduled to be built between 1963 and 1975 at General Dynamics' shipyards in Groton, Connecticut, and Quincy, Massachusetts, and at other independent shipyards at Newport News, Virginia; Pascagoula, Mississippi; Portsmouth in Kittery, Maine; and Mare Island, California.

I had been assigned as officer-in-charge of the second of these new boats, Whale (SSN-638), since early summer of 1965, until it became increasingly obvious that her construction at General Dynamics' Quincy Division was falling behind schedule. I was therefore shifted as precommissioning executive officer of Whale to that of Queenfish, which was under construction at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Virginia. Dispatch orders came to me to report there in early November.

Queenfish's keel was laid on 11 May 1964, a full year and a half after that of the lead ship. She was the second submarine to be named after a small but beautiful metallic blue and silver fish of the Croaker family that lives along the California coast. The first was her illustrious World War II predecessor, USS Queenfish (SS-393). The first time I saw the new boat at the construction site during the fall of 1964, she was a huge dark shape behind a building-size tarp hanging in front, which prevented unwanted eyes from examining her more closely. Emblazoned on

-22-

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