The History of a Great Ship

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The USS TECUMSEH (SSBN628) was the eleventh of the Lafayette Class Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines and the second United States warship of the same name. The first TECUMSEH, a single turret monitor was launched on 12 September 1863 and was lost to a Confederate torpedo in the Battle of Mobile Bay on 5 August 1864. The last TECUMSEH was approximately 425 feet long, 33 feet wide and had a surface displacement of about 7,000 tons. She had four torpedo tubes forward and a main battery of 16 Polaris missiles stored in eight pairs of vertical launch tubes.

TECUMSEH normally had two crews, designated BLUE and GOLD, of about 133 enlisted men and 14 officers each. The two crews alternated as onboard crew's for the ships deferent patrols, in order to maximize at sea target coverage time.

After commissioning in May 1964, TECUMSEH made twenty one patrol in the Pacific. She sailed from of Apra Harbor, Guam under Commander Submarine Squadron FIFTEEN.

In the fall of 1969, TECUMSEH transited the Panama Canal and entered the shipyard at Newport New, Virginia for Poseidon conversion overhaul. The conversion was completed in February of 1971. TECUMSEH then deployed from Holy Loch, Scotland under Commander Submarine Squadron FOURTEEN.

After its forty fourth patrol, TECUMSEH conducted an extensive overhaul at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, New Hampshire from 1977 to 1979. Upon completion of the overhaul, TECUMSEH was assigned to Commander Submarine Squadron EIGHTEEN in Charleston, South Carolina.

In 1982 TECUMSEH was selected as the Atlantic Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine Outstanding Performance Award winner. The Secretary of the Navy additionally recognized TECUMSEH by the award of Meritorious unit commendation for sustained superior performance.

TECUMSEH conducted a nuclear refueling overhaul at Newport News Shipyard and Drydock Company, Newport New, Virginia from April 1984 to November 1986. Following demonstration and shakedown operations, TECUMSEH returned to Submarine Squadron EIGHTEEN where she received two Battle Efficiency "E"s for the fiscal years 1988 and 1989.

On December 19,1991 TECUMSEH combined crews after completing 73 strategic deferent patrols. During the remainder of her life as a warship, TECUMSEH carried out many of the same missions assigned to Attack Submarines.

TECUMSEH was Deactivated in ceremonies honoring 28 years of commissioned service on Saturday 21 November 1992 at Mike Pier, Naval Base, Charleston, South Carolina.

The ceremony held today is a tribute to the ship preparing for her decommissioning, the time honored end to a ship's life. As if decommissioning, the ship's colors and commissioning pendant are hauled down and the watches secured. The solemn ceremony where the commissioning pendant, ensign and jack are hauled down for the last time is a dedication to the total operational success of the ship and the men who sailed her.
In January 1993, TECUMSEH departed Charleston, sailed by the combined crew, for the last time, passed thru the Panama Canal and reentered the Pacific Ocean for the last time and headed for Bremerton, Washington where she was decommissioned on July 23, 1993 and was later scrapped. Her #1 and #3 torpedo tubes remain in the Key Port Submarine Museum, Key Port, Washington.
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Chris Nailon, topside on the last maneuvering watch.

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Going through the Panama canal
Seal boat ahead and half way point