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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Contributed by Mike Smolinski

Shark (SSN-591)
Keel Laying - Commissioning

Radio Call Sign: November - Oscar - Kilo - Mike

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Service - Decommissioning


Skipjack Class Attack Submarine: Laid down, 24 February 1958, at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, VA.; Launched, 16 March 1960; Commissioned, USS Shark (SSN-591), 9 February 1961; Decommissioned and simultaneously struck from the Naval Register, 15 September 1990; Final Disposition, transferred to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, 1 October 1995 for disposed through NPSSRP (Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, WA., completed 28 June 1996.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 2,880 t., Submerged: 3,500 t.; Length 251' 9"; Beam 32'; Draft 28 ft.; Speed, Surfaced 15 kts, Submerged 30+ kts; Depth Limit 700'; Complement 118; Combat Systems, Sonar, BQR-12, BQR-2 passive, BQS-4 (modified) active/passive; Radar BPS-12; Fire Control, MK-101 torpedo FCS, ASW MK-48; Armament, six 21" torpedo tubes, forward; Propulsion System, one S5W nuclear reactor, two Westinghouse steam turbines, one propeller 15,000 shp.
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Submarine Silhouettes 1960179kSubmarine Silhouettes of 1960:
Nautilus (SSN-571), Seawolf (SSN-575), Skate (SSN-578), Skipjack (SS-585), Triton (SSRN-586), Halibut (SSGN-587), Thresher (SSN-593), Tullibee (SSN-597), George Washington (SSBN-598), & Ethan Allen (SSBN-608) classes.
U.S. Navy Photograph submitted by Ron Titus, courtesy of Ingersoll-Rand. Corp.
Nuclear Submarine Profiles187kNuclear Submarine Profiles 1960:
Nautilus (SSN-571),
Seawolf (SSN-575),
Triton (SSRN-586),
Skate (SSN-578) & Skipjack (SS-585) classes,
Halibut (SSGN-587) & Tullibee (SSN-597) classes,
George Washington (SSBN-598) &
Thresher (SSN-593) classes.
US Navy photo courtesy of Ron Titus courtesy of Ingersoll-Rand. Corp. Photo i.d. courtesy of Dave Johnston.
Skipjack Class 60k Watercolor and gouache on paper painting by the artist Viktor Stepansky entitled "Diving Skipjack Class".
The Skipjack Class (SSN-585 / 88-92) - clearing showing the tear-drop shape adopted by many of the submarine's successors. The Scorpion (SSN-589) is pictured here underway.
Photo & text courtesy of subart.net.
Shark 316k Launching program cover for the Shark (SSN-591), 16 March 1960. US Navy photo courtesy of John Shane, whose grandmother, Mrs. Louis Shane sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. who was K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Photo added 12/03/11.
Shark 316k Pages 2 & 3 of the Launching program for the Shark (SSN-591), 16 March 1960. US Navy photo courtesy of John Shane, whose grandmother, Mrs. Louis Shane sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. who was K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Photo added 12/03/11.
Shark 338k Sponsor's podium for the launching of the Shark (SSN-591). US Navy photo courtesy of John Shane, whose grandmother, Mrs. Louis Shane sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. who was K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Photo added 12/03/11.
Shark 402k Wet spectators old and young who turned out to see the launching of the Shark (SSN-591). US Navy photo courtesy of John Shane, whose grandmother, Mrs. Louis Shane sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. who was K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Photo added 12/03/11.
Shark 323k The many eyes of the Commander in Chief's Band of the Atlantic Fleet strikes up a beat during the Shark's (SSN-591) launching. US Navy photo courtesy of John Shane, whose grandmother, Mrs. Louis Shane sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. who was K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Photo added 12/03/11.
Shark & Sam 132k The Shark (SSN-591) shortly before her launching, 16 March 1960. The Polaris submarine Sam Houston (SSBN-609) is completely enclosed in the background. Photo from Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. magazine March 1961, Volume XX, # II.
Courtesy of John Shane & Robert Hall.
Shark 336k Mrs. Louis Shane, sponsor of the Shark (SSN-591) and wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. gives the boat her first taste of champagne at her launching, 16 March 1960. Photo from Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. magazine, 1961, pg 11.
Courtesy of John Shane, whose grandmother, Mrs. Louis Shane sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. who was K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Photo added 12/03/11.
Shark 341k Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co President W.E. Blewett Jr. speaks at the podium during Shark's (SSN-591) launching ceremony. US Navy photo courtesy of John Shane, whose grandmother, Mrs. Louis Shane sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. who was K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Photo added 12/03/11.
Shark 278k Chaplin Bishop speaks at the podium during Shark's (SSN-591) launching ceremony. US Navy photo courtesy of John Shane, whose grandmother, Mrs. Louis Shane sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. who was K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Photo added 12/03/11.
Shark 460k The Shark (SSN-591) takes to water on 16 March 1960. US Navy photo courtesy of John Shane, whose grandmother, Mrs. Louis Shane sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. who was K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Photo added 12/03/11.
