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Lewis and Clark


Meriwether Lewis was born 18August 1774 in Albemarle County, Va. Much of his boyhood was spent learning the ways of wildlife and Indian lore. When he was 20 years old he was called to active duty during the “Whiskey Rebellion” in October 1794. After joining the Regular Army, he marched to Greenville, Ohio, the following year to view the signing of the Northwest Treaty. During this mission he was a subordinate of William Clark, his future companion in exploring the West.


Following Thomas Jefferson’s election, Lewis was offered the post of private secretary, and he became overseer of Jefferson’s domestic arrangements. In 1803, when Congress appropriated funds for exploring the West, Lewis went to Philadelphia to organize the expedition. As his companion officer he chose William Clark.


Clark was born 1 August 1770 in Caroline County, Va. Like Lewis, he was brought up in the revolutionary spirit and spent some of his early years defending against marauding Indians.


Designed to find a land route to the Pacific, the expedition mustered in Illinois in 1804 and for the next 28 months proceeded to gain invaluable information about the unknown parts of the continent and its Indian inhabitants. The exploring party returned to St. Louis in September 1806.


For the rest of their lives Lewis and Clark dedicated their abilities to administration of the U.S. territories and gave valuable service in Indian affairs. Meriwether Lewis died 11 October 1809 and William Clark died 1 September 1838.


(SSBN-644: dp. 7,320 (std.), 8,250 (subm.); l. 425'; b. 33'; dr. 33'; cpl. two crews 122 each; a. 16 Pol. mis., 4 21" tt.; cl. Benjamin Franklin)


Lewis and Clark (SSBN-644) was laid down by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Newport News Va., 29 July 1963; launched 21 November 1964; sponsored by Mrs. M. F. Engman and Mrs. M. G. Sale; and commissioned 22 December 1965, Comdr. John F. Gagan, Jr., in command of the Blue Crew and Comdr. Kenneth A. Porter in command of the Gold Crew.


After shakedown and missile firing off Cape Kennedy in 1966, Lewis and Clark joined the growing fleet of Polaris submarines silently patrolling the seas of the world for peace. In this great and grave mission she has quietly assumed her role in defending the country with the brave spirit of the explorers for whom she is named. She continues this most vital duty into 1969.