Skip to main content
Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Related Content
  • Boats-Ships--Submarine
Document Type
  • Ship History
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
Location of Archival Materials

Barracuda III (SSK-1)

(SSK-1: dp. 765 (surf.), 1,160 (subm.); l. 196'; b. 24'7"; dr. 14'5"; s. 13 k. (surf.), 8.5 k. (subm.); cpl. 37; a. 4 21" tt.; cl. K-1)

Any of several large, voracious fishes of warm oceans related to the gray mullets.


The third Barracuda, an experimental attack submarine, was laid down on 1 July 1949 at Groton, Connecticut, by the Electric Boat Company as K-1 (SSK-1) launched on 2 March 1951; sponsored by Mrs. Alice B. Thomas, widow of the late Commander Willis M. Thomas, last commanding officer of the submarine Pompano (SS-181), lost during World War II; and commissioned on 10 November 1951, Lt. Comdr. Frank A. Andrews in command.

After shakedown training off Newport, Rhode Island and Norfolk, Virginia, K-1 began duty with Submarine Development Group (SubDevGru) 2 out of New London, Connecticut, exploring the largely uncharted realm of submarine-vs.-submarine tactics. Though her tactical developmental missions generally kept her close to the east coast, assignments occasionally took her to more distant waters. Thus, K-1 visited Nassau, in the Bahamas, in May 1952 and Havana, Cuba, in June of 1953. During 1954, she called at Halifax, Nova Scotia, in February and revisited Nassau again in May.

When the Chief of Naval Operations expressed the intent on 2 March 1955 to assign names to the three boats in the K-1 class, K-1’s commanding officer, A. H. Jerbert, recommended the name Killer on 23 March 1955, to specifically tie the boat’s mission with a species of whale, in a very original and well-researched memorandum. As an alternate, Jerbert suggested Barracuda. Commander, Submarine Development Group 2 and Commander, Submarine Force, Atlantic, successively endorsed the idea. With her naming still under consideration, K-1 crossed the Atlantic to Scotland in June of 1955 and made port calls at Greenock and Rothesay. Ultimately, by year’s end, the Secretary of the Navy had reached a decision, and on 15 November 1955 promulgated the name Barracuda, to be effective 15 December 1955.

Barracuda continued to operate out of New London for almost four years. In 1957, she visited Bermuda twice, once late in January and again in April. That summer and fall, she spent 10 weeks operating out of Key West in support of the Operational Development Force before returning to New England waters in October. In 1959, she changed bases to Key West, Fla., and took up duty as a training platform for a variety of Navy and other Department of Defense educational units. On 15 July 1959, the Navy changed her designation from SSK-1 to SST-3. In 1962, after completing overhaul at the end of April, Barracuda resumed duty providing training services in the immediate vicinity of Key West. That employment lasted until early September, at which time she traveled to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to perform similar duty. The Cuban Missile Crisis interrupted her mission, and Barracuda retired to Charleston for the duration of this difficult period. Late in November, she took up her training missions out of Key West once more.

She remained so engaged throughout 1963 and during the first part of 1964. Barracuda spent the latter part of that year undergoing an overhaul at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard during which her bow sonar array was removed to enhance her capability to emulate a conventional submarine during training evolutions in terms of both appearance and speed. Early in 1965, the submarine resumed training operations with various units based at Key West. Among the units to which she provided services were the Fleet Training Group, Key West; the Test and Evaluation Detachment, Key West; the Army Intelligence School; and Commander, Navy Air, Atlantic.

In July 1968, Barracuda changed bases again this time to Charleston, S.C., and began duty as a training platform for ballistic missile submarine junior officers in ship-handling, navigation, and seamanship. As a secondary mission, she also provided some opportunity for enlisted men to train as lookouts and as navigator’s assistants. The submarine spent the remaining five years of her career engaged in these and similar training missions. During the first part of May 1970, Barracuda traveled to Key West where she participated in the production of a Navy training film on submarine escape procedures. On 1 August 1972, Barracuda's alphanumeric hull designation was changed from SST-3 to SS-T3. Although she was to have reverted to the former designation on 1 April 1973, she carried the latter designation for the next few months.

The submarine continued training operations out of Charleston until the fall of 1973. Barracuda was decommissioned on 1 October 1973 at Charleston, S.C., and her name was struck from the Navy list that same day. Sold to Addlestone International Corp., Charleston, S.C., on 21 March 1974, she was subsequently scrapped at Georgetown, S.C., by the Georgetown Steel Corp.

Raymond A. Mann and Robert J. Cressman

24 February 2006

Published: Tue Jun 23 09:34:24 EDT 2015