Shark 295k The once landed Shark (SSN-591) is waterbourne. US Navy photo courtesy of John Shane, whose grandmother, Mrs. Louis Shane sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. who was K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Photo added 12/03/11.
Shark 327k The Shark (SSN-591) gets some help help from the tug Huntington following her launching on 16 March 1960. US Navy photo courtesy of John Shane, whose grandmother, Mrs. Louis Shane sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. who was K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Photo added 12/03/11.
Shark 659k Plank-owners of the Shark (SSN-591) try to keep warm on a cold day during her launching on 16 March 1960. US Navy photo courtesy of John Shane, whose grandmother, Mrs. Louis Shane sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. who was K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Photo added 12/03/11.
Shark 267k Front cover of the Commissioning program for the Shark (SSN-591), 9 February 1961. US Navy photo courtesy of John Shane, whose grandmother, Mrs. Louis Shane sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. who was K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Photo added 12/03/11.
Shark 267k Pages 2 & 3 of the Commissioning program for the Shark (SSN-591), 9 February 1961. US Navy photo courtesy of John Shane, whose grandmother, Mrs. Louis Shane sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. who was K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Photo added 12/03/11.
Shark 201k Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co President W.E. Blewett Jr. speaks on board the Shark (SSN-591) at Dry Dock #2 as he delivered the Yard's first Nuclear boat during her commissioning ceremony on 9 February 1961.
Among those present is Mrs. Louis Shane, who sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr., K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Photo from Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. magazine March 1961, Volume XX, # II.
Courtesy of John Shane, whose grandmother, Mrs. Louis Shane sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. who was K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Shark 438k Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co President W.E. Blewett Jr. speaks on board the Shark (SSN-591) at Dry Dock #2 as he delivered the Yard's first Nuclear boat during her commissioning ceremony on 9 February 1961.
Among those present is Mrs. Louis Shane, who sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr., K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Photo from Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. magazine March 1961, Volume XX, # II.
Courtesy of John Shane, whose grandmother, Mrs. Louis Shane sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. who was K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Shark 263k The following text is the Shark's (SSN-591) commissioning ceremony speech from Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Russell on 9 February 1961.
Mr. Blewett, Admiral Burch, LDCR Fagan (pictured) her commander distinguished guests, commissioned officers and enlisted men of Shark (SSN-591).
It is always an honor for a sailor to participate in the commissioning of a new fighting ship, and it is particularly so for me in this case, because of the deep regard and close friendship I held for the commanding officer of a previous Shark. I speak of Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr., who commanded Shark Number 4, the SS-174, in the early rugged days of World War II in the fighting around the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies. World War II found that Shark in the southwest Pacific and one of her early tasks was to move Admiral Hart, Commander of the Asiatic Fleet, from Manila to Suerabaja. She was then assigned the task of attacking targets of opportunity in the Molucca Sea. During one of these war patrols, she was depth charged a number of times and apparently had a hot time in the Molucca Sea and around Celebes Island until the 7th of February 1942 when the last communication was received from her. From all evidence available after the war, Shark was lost as a result of a depth charge attack on 11 February off Manedo, a town in the Northern Celebes.
All of us in the Navy, I am sure, retain a very vivid memory of the circumstances under which we first joined the service. I joined the Navy in company with Louis Shane. Louis, son of Captain Shane, Inspector of Naval Machinery of the shipyard in our hometown of Tacoma, Washington; Ted Rimer, the son of a Coast Guard officer; and I, were the three appointments to the Naval Academy made by our local congressman in the year 1922. As classmates at the Naval Academy and close friends in Service thereafter, I greatly admired Louis Shane. We have the honor of having his wife Marjorie here today. She was the gracious lady who sponsored this ship when launched last March.
Today as we commission Shark Number 6, we return to the active list a well-remembered and cherished name. In creating a new Shark we honor those gallant ships of the past which have borne that name, and we especially pay tribute to the heroic crews who manned them.
This morning, as I toured Shark with Mrs. Shane, I was reminded of the many outstanding contributions the Newport News Shipbuilding Company has made in building our fleet. The Newport News Shipyard has been in the forefront of supplying ships for the Navy since the Yard's first job of naval construction, the gunboat, Nashville (PG-7), built in 1897. Just ten years after that beginning when President Teddy Roosevelt sent the great "White Fleet" on its famous around-the-world cruise, no less than seven of the sixteen battleships making that fourteen months voyage bore the Newport News trademark. It is worthy of note that during World War I this Yard furnished a greater amount of shipping tonnage than all other yards in the United States combined. During World War II, over half of the fast aircraft carriers which proved such a crucial factor in forcing a decision in the Pacific were built here.
