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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Patches contributed by Mike Smolinski

Spinax (SS-489) (SSR-489) (AGSS-489)

Radio Call Sign: November - Yankee - Echo - Sierra

Tench Class Submarine: Laid down, 14 May 1945, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME.; Launched 20 November 1945; Commissioned USS Spinax (SS-489), 20 September 1946; Designation changed to Radar Picket Submarine (SSR-489) 20 January 1948; Designated reverted to Fleet Snorkel Submarine (SS-489), 15 August 1959; Reclassified on 30 June 1969; Decommissioned and simultaneously struck from the Naval Register, 11 October 1969; Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 13 June 1972, to NASSCO, Terminal Is., CA for $ 107,910.00.
Partial data submitted by Ron Reeves, HTC, USNR (ret.) & Yves Hubert.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,570 t., Submerged: 2,414 t.; Length 311' 8"; Beam 27' 4"; Draft 15' 3"; Speed, Surfaced 20.25 kts, Submerged 8.75 kts; Cruising Range, 11,000 miles surfaced at 10kts; Submerged Endurance, 48 hours at 2kts; Operating Depth, 400 ft; Complement 7 Officers 69 Enlisted; Armament, ten 21" torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 5"/25 deck gun, two 20mm guns, two .30 cal. machine guns; Patrol Endurance 75 days; Propulsion, diesel-electric reduction gear with four Fairbanks Morse main generator engines, 5,400HP, Fuel Capacity, 113,510 gal., two Elliot Motor Co. main motors with 2,740HP, two 126-cell main storage batteries, two propellers.
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Spinax246kSpinax (SS-489) slides down the ways, 20 November 1945.Electric Boat photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
Spinax136kCommemorative launch tag on the occasion of Spinax's (SS-489) launching at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME., 20 November 1945. Photo courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
Spinax200k Spinax (SS-489) appears here on 26 October 1947.
After conducting operations in the Caribbean during the first part of the year, she returned to her home yard, Portsmouth (N.H.) Naval Shipyard, in May for an overhaul which lasted until the end of October. In addition to the installation of much radar and communication equipment, the work included the removal of her aft torpedo tubes, demilitarization of two forward tubes, installation of a snorkel system, and conversion of the after room into a combat information center. When she emerged from the yard, Spinax possessed the capabilities of a radar picket destroyer.
Text courtesy of DANFS.
U.S. Navy Photograph courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
Spinax249kSpinax (SS-489) probably appears here on 26 October 1947, one of a series of photos.U.S. Navy Photograph courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com, insert courtesy of David L. Gibbens, EMC(SS), USN, Ret.
Spinax1.60k Spinax (SSR-489) in 1947.Photo scanned by Ryan Crierie, via flickr, courtesy of Stephen Gower.
Cusk278k Cusk (SS-348) crew photo 1953.
The boat on the right of the picture (port side of Cusk) is the Spinax (SSR-489). The boat on the left of the photo (starboard side of Cusk) is harder to identify, but it might be the Carbonero (AGSS-337). The structure on the after deck looks a lot like a Loon missile launch ramp, and Carbonero was the only other boat equipped to fire this missile. However, other photos of Carbonero show the ramp mounted much closer to the conning tower fairwater; her installation was more temporary in nature than Cusk's and she lacked a water-tight hangar.
The Destroyer Hall (DD-583) can be seen in the right rear of the photo.
Photo courtesy of Vern Maxson, LCDR,USNR-R-RETIRED (SS). Text courtesy of Dave Johnston (USNR).
Nereus 63k Nereus (AS-17) with nine submarines;
Tunny (SSG-282),
Cusk (SS-348),
Carbonero(SS-337),
Tilefish (SS-307),
Spinax (SSR-489),
Rock (SSR-274),
Remora (SS-487),
Catfish (SS-339),
Volador (SS-490)
and the Submarine Rescue Vessel Florikan (ASR-9) moored alongside at San Diego for Subron Five's Change of Command, date unknown.
US Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine, November 1955, courtesy of Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
Spinax 159k The outboard boat is the Spinax (SSR-489). This photo was taken approximately 1956 and shows her unique 3rd out of four sail configurations. The rest of the boats can't be identified, but there are two Guppies and one Fleet Snorkel outboard of the Sperry (AS-12). USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofwwii.org. Text and photo I.D. courtesy of David Johnston (USNR).
MINSY328kThe Spinax (SSR-489) was in overhaul at Mare Island from June through October 1956 was followed by refresher training in the San Diego area. She appears here on the 27th of September, 1956.Text courtesy of DANFS.
US National Archives photo # 80G-1002813 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
MINSY304kStarboard broadside view of the Spinax (SSR-489), 27th of September, 1956. US National Archives photo # 80G-1002859 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
MINSY290kStarboard quarter view of the Spinax (SSR-489), 27th of September, 1956.US National Archives photo # 80G-1002860 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
MINSY362kPort side view of Spinax (SSR-489), 27th of September, 1956. US National Archives photo # 80G-1002810 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
MINSY279kStern view of the Spinax (SSR-489), 27th of September, 1956.US National Archives photo # 80G-1002814 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
MINSY311k Spinax (SSR-489) at Mare Island, 27th of September, 1956.US National Archives photo # 80G-1002858 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Spinax370kOverhaul at Mare Island from June through October 1956 was followed by refresher training in the San Diego area. Spinax (SS-489) was deployed to the western Pacific from 4 January to 1 July 1957 and again from 3 July to 16 December 1958. She appears here in 3 similiar views. Text courtesy of DANFS.
