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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski.
Radio Call Sign: November - Delta - Uniform - Alpha

Gato (SSN-615)

Thresher Class Attack Submarine: Laid down, 15 December 1961, at the Electric Boat Division, General Dynamics Corp., Groton, CT.; Launched, 14 May 1964; Commissioned, USS Gato (SSN-615), 25 January 1968; Decommissioned and struck from the Naval Register, 1 October 1995; Laid up at Bremerton Naval Shipyard; Final Disposition, entered the NPSSRP (Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, WA., completed 1 November 1996.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 3,540 t., Submerged: 4,200 t.; Length 292'; Beam 31' 8"; ; Speed, Surfaced 15 kts, Submerged 28+ kts; Operating Depth 400'; Complement, 143; Sensors, BQR-5 bow mounted sonar, TB-26 Towed Sonar Array; Armament, four 21" torpedo tubes, forward, MK 48 torpedoes, UUM-44A SUBROC, UGM-84A/C Harpoon, MK 57 deep water mines, Mk 60 CAPTOR mines; Propulsion System, one S5W nuclear reactor, two Westinghouse steam turbines, one propeller 15,000 shp.
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SizeImage DescriptionContributed By
Thresher50kPlatform plan of Thresher (SSN-593) class submarines. PDF courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Gato71kCommemorative post mark on the occasion of Gato's (SSN-615) keel plate being laid, 15 December 1961. Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Gato892kGato (SSN-615) Commissioning Plaque.Courtesy of Tommy Trampp.
Gato750kGato (SSN-615) prior to the start of her launching ceremony.General Dynamics photo courtesy of Dale Hargrave.
Gato539kSponsor Mrs. Lawson P. Ramage preparing to christen the boat. Adm. Ramage is on the left.General Dynamics photo courtesy of Dale Hargrave.
Gato376kMrs. Lawson P. Ramage gives the Gato (SSN-615) a taste of things to come.General Dynamics photo courtesy of Dale Hargrave.
Gato638k Gato (SSN-615) to go. General Dynamics photo courtesy of Dale Hargrave.
Gato570kGato (SSN-615) going.General Dynamics photo courtesy of Dale Hargrave.
Gato 168k Gato (SSN-615) is waterborne at Electric Boat on 14 May 1964. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Gato171kLaunching program for the Gato (SSN-615) at Electric Boat on 14 May 1964. Courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Gato164k Gato's (SSN-615) sponsor, Mrs. Lawson P. Ramage. Courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Gato27kCommemorative post card marking the launching of the Gato (SSN-615), 14 May 1964.Courtesy of Richard Leonhardt.
Gato456k Gato (SSN-615) underway, probably off the Atlantic coast during her alpha sea-trials, circa 1965.Official USN photo courtesy of Wendell Royce McLaughlin Jr. via Robert Hurst.
Gato368kFour page PDF Welcome Aboard pamphlet for the Gato (SSN-615).USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Gato 240k Bow view of the Gato (SSN-615), topside on 13 October 1967. USN photo # NPC 1127468 courtesy of Electric Boat & Scott Koen &
Gato 163k Gato (SSN-615) off the New England coast on 13 October 1967. USN photo # NPC 1127472 courtesy of Electric Boat & Scott Koen &
GNATS1.70kThis shows the submarine tender Fulton (AS-11) alongside the State Pier, New London, CT. The date is approximately 1967-69. At the end of the pier is the submarine rescue vessel Skylark (ASR-20). Aft of the Fulton is the Gato (SSN-615), and moored in the nest next to the Fulton is Dace (SSN-607), Jack (SSN-605), and an unknown Thresher/Permit class boat (inboard in the nest). The unknown boat has a teardrop shaped sonar dome on the bow, an unusual installation for a 593 class boat. It is for the General Noise and Tonal System (GNATS), a jamming/decoy sonar system. Normally the dome is found mounted aft. A rough guess as to the identity of the unknown boat is Pollack (SSN-603). USN photo courtesy of David Johnston
Ric Hedman and Jim Christley contributed information for this photo.
Gato 194k Rear Admiral Lawrence Burkhardt, III a native of New Jersey, was commissioned after attending the Naval Academy in 1954. His first assignment was onboard the escort carrier Point Cruz (CVE-119). Afterwards, he attended the Naval Submarine School where he received the L.Y. Spear Award. Following duty on the Trigger (SS-564), RADM Burkhardt underwent nuclear power training. Upon graduation, he served on the Nautilus (SSN-571) until 1961. He become Director, Submarine/Nuclear Power Personnel Division, Bureau of Naval Personnel. In 1976, he took command of Submarine Squadron FOUR. He served as Chief of Staff, Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet from 1977 to 1978, during which time he was selected for flag rank. He next served as Director, Attack Submarine Division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, and May 1980 reported for duty as the Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Submarine Warfare). In August 1981, he assumed command of Submarine Group FIVE. From 1962 to 1964 he served for two years as XO on the Benjamin Franklin (SSB-640) (Blue). On 28 June 1969 he took command of the Gato (SSN-615). He served as CO until 3 September 1971, when he commenced a two year tour as XO of the nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser Long Beach (CGN-9). USN photo # DN-SC-84-02622 from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of via Bill Gonyo.
Gato742kCommissioning ceremony of the Gato (SSN-615) on 25 January 1968. The Navy band was not playing this song. General Dynamics photo courtesy of Dale Hargrave.
Gato568kCommissioning ceremony of the Gato (SSN-615) on 25 January 1968. The weather may have made any veterans of the original Gato (SS-212) yearn for those warm summer days in August at Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians.General Dynamics photo courtesy of Dale Hargrave.
Gato160kGato (SSN-615), in floating drydock Shippingport ARDM-4, Groton, 1994. Photo by Lester G. Palifka, submitted by Ken Hart.
Gato179kView of starboard side, Floating drydock Shippingport (ARDM-4), Groton, 1994 with bow view of Gato (SSN-615). Contributed by Ken Hart, photo courtesy of Lester Palifka.
Gato276kFloating drydock Shippingport (ARDM-4), Groton, 1994 with port side stern view of Gato (SSN-615). Contributed by Ken Hart, photo courtesy of Lester Palifka.
Gato276kFloating drydock Shippingport (ARDM-4), Groton, 1994 with starboard stern view ofGato (SSN-615).Contributed by Ken Hart, photo courtesy of Lester Palifka.
Gato126k2 page PDF showing front & back covers of Gato's (SSN-615) Departure Ceremony pamphlet, 7 April 1995.USN photo courtesy of Ken Hart.
Gato461kFive page PDF Decommissioning pamphlet for the Gato (SSN-615), 25 April 1996.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Gato42k Starboard side close-up of sail of Gato (SSN-615) in Groton, May 1995. Photo by Ken Hart.
Gato222k Meal request ticket from Gato (SSN-615) mess, known as The Black Cat Cafe. Photo by Ken Hart.
Gato222kGato (SSN-615), alongside at Groton, in May of 1995, shortly before her decommissioning. Gato had just returned from a one-week run, which included surfacing at the site where Thresher (SSN-593) sank, where a ceremony was held, including reciting the names of all who had perished with her, a twenty-one gun salute, a prayer recital, and a wreath tossed onto the grave site by Captain Rick Martinez USN, commanding Gato . I was privileged to be aboard that week. Photo by Ken Hart.
Gato262kGato (SSN-615), forward line handling crew standing ready as we near New London after returning from the ceremony at Thresher's (SSN-593) gravesite. Photo by Ken Hart.
Gato307kGato (SSN-615), sonar room, underway in May of 1995. Photo by Ken Hart.
Gato303kGato (SSN-615), bridge cockpit, May 1995. Photo by Ken Hart.
>Gato23k Lt. Michael J. Mosley glances at the intrusion of my lens in Gato's (SSN-615) bridge cockpit May 1995. Photo by Ken Hart.
Gato216k Gato's (SSN-615) pennants, May 1995. Photo by Ken Hart.
Gato54kCommemorative post mark on the occasion of Gato's (SSN-615) decommissioning, 24 April 1996. Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Reactor Compartments83kTrench 94, Hanford Site, Washington, 1994. Hull sections containing defueled reactor compartments of decommissioned nuclear-powered submarines are put in disposal trenches. Once full, the trench will be filled with dirt and buried. The compartments are expected to retain their integrity for more than 600 years. USN photo submitted by Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
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 submitted by Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Insert link courtesy of