Such gallant ships as the Nashville (CL-43), Pennsylvania (BB-38), Boise (CL-47), two Rangers (CV-4)& (CVA-61), two Yorktowns (CV-5 & 10), Enterprise (CV-6), Essex (CV-9), Franklin(CV-13), and many others have carried the trademark of this great shipbuilding establishment. My first assignment in the Fleet in 1926 was the battleship West Virginia (BB-48) which was built here. In 1936, I was engaged in the fitting out of the aircraft carrier Yorktown here. There is a motto carved in stone in the Yard which I shall always remember. It is the motto given to the Shipyard by its founder, Mr. Huntington - it reads - "we will build good ships, at a profit if we can, at a loss if we must, but we will build good ships."
We are here to place in commission this latest product of the engineering skill, dynamic imagination and productive know-how of the shipbuilders in Newport News. The Shark is the second nuclear powered submarine of the Skipjack Class powered by a water cooled nuclear reactor built by Westinghouse Electric Corporation. It incorporates the latest advances in power and hull design in submarine construction. The combination of nuclear propulsion and streamlined hull gives this class the greatest underwater performance of any ship in the fleet today. Her phenomenal speed and great maneuverability make her especially suited for carrying out her mission of attack.
It is particularly appropriate that an attack submarine of such great capabilities be named Shark, for the Shark is a fighter and probably the most feared of fish. It is aggressive and courageous. It is a ferocious and bellicose fighting fish with a tenacious spirit, - a fitting name, indeed, for a United States man-of-war.
Nuclear power in a submarine has been one of the greatest advances of our time. Many records have been established since Nautilus (SSN-571) sent her famous message "Underway on nuclear power," 17 January 1955. Seawolf (SSN-575) proved the submerged endurance capability of nuclear submarines and their crews with her record- breaking 60-day continually submerged patrol in 1958. Nautilus pioneered the vast new field of "exploration of inner space" - the probing of the heretofore inaccessible depths of the oceans - with her transit from the Pacific Ocean under the Arctic ice to the North Pole on 5 August 1958 and on to the Atlantic Ocean. She was followed by only a few days by Skate (SSN-578) who reached the North Pole from the Atlantic on 12 August. Just over a year later, Skate on a similar transit surfaced at the Pole on the 17th of March 1959 and there paid a final tribute to the pioneer of Arctic submarining, Sir Hubert Wilkins, by casting the ashes of that famous old explorer on the polar ice. Sargo (SSN-583) was at the North Pole exactly one year ago today, and more recently Seadragon (SSN-584) in August 1960, was the first submarine to transit from the Atlantic to the Pacific via the Arctic Ocean. And of course a feat without equal, and one in which all Navy men feel great pride, was Triton's (SSN-556) 84 days around the world submerged February through May last year in commemoration of the first world circumnavigator, Magellan.
So it is that you have here a ship of most interesting and extensive capabilities, - a ship of war of a type in which we, the United States, excel. May your exploits in Shark match and excel those of the nuclear powered submarines who have pioneered the way. As you become an active unit of the U. S. Navy, you have an important place awaiting in the fleet which keeps the watch of freedom around the world.
To close my remarks I shall deviate from the usual wishes to the ship's company for smooth sailing. These modern submarines always enjoy smooth sailing while cruising in the depths of the sea. However, I do wish each of you every success in carrying out your assigned missions. Great challenges and great opportunities await you. I envy you your opportunity to create new vista in tactics with the economy of "fewest fissions per mission." Good luck and Godspeed.
Photo from Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. magazine March 1961, Volume XX, # II.
Courtesy of John Shane, whose grandmother, Mrs. Louis Shane sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. who was K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942. Text courtesy of John Shane.
Shark 47k Sailors onboard the deck of the Shark (SSN-591) salute the national ensign during her commissioning ceremony on 9 February 1961. Photo from Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. magazine March 1961, Volume XX, # II.
Courtesy of John Shane, whose grandmother, Mrs. Louis Shane sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. who was K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SS-174), approximately 11 February 1942.
Shark 103k Pre-commissioning photo of the Shark (SSN-591), 11 January 1961. USN photo.
Shark 131k Shark's (SSN-591) commissioning crew wearing whites stand on the boat's sail in this 1961 photo. USN photo courtesy of David Buell.
Shark 867k Shark's (SSN-591) sailors salute standard at submarine's stern, 5 February 1961. US Navy photo # NPC 1053260, courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Photo added 12/03/11.
Shark 306k Flag flutters forward of foam as Shark (SSN-591) slides the seas, 1961. US Navy photo # NPC 1106543, courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Photo added 12/03/11.

View the Shark (SSN-591)
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
FAS - SSN-585 Skipjack Class

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