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Lewis and Clark I (SSBN-644)


Meriwether Lewis was born on 18 August 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 to the Presidency, 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.

William Clark was born on 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 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 the administration of the U.S. territories and gave valuable service in Indian affairs. Meriwether Lewis died on 11 October 1809 and William Clark on 1 September 1838.


(SSBN-644: displacement 7,320; length 425'; beam 33'; draft 33'; complement two crews of 122 sailors each; armament 16 Polaris submarine-launched ballistic missiles, 4 21-inch torpedo tubes; class Benjamin Franklin)

Lewis and Clark (SSBN-644) was laid down by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Newport News Va., on 29 July 1963; launched on 21 November 1964; sponsored by Mrs. M. F. Engman and Mrs. M. G. Sale; and commissioned on 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, Fla., in 1966, Lewis and Clark joined the growing fleet of Polaris-equipped submarines silently patrolling the seas of the world.

Lewis and Clark was stricken on 1 August 1992.

Detailed history under construction.

Updated by Mark L. Evans

7 December 2015

Published: Mon Dec 07 10:14:59 EST 2015