David Bushnell was born in Saybrook ,Conn., about 1742. A graduate of Yale University in 1775, he managed to explode gunpowder underwater which is thought to have suggested to him the idea of a submarine mine or torpedo. In 1775 he completed a man-propelled, wooden submarine boat, on the outside of which was attached a powder magazine with clock mechanism enclosed for igniting it. Bushnell's vessel was unsuccessful in her attempts to blow up British vessels in 1776-77. Bushnell commanded the Corps of Engineers at West Point in 1783; later became the head of a private school in Georgia; and then practices medicine until his death in 1824 at Warrenton, Ga.
(AS-15: dp. 9734; l. 530'6"; b. 73'4"; dr. 25'6"; s. 18.5 k.' cpl. 444; a. 4 5"; cl. Fulton)
The second Bushnell (AS-15) was launched 14 September 1942 by Mare Island Navy Yard; sponsored by Mrs. Luther Gibson; and commissioned 10 April 1943, Commander C. T. Bonney in command.
On 27 June she departed for Pearl Harbor, arriving 3 July. While at the Submarine Base, Submarine Squadron 14 was assembled with Bushnell serving as tender and staff headquarters for the Squadron and Division Staff. Bushnell remained at Pearl Harbor until September 1943 when she sailed for Midway Island to deliver provisions and structural materials. Upon returning to Pearl harbor in December she resumed her task of refitting submarines until April 1944.
Bushnell weighted anchor for Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, 27 April laden with provisions, fuel, and material. Majuro Atoll soon became a regular submarine operating base, although entirely dependent upon the tender. On 5 February 1945 Bushnell returned to Pearl Harbor. On 29 May the tender steamed to Midway to refit submarines arriving there from war patrols. She was thus engaged until the cessation of hostilities.
From September to December 1945 Bushnell continued to act as a repair vessel for submarines throughout the period of demobilization and peacetime reorganization of the submarine force in the San Diego area. In January 1946 she sailed to Guam to tend submarines engaged in the occupation of Japan. This tour of duty continued until April, at which she was recalled to Pearl Harbor for duty with Submarine Squadron 1. Bushnell operated with Submarine Squadron 1 until 24 May 1947. At that time she sailed to Mare Island Naval Shipyard for overhaul. Returning to Pearl Harbor 10 September she resumed her duties with Squadron 1. In December 1947 Bushnell returned to Mare Island and reported for inactivation. She was placed out of commission in reserve 30 April 1948.
Bushnell was recommissioned 21 February 1952. After intensive training along the west coast Bushnell departed for the Atlantic 7 May 1952. She transited the Panama Canal 21 May and proceeded to Key West, Fla., for duty with Submarine Squadron 12. Since that time Bushnell has operated at Key West tending the boats of Squadron 12 and conducting brief periods of service at Norfolk and short cruises in the Caribbean.
Bushnell was struck from the Navy list on 15 November 1980 and disposed of in a fleet training exercise on 1 June 1983.
Updates pending for 1952 to 1970s.
10 January 2006