U.S. Navy Photograph courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com & US National Archives photos # 80G-1002811 & 80G-1002812 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Spinax102kSails of a different sort in the 1950's: Razorback (SS-394) is outboard, Spinax (SS-489) in center, British sub inboard. Photograph by Paul Lafrance, courtesy of John Hummel.
Spinax137kDrydocked during the 1950's.Photo courtesy of John Hummel.
Spinax130kSpinax (SSR-489) in color during the 1960's.Photo courtesy of Davis via John Hummel.
Spinax155kRadio in color aboard the Spinax (SSR-489) during the 1960's.Photo courtesy of Davis via John Hummel.
MINSY222kThe U.S. Navy Tench-class submarine Spinax (SSR-489) underway during exercises, in 1964. The destroyer Henderson (DD-785) is visible in the background and a Sikorsky SH-3A Sea King of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron HS-6 "Indians" is flying above Spinax. HS-6 was assigned to Carrier Anti-Submarine Air Group 53 (CVSG-53) aboard the aircraft carrier Kearsarge (CVS-33) for a deployment to the Western Pacific and Vietnam from 19 June to 16 December 1964.USN photo & text courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org via navysite.de via Robert Hurst.
MINSY485k Spinax (SSR-489) coming alongside the guided missile light cruiser Galveston (CLG-3), not visible, in 1965. Photograph taken by Gunnar Sedleniek. USN photograph via ussgalveston.org via Robert Hurst.
Photo added 10/13/13.
MINSY191kJohn F. (Jack) O'Connell was born in Plattsburg, NY, grew up in The Bronx, and attended the Naval Academy. He was introduced to his future wife in London by Lady Astor at a dance for visiting midshipmen, and later hitchhiked across country to San Francisco to see her. He served in an aircraft carrier and a heavy cruiser during the Korean War, then entered submarine duty. Served in five submarines based in San Diego and Hawaii, commanded Spinax (SSR-489), from 26.03.1966 to 04.11.1967. attended Naval Postgraduate School and earned a Masters Degree in Management. After duty in the Pentagon he commanded Submarine Division 41 in Charleston, SC. Submarine staff duty in Japan and Hawaii was followed by attaché training before reporting as Defense and Naval Attache Tokyo where he worked for Ambassador Mike Mansfield for three years. After retirement from the Navy as a Captain, he worked for Senator Robert Dole as a Legislative Assistant, then represented Raytheon in Tokyo as Patriot Missile Marketing Manager. He worked for Kapos Associates, involved in war gaming and operations analysis for ten years, before retiring for the second time in 1998. Since then he has divided his spare time between various Smithsonian museums, serving as a docent in American History and Air and Space, and handling Information Desk duties at American Indian. An interest in history led to research about WW II bombing theory and practice and to his first three books about air power in the 20th century. Challenged by a classmate to write about submarines, he turned out two books dealing with submarine operations in the 20th century. He has published articles in The Submarine Review and Air Power History magazine. He has authored several books on military subjects. Biography courtesy of Amazon Books via Bill Gonyo & Wolfgang Hechler.
Photo DN-SC-82-02993 via Bill Gonyo.
Photo added 10/13/13.
Spinax173kPortside view of the Spinax (SSR-489) in Pacific slime in Drydock at Yokosuka, Japan, 1968.Taken by Frank Bereznay SK2 (SS) via Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
Spinax108kStern view of the Spinax (SSR-489) in Drydock at Yokosuka, Japan, 1968.Taken by Frank Bereznay SK2 (SS) via Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com
Redfish32kSpinax (SS-489), Redfish (SS-395), and Volador (SS-490) nested alongside the Nereus (AS-17), at San Diego, date unknown.Courtesy of Patrick Householder.
MINSY425kSpinax (SSR-489) decommissioning at Mare Island on 11 October 1969. USN photo # 94881-10-69, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
MINSY1.10kCrew of the Spinax (SSR-489) decommissioning at Mare Island on 11 October 1969.USN photo # 94882-10-69, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
MINSY1.10kThe CO of the Spinax (SSR-489) receives her last flag during decommissioning ceremonies at Mare Island on 11 October 1969. USN photo # 94884-10-69, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Parche1.10kParche (SS-384) without her sail in the reserve fleet at Mare Island in December 1969; not only have the fairwater and shears been removed, but the whole conning tower! They planked over the space left by its removal, but you can still see the main air induction valve that is normally aft of the conning tower, and the gun access trunk that is normally forward of the conning tower.
The boat in the center is the Spinax (SSR-489). She has a unique sail configuration. The boat on the left could be the Bashaw (SS-241), but this is a guess. The decommissioned destroyer escort Jobb (DE-707) appears on her right.
USN photo # 95811-12-69, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker. Photo i.d. courtesy of Fred Willshaw & Dave Jonston (USNR).
Text courtesy of Dave Jonston (USNR).
Cusk652kDecommissioning ceremonies for the Picking (DD-685) at Reserve Fleet, Mare Island on 1 June 1970.
The submarines from left to right in the background are: Cusk (SSG-348), Rock (SS-274), Bashaw (SS-241), Spinax (SSR-489).
Photo i.d. courtesy of John Hummel.
USN photo courtesy of Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum via Fred Willshaw & Darryl L. Baker.
MINSY430k Seven inactive submarines at Mare Island on 30 April 1971.
Left to right: Cusk (SS-348), Rock (SS-274), Bashaw (SS-241), Spinax (SSR-489), Pomodon (SS-486), Medregal (SS-480), and Diodon (SS-349).
Photo by Ted Stone and negative given to the shipyard in 1995.
USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.

View the Spinax (SS-489)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site.
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation
Fleet Reserve Association

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
USS Spinax (SSR/SS-489)
Tench Class Submarines
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ

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