USS HUNLEY (AS-31)
The USS Hunley (AS-31) was launched 28 September 1961 by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Va.; and commissioned 16 June 1962.
Hunley has the distinction of being the first ship designed and built up from the keel to service and maintain the U.S. Navy's nuclear powered Ballistic Missile Submarine Fleet. She had complete facilities for servicing the complex Polaris Weapons Systems and for accomplishing any submarine repair other than a major shipyard overhaul.
After a shakedown cruise and post shakedown yard availability, Hunley departed Norfolk on 29 December 1962 for Holy Loch, Scotland, arriving 9 January 1963. Almost immediately she began taking the load off Proteus. The first boat was the USS Thomas A. Edison (SSBN-610) returning from her first patrol.
Proteus was officially relieved 15 March 1963 as tender to Submarine Squadron 14 at Holy Loch, Scotland. This duty continued until 12 April 1964 when Hunley sailed for conversion that provided capability of handling the new A3 Polaris Missile. She resumed her duties at Holy Loch 15 June 1964.
A Polaris milestone was reached in December 1965 when Thomas A. Edison came alongside to commence the 100th refit of an SSBN by Hunley. This signified that one hundred SSBN submarines had gone out on time from Hunley and not one of them had to make an early return from patrol. This represents some 200 months of Polaris on station or 16 1/2 years of submerged strategic deterrent since Hunley's arrival in Holy Loch 9 January 1963. Among impressive jobs carried out by Hunley is welding on SSBN pressure hulls or reactor plant fluid systems. Once unheard of in submarine tending, these jobs are only a few of many tackled with confidence and skill by Hunley. These and many other alterations are carried out as a matter of routine to keep SSBNs on the line with the newest possible technical improvements and safety devices. For example, an auxiliary "Sub-Safe" package was accomplished on Theodore Roosevelt in which over 40 fittings and more than 100 feet of new piping in a major system were installed. A battery replacement for Ethan Allen was completed In only 11 days. Hunley meets demands from making water-borne propeller replacements to encapsulation of AC induction motors; delicate repairs to navigation and fire control, and many other varied tasks to insure that each SSBN has the finest of care on each refit. The resolution, can-do spirit, and persevering fidelity of her officers and men give firm allegiance to Hunley's motto: "We Serve to Preserve Peace." In late 1966 Hunley was relieved at Site One by the USS Simon Lake (AS-33).
From 1966 to 1981 Hunley served three tours at Site III in Guam, and three tours at Site IV in Charleston, as well as, completing a number of shipyard overhauls. Among the many modifications was the installation of new missile cranes, and a Poseidon missile conversion. For the period of 1 May through 1 Dec. of 1972, at Site III, Holland was awarded her first Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC).
For the period of 18 Oct. 1978 through 1 June 1980, Hunley was awarded her second MUC for tending duties at Site III in Guam.
In January 1982 Hunley returned to the Holy Loch for the 2nd time, and relieved the USS Holland (AS-32). In June 1987 the Hunley was relieved at Site I by the USS Simon Lake (AS 33), and she got underway for Norfolk.
Hunley received her third MUC for tending fast attack submarines at U.S. East Coast ports from 1 August 1992 through 30 September 1994. During this period Hunley made a port visit to Cape Canaveral, and her last liberty port of call in Key West, Florida. Hunley was decommissioned on 30 September 1994.
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For a complete history of HUNLEY go to: Tender Tale