USS Scorpion (SSN-589), 1960-1968



USS Scorpion, a 3500-ton Skipjack class nuclear-powered attack submarine built at Groton, Connecticut, was commissioned in July 1960. Assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, she took part in the development of contemporary submarine warfare tactics and made periodic deployments to the Mediterranean Sea and other areas where the presence of a fast and stealthy submarine would be beneficial.

Scorpion began another Mediterranean cruise in February 1968. The following May, while homeward bound from that tour, she was lost with her entire crew some 400 miles southwest of the Azores. In late October 1968, her remains were found on the sea floor over 10,000 feet below the surface by a towed deep-submergence vehicle deployed from USNS Mizar (T-AGOR-11). Photographs taken then and later showed that her hull had suffered fatal damage while she was running submerged and that even more severe damage occurred as she sank. The cause of the initial damage continues to generate controversy decades later.

USS Scorpion with USS Tallahatchie County, April 1968

USS Scorpion with USS Tallahatchie County, April 1968 - Part II

Wreck of USS Scorpion - Images taken in 1968

Wreck of USS Scorpion - Images taken after 1968

A more complete history of USS Scorpion, available at Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Click photograph for a larger image.

Photo #: NH 97215

USS Scorpion (SSN-589)


Photographed on 27 June 1960, off New London, Connecticut, during builder's trials.
Vice Admiral Hyman G. Rickover is standing on her sailplanes with another officer.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the NHHC collection.

Online Image: 72KB; 740 x 595 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 97214

USS Scorpion (SSN-589)


Photographed on 22 August 1960, off New London, Connecticut.
A "GUPPY" type submarine is faintly visible in the distance, just beyond the forward tip of Scorpion's "sail".

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the NHHC collection

Online Image: 95KB; 740 x 605 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 97230

USS Scorpion (SSN-589)


Photographed on 22 August 1960, off New London, Connecticut.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the NHC collection

Online Image: 105KB; 740 x 595 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 70305

USS Scorpion (SSN-589)


Comes alongside USS Tallahatchie County (AVB-2) outside Claywall Harbor, Naples, Italy, 10 April 1968.
Scorpion was lost with all hands in May 1968, while returning to the U.S. from this Mediterranean deployment.

Courtesy Lieutenant John R. Holland, Engineering Officer, USS Tallahatchie County, 1969.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 113KB; 740 x 615 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 70304

USS Scorpion (SSN-589)


Comes alongside USS Tallahatchie County (AVB-2) outside Claywall Harbor, Naples, Italy, 10 April 1968.
The submarine's Commanding Officer, Commander Francis A. Slattery, is atop her sail, holding a megaphone.
Scorpion was lost with all hands in May 1968, while returning to the U.S. from this Mediterranean deployment.

Courtesy Lieutenant John R. Holland, Engineering Officer, USS Tallahatchie County, 1969.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 101KB; 590 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 70308

USS Scorpion (SSN-589)


Ties up alongside USS Tallahatchie County (AVB-2) outside Claywall Harbor, Naples, Italy, 10 April 1968.
This view shows the submarine's line handling crew aft of her sail, just as she has been made fast and the National Ensign transferred to its "in port" position. Scorpion was lost with all hands in May 1968, while returning to the U.S. from this Mediterranean deployment.

Courtesy Lieutenant John R. Holland, Engineering Officer, USS Tallahatchie County, 1969.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 175KB; 740 x 615 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 97226

Commander Francis A. Slattery, USN


"Commanding Officer of the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Scorpion (SSN-589) when it was reported missing in May 1968. Cdr. Slattery took command of USS Scorpion in October 1967."
Quoted from caption released with this photograph.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the NHHC collection

Online Image: 74KB; 585 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 97227

Lieutenant Commander David B. Lloyd, USN


"Executive Officer of the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Scorpion (SSN-589) when it was reported missing in May 1968."
Quoted from caption released with this photograph.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the NHHC collections

Online Image: 57KB; 585 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 64889-KN (Color)

Insignia of USS Scorpion (SSN-589)

This emblem was adopted in 1960.
Within the shield are four symbols, representing: Scorpion's streamlined hull design; her nuclear powerplant; the ancient rock-throwing machine known as a "scorpion"; and the stellar constellation Scorpio, the "Scorpion".

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 90KB; 600 x 765 pixels

 


In addition to the images presented above, the National Archives holds other images of USS Scorpion (SSN-589), taken in 1960. The following list features these images.

The images listed below are not in the NHHC's collection and are not available from our Photographic Reproduction Service


  • Photo #: USN 1052879
    USS Scorpion (SSN-589) off New London, Connecticut, 22 August 1960.
    Starboard bow aerial view.

  • Photo #: USN 1052881
    USS Scorpion (SSN-589) off New London, Connecticut, 22 August 1960.
    Port stern aerial view.

  • Photo #: USN 1052882
    USS Scorpion (SSN-589) off New London, Connecticut, 22 August 1960.
    Port stern surface (or low aerial) view.

  • Photo #: USN 1052883
    USS Scorpion (SSN-589) off New London, Connecticut, 22 August 1960.
    Port broadside aerial view.

  • Photo #: USN 1052884
    USS Scorpion (SSN-589) off New London, Connecticut, 22 August 1960.
    Bow-on surface (or low aerial) view.

  • Photo #: USN 1052885
    USS Scorpion (SSN-589) off New London, Connecticut, 22 August 1960.
    Bow-on aerial view.

  • Photo #: USN 1052887
    USS Scorpion (SSN-589) off New London, Connecticut, 22 August 1960.
    Stern-on surface (or low aerial) view.


  • For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions





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