Naval History and Heritage Command

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L. Y. Spear (AS-36)

(AS-36: dp. 22,640 (f.) ; l. 644-; b. 85-; dr. 57-; cpl. 1,338; s. 20 k.; a. 2 5-, 4 .50 cal. mg.; cl. L. Y. Spear)

Lawrence York Spear, born in Warren, Ohio, 23 October 1870, graduated second in his class at the Naval Academy in 1890. He served as an ensign in Pensacola, Baltimore (C-3), and Charleston (C-2) in the Atlantic and South Pacific for nearly 2 years.

In 1891, due to his ability and enthusiasm in the project of modernizing the Navy, he was transferred to the Construction Corps and sent to the University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland. Returning with a B.S. in 1893, he spent most of the next 9 years acquiring construction experience in shipyards across the country. While Superintendent of Construction at Crescent Shipyard, Elizabethport, N.J., from 1898 to 1902, he helped build five Holland-designed submarines, first of the U.S. undersea fleet.

In 1902, he resigned his commission as lieutenant to join the Electric Boat Co., successor to the Holland Torpedo Boat Co., founded by inventor John P. Holland. Spear then devoted more than 48 years to the construction of submarines. He is credited with six basic design concepts which are an integral part of all modern naval submarines, including double hull amidships, single hull ends, and propelling apparatus. His great faith in the importance of file submarine was more than justified by the decisive role the Navy's undersea fleet played in destroying the power of the Japanese in the Pacific during World War II. As company president, 1942 to 1947, he directed the production of more than half of the submarines completed during the war

Spear retired in 1947 to serve as board chairman for the next 3 years, and died at Groton, Conn., 9 September 1950.

L. Y. Spear (AS-36) was laid down by General Dynamics Corp., Quincy Division, Quincy, Mass., 5 May 1966; launched 7 September 1967; sponsored by Mrs. Arnold F. Schade, wife of Vice Admiral Schade, Commander, Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet; and is scheduled for commissioning in 1970.

The first of a new class of ships designed primarily to service nuclear attack submarines, L. Y. Spear, once completed, will be assigned to Submarine Squadron 6 with Norfolk as her home base. She will have the capability to provide logistic and technical support for as many as 12 submarines and service four of them alongside simultaneously.

Published: Tue Jul 28 18:34:40 EDT 2015