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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski
Radio Call Sign: November - Charlie - Whiskey - Juliet

Sunfish (SSN-649)

Sturgeon Class Attack Submarine: Laid down, 15 January 1965, at General Dynamics Corp., Quincy, MA; Launched, 14 October 1966; Commissioned, USS Sunfish (SSN-649), 15 March 1969; Decommissioned and simultaneously struck from the Naval Register, 31 March 1997; Final Disposition, disposed of through NPSSRP (Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, WA., 31 October 1997.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 3,640 t., Submerged: 4,640 t.; Length 292' 3"; Beam 31' 8"; Draft 28' 8"; Speed, Surfaced 15 kts, Submerged 25 kts; Depth limit 1,300'; Complement 108; Armament, four 21" torpedo tubes amidships aft of bow, MK 48 Torpedoes, UUM-44A SUBROC, UGM-84A/C Harpoon, MK 57 deep water mines, MK 60 CAPTOR mines; Combat Sensors, Radar, BPS-14/15 surface search, Sonars, BQQ-5 multi-function bow mounted, BQR-7 passive in submarines with BQQ-2, BQS-12 active 7, TB-16 or TB-23 towed array, EW Systems, WLQ-4(V), WLR-4(V), WLR-9 ; Propulsion System, one S5W nuclear reactor, two steam turbines, one propeller, 15,000 shp.
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SizeImage DescriptionContributed By
Sponsors279kNote: This photo is part of the PDF christening below.
The Sunfish (SSN-649) was sponsored by Erma Ora James Byrd, wife of the Senator from West Virginia, Robert C. Byrd.
Mrs. Byrd would later sponsor the West Virginia (SSBN-736) in 1989.
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Photo added 09/10/19.
X304kSix page PDF of the Whale (SSN-638) & Sunfish (SSN-649) christening on 14 October 1966.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
638 & 649235kSunfish (SSN-649) & Whale (SSN-638) are tied to the pier after launching on 14 October 1966.General Dynamics photo courtesy of Dale Hargrave.
Whale31k Commemorative post mark on the occasion of the double launching of the Whale (SSN-638) & Sunfish (SSN-649) 14 October 1966.Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Sunfish88kSunfish (SSN-649) underway during her sea trials, circa 1966-68.USN photo courtesy of
X314kBow on view of the Sunfish (SSN-649) off Quincy MA, 16 February 1969.USN photo # NPC 1139759 courtesy of Scott Koen &
X208kBow on view of the Sunfish (SSN-649) off Quincy MA, 10 March 1969, during her sea trials and five days before her commissioning.(despite what is written on the photo). USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
X540kCommissioning ceremonies on the Sunfish (SSN-649), 15 March 1969. AP Wire photo courtesy of Ron Reeves (of blessed memory).
X192kBow on view of the Sunfish (SSN-649).USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Sturgeon Class43k Oil on canvas painting by the artist Jim Christley entitled "Trailing".
During the Cold War the US Naval Submarine Force was tasked with keeping tabs on Soviet Naval movements in particular, the Soviet Submarine Force. Submarines of the Sturgeon Class were well suited to this task and often trailed Soviet submarines for days reporting on their movements and recording noise signatures. In this image, such a trailing has turned into a close aboard encounter as a Soviet Viktor III Class has turned to port to check his baffles (to listen to see if anyone is immediately astern). A trailing Sturgeon has stopped his screw and gone quiet. Extending far behind the US submarine is its towed array sonar which assists in giving a clear picture of the ocean's acoustics.
Photo & text courtesy of
Submerged submarines145kSubmerged submarines in tandem.USN photo courtesy of Robert Hall.
Sunfish57kThe Sunfish (SSN-649) alongside the Submarine Tender Hunley (AS-31).USN photo courtesy of & submitted by Bill Gonyo.
Sunfish101kSunfish (SSN-649) at sunset, circa 1968-80.USN photo courtesy of
Sunfish68kAdmiral James L. Holloway, III, USN, Chief of Naval Operations (left center) in the torpedo room of Sunfish (SSN-649), during a visit to the submarine at Charleston, South Carolina, 18 March 1976. Commander Zack T. Pate, Sunfish's commanding officer is in the center, talking with Admiral Holloway.Official USN photo # NH 103817, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
X296kSunfish (SSN-649) is tugged at upon returning from somewhere at sometime.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Sunfish1.06kThis photo of the Sunfish (SSN-649) during an emergency surfacing maneuver, was taken by a Navy photographer onboard the Frank Cable (AS-40) prior to exercise "Swamp Fox 81" in which the tender and 6 of the SUBRON4 submarines (3 tied to each side) resided in St. Thomas, USVI for about a week, possibly fall/winter, 1981.