Commanding Officers
01CDR. Baciocco Jr., Albert Joseph, USN (USNA 1953) :VADM25.01.1968 - 28.06.1969 First Date in Commission
02CDR. Burkhardt III, Lawrence, USN (USNA 1954) :RADM28.06.1969 - 03.09.1971
03CDR. Harscheid, David George, USN03.09.1971 - 09.11.1974
04CDR. Partlow, Robert Greider, USN (USNA 1961)09.11.1974 - 01.07.1978
05CAPT. Asher III, John Wilson, USN (USNA 1963)01.07.1978 - 03.12.1980
06CDR. Lee, Kenneth Arthur, USN03.12.1980 - 27.01.1984
07CDR. Lawver, Allen Eugene, USN (USNA 1967)27.01.1984 - 19.02.1988
08CDR. Shatzer Jr., Lewis Allen, USN (USNA 1971)19.02.1988 - 14.06.1990
09CDR. Williams, Harold Aldrich, USN (USNA 1969)14.06.1990 - 04.09.1990
10CDR. Allen, John Bruce, USN04.09.1990 - 24.03.1992
11CDR. Zeller, Randel Leonard, USN (USNA 1975)24.03.1992 - 22.11.1994
12CDR. Martinez, Ricardo, USN (USNA 1978)22.11.1994 - 24.04.1996 Last Date in Commission
Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler

View the Gato (SSN-615)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation
Fleet Reserve Association

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
FAS - SSN-594 Permit Class

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