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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

Patches on left contributed by Mike Smolinski, on right by John R.V. Jones
Radio Call Sign: November - Delta - Lima - Hotel

Ray (SSN-653)

Sturgeon Class Attack Submarine: Laid down, 4 January 1965, at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport New, VA.: Launched, 21 June 1966; Commissioned, USS Ray (SSN-653), 12 April 1967;
Brief History of the Ray, courtesy of O.D.Carlson STCM(SS), USN(Ret.) & John R.V. Jones, STS1/SS, Ray '81 - '86 COMSUBRON 4 Staff '86-'88.
Ray served first in SubRon 6, homeported at Norfolk, Virginia. The first shipyard overhaul took place at the Charleston Naval Shipyard. Ray served the remainder of her career was a unit of SubRon 4 in Charleston.
Ray was the first 637 class hull to become TOMAHAWK certified, capable of shooting both TLAM and TLAM-N missiles.
In over 25 years of commissioned service, Ray successfully completed numerous deployments to the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic, Central Atlantic, and Arctic oceans. Many of these deployments were missions of great importance to the safety and security of the United States.
For her actions, Ray was awarded five Navy Unit Commendations and six Meritorious Unit Commendations. When she was inactivated on 24 July 1992, Ray was the most decorated submarine in the Atlantic Fleet.
Decommissioned and simultaneously struck from the Naval Register, 16 March 1993; Final Disposition, disposed of through the NPSSRP (Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, WA., 3 April 2001.

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.,
Note: Unless the Navy has officially declassified the Test and Crush depths of its submarines (past or present), this information is still classified.
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SizeImage DescriptionContributed By
Ray312kSponsor Mrs. Thomas Kuchel, wife of the senator from California whacks the Ray (SSN-653) while on the ways before it went away on 21 June 1966.Photo courtesy of Dale Hargrave.
Ray600kThe crew of the Ray (SSN-653) rides the waves on 21 June 1966.Photo courtesy of Dale Hargrave.
Ray121kRay (SSN-653) launching at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport New, VA., 21 June 1966. USN photo from DANFS, courtesy of Joe Radigan, MACM USN, Ret.
Haddock1.27kTwelve page PDF Launching Program pamphlet for the Ray (SSN-653).PDF courtesy of John R.V. Jones, STS1/SS, Ray (SSN-653)'81 - '86 COMSUBRON 4 Staff '86-'88.
Ray1.40kRay (SSN-653) runs well through her own swell on her trials on 2 March 1967. USN photo # NPC 1122888 courtesy of Scott Koen &
Ray70k A starboard bow view of the nuclear-powered attack submarine Ray (SSN-653) underway, possibly during her sea trials off the Atlantic coast, 1966-67. USN photo courtesy of Robert Hurst.
Ray107kRay (SSN-653) underway, possibly during her sea trials off the Atlantic coast, 1966-67.Photo courtesy of & submitted by Bill Gonyo.
Ray503kLeft side of Ray (SSN-653). USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Haddock538kSeven page PDF Welcome Aboard pamphlet for the Ray (SSN-653).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 oceanís acoustics
Photo & text courtesy of
Submerged submarines145kSubmerged submarines in tandem.USN photo courtesy of Robert Hall.
Sea Devil 90k Sea Devil (SSN-664), Hammerhead (SSN-663) and Ray (SSN-653), three 637 class subs at pier 22, Norfolk VA., 1975. Sub tender LY Spear (AS-36) is on the starboard side of the Sea Devil. Courtesy of John Hummel, USN (Retired).
Ray77k Ray (SSN-653) in New London c. 1979. Courtesy of Regis Weber.
ICEX 86441kAn elevated view of the attack submarines Ray (SSN-653), Hawkbill (SSN-666), and & Archerfish (SSN-678) surfaced at the geographic North Pole, 6 May 1986 during ICEX 86. This is the first time three nuclear-powered submarines have simultaneously surfaced at the pole.Official USN photo # DN-SC-86-07408, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of
ICEX 86802kThe expanse of endless waste seems to engulf the Ray (SSN-653), Hawkbill (SSN-666), and & Archerfish (SSN-678) during ICEX 86.Official USN photo # DN-SC-86-07409, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of
Photo i.d. courtesy of John R.V. Jones, STS1/SS, Ray (SSN-653)'81 - '86 COMSUBRON 4 Staff '86-'88.
Ray97kInset of the Ray's (SSN-653) patch and starboard view of the boat underway.
The picture was taken in 1986 after we returned from the Pole as part of the preparation for the new Change of Command pamphlets for the C of C between Stephen Johnson and Patrick Lawless. The picture was taken by a Charleston Naval Shipyard Photographer aboard a USCG Reserve Helo from USCGS Savannah, GA.
Official USN photo courtesy of Wendell Royce McLaughlin Jr.
Photo i.d. courtesy of John R.V. Jones, STS1/SS, Ray (SSN-653)'81 - '86 COMSUBRON 4 Staff '86-'88.
Ray215k 24 July 1992, the day of Ray's (SSN-653) inactivation, at the Charleston Naval Station, S.C. Courtesy of Lester Palifka.
Drum27k From left to right, Drum (SSN-677), Bluefish (SSN-675), Ray (SSN-653), Lapon (SSN-661) and Richard B. Russell (SSN-687) await scrapping at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, WA., 8 October 2001. Courtesy of Don Sheldon.
Ray95k Commemorative envelope from the Ray (SSN-653) on the occasion of her entering Drydock # 3 at Puget Sound Naval Yard for scrapping, 2 October 2002. Courtesy Tom A.
Ray40kCommemorative post mark on the occasion of Ray (SSN-653) finishing the NPSSRP (Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program), 30 July 2003. Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Ray58kPlaque of the Ray (SSN-653) on display at the Naval and Maritime Museum at Patriots Point, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.Courtesy of Robert Hall.

Commanding Officers
01CDR. Kelln, Albert Lee, USN (USNA 1952)12.04.1967 - 10.02.1969 First Date in Commission
02CDR. Hurt, Jonathan Swift, USN (USNA 1954)10.02.1969 - 25.01.1973
03CDR. Strahm, Kenneth Alan, USN (USNA 1957)25.01.1973 - 04.01.1977
04CDR. Galbraith Jr., Elmer Joseph (Buzz), USN (USNA 1961)04.01.1977 - 20.11.1979
05CDR. Moore III, Charles Leighton, USN (USNA 1964)20.11.1979 - 03.04.1983
06CDR. Johnson, Stephen Alger, USN (USNA 1968)03.04.1983 - 11.08.1986
07CDR. Lawless, Patrick Henry, USN (USNA 1970)11.08.1986 - 15.08.1989
08CDR. Fisher, John Walker, USN (USNA 1972)15.08.1989 - 18.11.1991
09CDR. Jordan, William Henry, USN18.11.1991 - 16.03.1993 Last Date in Commission
Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler

View the Ray (SSN-653)
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
The Ray Page by STS1/SS John R.V. Jones
FAS--SSN-637 Sturgeon class

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