Partial text and photo i.d. courtesy of R. Gregg Gumaskas STS1(SS) Sunfish 80-84.
USN photo courtesy of via Tommy Trampp.
Sunfish781kA port bow view of the Sunfish (SSN-649) entering the pier at Port Everglades, Florida on 23 May 1994. Official USN photo # DN-SC-03-10059, by OS2 John Bouvia, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of and submitted by Bill Gonyo.
Sunfish659kA port bow view of the Sunfish (SSN-649) moored to the pier at Port Everglades, Florida on 23 May 1994. Official USN photo # DN-SC-03-10060, by OS2 John Bouvia, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of and submitted by Bill Gonyo.
Sunfish20kSunfish (SSN-649) top left, James Madison (SSBN-627) top right, Spadefish (SSN-668) bottom left, and Finback (SSN-670) bottom right, at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, WA., 31 October 1997 awaiting scrapping. Courtesy of Don Sheldon.
Spent Fuel569kSealed reactor compartments are shipped by barge out of Puget Sound Naval Base down the coast and along the Columbia River to the port of Benton. There the radioactively-contaminated hull sections are transferred to special multiwheeled high-load trailers for transport to the Hanford Reservation in Washington State. Pictured below is the burial ground for spent fuel of the following 77 nuclear reactor submarines as of March 2003:
Patrick Henry (SSBN-599),
Snook (SSN-592),
George Washington (SSBN-598),
Scamp (SSN-588),
Robert E. Lee (SSBN-601),
Thomas Jefferson (SSBN-618),
Theodore Roosevelt (SSBN-600),
Dace (SSN-607),
John Adams (SSBN-620),
Abraham Lincoln (SSBN-602),
Barb (SSN-596),
Ethan Allen (SSBN-608),
Thomas A. Edison (SSBN-610),
Pollack (SSN-603),
Glenard P. Lipscomb (SSN-685),
James Monroe (SSBN-622),
Skipjack (SS-585),
Nathan Hale (SSBN-623),
Plunger (SSN-595),
Shark (SSN-591),
Lafayette (SSBN-616),
Sam Houston (SSBN-609),
Jack (SSN-605),
Haddo (SSN-604),
Tinosa (SSN-606),
Guardfish (SSN-612),
Permit (SSN-594),
Queenfish (SSN-651),
Ulysses S. Grant (SSBN-631),
John Marshall (SSBN-611),
George C. Marshall (SSBN-654),
Flasher (SSN-613),
Guitarro (SSN-665),
Alexander Hamilton (SSBN-617),
George Washington Carver (SSBN-656),
Tecumseh (SSBN-628),
Halibut (SSGN-587),
Will Rogers (SSBN-659),
Henry L. Stimson (SSBN-655),
Daniel Boone (SSBN-629),
Greenling (SSN-614),
John C. Calhoun (SSBN-630),
Casimir Pulaski (SSBN-633),
Skate (SSN-578),
Sargo (SSN-583),
Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657),
Sturgeon (SSN-637),
Benjamin Franklin (SSBN-640),
Swordfish (SSN-579),
Seadragon (SSN-584),
Stonewall Jackson (SSBN-634),
Simon Bolivar (SSBN-641),
Hammerhead (SSN-663),
Mariano G. Vallejo (SSBN-658),
Tullibee (SSN-597),
Lewis & Clark (SSBN-644),
Pargo (SSN-650),
Seahorse (SSN-669),
Gurnard (SSN-662),
Flying Fish (SSN-673),
Gato (SSN-615),
Puffer (SSN-652),
Seawolf (SSN-575),
Baton Rouge (SSN-689),
Bergall (SSN-667),
Whale (SSN-638),
Henry Clay (SSBN-625),
James Madison (SSBN-627),
Finback (SSN-670),
Spadefish (SSN-668),
Sunfish (SSN-649),
George Bancroft (SSBN-643),
Grayling (SSN-646),
Pintado (SSN-672),
Tunny (SSN-682),
Archerfish (SSN-678),
& Woodrow Wilson (SSBN-624).
As time passes & more boats are retired from service and their reactors are brought here, so the numbers rise. In this photo dated November 2009, 98 nuclear submarines and six nuclear cruisers have been recycled. For an up to date view, click here
USN photo & partial text courtesy of & submitted by Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Insert link courtesy of

Commanding Officers
01CDR. Thompson, Richard Lee, USN (USNA 1954)15.03.1969 - 00.07.1971 First Date in Commission
02CDR. Melton, Wade Inzer, USN00.07.1971 -00.02.1974
03CDR. Pate, Zachariah Taylor (Zack), USN (USNA 1958)00.02.1974 - 00.12.1976
04CDR. Lee, Richard Neyman, USN (USNA 1962)00.12.1976 - 00.06.1981
05CDR. Scarborough III, Oscar Daniel, USN (USNA 1965)00.06.1981 - 00.08.1984
06CDR. Pelaez, Marc Yve Eugenio, USN (USNA 1968)00.08.1984 - 04.08.1987
07CDR. Roberts, Dana Alan, USN (USNA 1971)04.08.1987 - 02.06.1990
08CDR. Wilson Jr., Eugene Kennon, USN (USNA 1973)02.06.1990 - 00.10.1992
09CDR. Fursman, Thomas Michael, USN00.10.1992 - 01.04.1994
10CDR. Roeske, Ernest Jackson, USN01.04.1994 - 31.03.1997 Last Date in Commission
Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler

View the Sunfish (SSN-649)
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 Sunfish (SSN 649) - USS Sunfish (SSN-649)

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