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Minneapolis-Saint Paul I (SSN-708)

1984–2008

The first U.S. Navy vessel named for the Twin Cities, but two other ships have been named for Minneapolis. The first Minneapolis (Cruiser No. 13) served from 1894–1921. The second, heavy cruiser Minneapolis (CA-36), served from 1934–1947. 

In addition, two ships have been named for St. Paul. The first Saint Paul, a steel passenger liner, retained her mercantile name in United States service, and served as an auxiliary cruiser in 1898 and from 1917–1919. The second, heavy cruiser St. Paul (CA-73), was ordered as Rochester but renamed St. Paul on 26 November 1942, and served from 1945–1971.

Heavy cruiser Quincy (CA-71) was laid down on 9 October 1941 as St. Paul, but was renamed on 16 October 1942, prior to launching, to perpetuate the name of the second Quincy (CA-39), a heavy cruiser lost at the Battle of Savo Island on 9 August 1942.

(SSN-708: displacement 6,068; length 362'; beam 33'; draft 32'; speed 25 knots; complement 110; armament 12 Vertical Launch System (VLS) tubes for UGM-109 Tomahawk submarine-launched cruise missiles and UGM-84 Harpoon submarine launched anti-ship missiles, and four torpedo tubes for Mk 48 torpedoes; class Los Angeles)

Minneapolis-Saint Paul (SSN-708) was laid down on 20 January 1981 at Groton, Conn., by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corp.; launched on 19 March 1983; sponsored by Mrs. Penny Durenberger, wife of Senator David F. Durenberger of Minn.; and was commissioned on 10 March 1984, Cmdr. Ralph Schlichter in command.

Minneapolis-Saint Paul served initially with Submarine Squadron (SubRon) 2 at Naval Submarine Base New London, Conn. Cmdr. Charles J. Beers Jr. relieved Cmdr. Schlichter as the commanding officer on 26 July 1984. Minneapolis-Saint Paul shifted her home port from Groton to Norfolk, Va., during a brief southerly voyage (1–3 December), and to SubRon 8 on 15 December. The attack submarine, Cmdr. Beers in command, carried out her maiden deployment during a voyage to European waters that Beers evaluated as of “great importance to the safety and security of the United States” (16 June–15 September 1986). Minneapolis-Saint Paul accomplished voyage repairs while she visited Holy Loch, Scotland (17–20 August); Portsmouth, England (22–27 August); and Brest, France (28 August–2 September).

Minneapolis-St. Paul (SSN-708) 1984-030917-N-3312P-002
A tugboat eases Minneapolis-Saint Paul to her pier, 25 September 2003. (Unattributed U.S. Navy Photograph 030917-N-3312P-002, Navy NewsStand)

Heavy seas swept four sailors overboard from Minneapolis-Saint Paul while she sailed from Devonport Naval Base, England, following a week-long visit to Plymouth, on 29 December 2006. Other crewmen and British authorities recovered all four crewmen and took them to a nearby hospital, but two of the four died: 45-year-old Senior Chief Petty Officer Thomas K. Higgins of Paducah, Ky., and 30-year-old Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael J. Holtz of Lakewood, Ohio. The other two sailors were treated for minor injuries and discharged from the hospital.

Attack submarine Newport News (SSN-750) collided with Japanese supertanker Mogamigawa, registered with Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd., in the Strait of Hormuz, at 2015 on 8 January 2007. Neither vessel reported casualties, but the collision damaged the bow of Newport News. Guided missile destroyer Benfold (DDG-65) escorted her to Bahrain for repairs.

The Navy ordered an operational “stand-down” for all of its submarines following the two accidents. Vice Adm. Charles L. Munns, Commander Naval Submarine Forces, directed all of his submarine commanding officers to “focus energy and intellect back onto the basics of submarine operations…It is clear that a common thread through recent problems has been errors conducting normal routine operations,” Munns said in a statement. “We are going back to basics, back to practice.”

Minneapolis-Saint Paul was inactivated during a ceremony at Norfolk on 22 June 2007, and the following month sailed from Norfolk to Pearl Harbor, Hi., to prepare for her decommissioning. The attack submarine was decommissioned and stricken from the Navy List on 28 August 2008.

Minneapolis-St. Paul (SSN-708) 1984-070622-N-8655E-004
Eleven of the 12 former Minneapolis-Saint Paul commanding officers pose with the submarine’s current commanding officer, Cmdr. Woods R. Brown II (right), following her inactivation ceremony at Norfolk, 22 June 2007. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kelvin Edwards, U.S. Navy Photograph 070622-N-8655E-004, Navy NewsStand)

Detailed history pending. 

Mark L. Evans
2 January 2018

Published: Tue Jan 02 13:32:28 EST 2018