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USS Kamehameha (SSBN 642)

- later SSN 642 -
- decommissioned -


Commissioned as a ballistic missile submarine in December 1965, the USS KAMEHAMEHA completed a total of 63 deterrent patrols in this function. KAMEHAMEHA's missile systems were inactivated in July 1992 and she was converted to a special purpose, brown water attack submarine at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California. This conversion installed modifications to support the surfaced and submerged deployment of Special Operations Forces. The KAMEHAMEHA served 8 years in this new role. Inactivation of KAMEHAMEHA started in October 2001 at Bremerton, Wash., before the submarine was both decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list on April 2, 2002. KAMEHAMEHA went through the Navy’s Nuclear Powered Ship and Recycling Program at Bremerton, Wash. from October 2001 - February 2003. On February 28, 2003, recycling was completed.

The KAMEHAMEHA was named after Kamehameha the Great, the warrior and statesman who first united the Hawaiian Islands under a single ruler.

During her 36 years of service, the KAMEHAMEHA was awarded the following awards: 63 awards of the SSBN Deterrent Patrol Pin, four Meritorious Unit Commendations, three Battle Efficiency Awards, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and at least three Sea Service Deployment Ribbons. More awards may have been given, but these are the only ones with proof shown aboard ship. In addition, USS Kamehameha proudly displays one Communications "C", three Deck Seamanship "D", one Tactical "T", and one Medical "M" awards. The ship has also received several Ney Awards for supply excellence.

General Characteristics:Awarded: August 8, 1963
Keel laid: July 7, 1964
Launched: October 23, 1965
Commissioned: December 16, 1966
Decommissioned: March 9, 1995
Builder: Mare Island Division, San Francisco Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, Calif.
Propulsion system: one S5W nuclear reactor
Propellers: one
Length: 425 feet (129.6 meters)
Beam: 33 feet (10 meters)
Draft: 31.5 feet (9.6 meters)
Displacement: Surfaced: approx. 7,250 tons
Submerged: approx. 8,250 tons
Speed: Surfaced: 16 - 20 knots
Submerged: 22 - 25 knots
Armament as SSBN: 16 vertical tubes for Polaris or Poseidon missiles, four 21" torpedo tubes for Mk-48 torpedoes, Mk-14/16 torpedoes, Mk-37 torpedoes and Mk-45 nuclear torpedoes
Armament as SSN: four 21" torpedo tubes for Mk-48 torpedoes
Crew as SSBN: 13 Officers and 130 Enlisted (two crews)
Crew as SSN: 14 Officers, 15 Chief Petty Officers, 121 Enlisted + about 70 special forces personnel


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Crew List:

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS KAMEHAMEHA. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.


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Accidents aboard USS KAMEHAMEHA:

DateWhereEvents
December 14, 1974central MediterraneanUSS KAMEHAMEHA strikes submerged fishing gear during independent exercises in the Mediterranean. Deep hull scrapes on the port side, a sheared underwater log sword, and a damaged screw result. The KAMEHAMEHA returns to port under her own power for repairs.


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History of USS KAMEHAMEHA:

KAMEHAMEHA was built at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. She was commissioned on 10 December 1965 and was the 30th of America's "41 for Freedom" Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines. Mrs. Samuel Wilder King served as the ship's sponsor at the launching. Her husband was one of the first Hawaiians to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy, was Governor of the territory of Hawaii, and strived for Hawaiian statehood.

After commissioning, KAMEHAMEHA joined Submarine Squadron 15 at its forward base in Guam, Marianas Islands. The ship was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for operations while a member of Submarine Squadron 15.

In July 1969, the ship was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet and joined Submarine Squadron 18 in Charleston, South Carolina. In July 1971, KAMEHAMEHA was transferred to Groton, Connecticut for weapons conversion and a refueling overhaul.

Upon completion of the conversion and overhaul in October 1972, KAMEHAMEHA conducted operations off the east coast of the United States. In June 1973, she joined Submarine Squadron 16 and made patrols out of Rota, Spain. Six years later, in July 1979, KAMEHAMEHA joined Submarine Squadron 18 and made patrols out of Charleston, South Carolina.

The ship was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for operations in 1984 and 1985 as a member of Submarine Squadron 14. In 1985, KAMEHAMEHA was selected as the Atlantic Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine Top Performer.

KAMEHAMEHA underwent a refueling overhaul at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard from November 1986 to December 1989.

After completing a total of 63 deterrent patrols, KAMEHAMEHA's missile systems were inactivated in July 1992 and she was converted to a special purpose, brown water attack submarine at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California. This conversion installed modifications to support the surfaced and submerged deployment of Special Operations Forces. Installtions included the Advanced Submarine Delivery System (ASDS) used to deploy SEAL Delivery Vehicles (SDV). In August 1993, KAMEHAMEHA arrived in Pearl Harbor to become part of Submarine Squadron ONE.

KAMEHAMEHA then regularly deployed in support of special warfare objectives throughout the Pacific. Inactivation of KAMEHAMEHA started in October 2001, after the submarine returned from its initial six-month Western Pacific Deployment (WESTPAC). During this deployment, the KAMEHAMEHA became the first submarine to successfully visit Jordan. USS KAMEHAMEHA was decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list on April 2, 2002.


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