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USS Lewis and Clark (SSBN-644)

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Awarded:1 November 1962
Laid down:29 July 1963
Launched:21 November 1964
Commissioned:22 December 1965
Fate:submarine recycling
Stricken:1 August 1992
General Characteristics
Displacement:7320 tons surfaced, 8250 tons submerged
Length:425 feet
Beam:33 feet
Draft:33 feet
Powerplant:S5W reactor
Complement:two crews of 14 officers and 126 men each
Armament:16 Polaris or Poseidon missiles, four 21-inch torpedo tubes
USS Lewis and Clark (SSBN-644), a Benjamin Franklin-class submarine, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Her keel was laid down by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company of Newport News, Virginia, on 29 July 1963. She was launched on 21 November 1964 sponsored by Mrs. M.F. Engman and Mrs. M.G. Sale, and commissioned 22 December 1965 with Commander John F. Gagan, Jr., in command of the Blue Crew and Commander Kenneth A. Porter in command of the Gold Crew.

On 21 July 1972 Lewis and Clark completed conversion of her missile tubes to carry Poseidon C3 missiles instead of the Polaris A3 missiles she had originally been equipped with. On 18 December the Gold Crew successfully launched one Poseidon C-3 missile in support of the ship's Demonstration and Shakedown Operation.

On 8 April 1973 Lewis and Clark deployed for operational patrol.

On 19 June 1981 Lewis and Clark successfully fired four Poseidon C-3 missiles in a Follow-on Operational Test. On 23 July she began a Poseidon refueling overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company.

On 13 June 1985 Lewis and Clark successfully launched four Poseidon C-3 missiles in a Follow-on Operational Test.

Deactivated while still in commission on 1 October 1991, Lewis and Clark was decommissioned on 27 June 1992 and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on the following 1 August. The hulk began the Navy's Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program in Bremerton, Washington, on 1 October 1995 and ceased to exist on 23 September 1996.

Lewis and Clark's sail and fair-water planes and the top of its rudder are now on display at the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Charleston, South Carolina, part of a memorial to the officers and men of the Submarine Service that served during the Cold War. See USS Lewis and Clark for other ships of the same name.


This article includes information collected from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.