Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Montpelier III (SSN-765)


The first Montpelier, a screw steamer, retained the name that the ship carried at the time of her transfer from the War Department and served from 1917–1919; the second Montpelier, a light cruiser (CL-57) that served from 1942–1959, and the attack submarine, were both named for the capital city of Vermont.


(SSN-765: displacement 6,927; length 362'; beam 33'; draft 31'; 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 Advanced Capability (ADCAP) torpedoes; class Los Angeles)

The third Montpelier (SSN-765) was laid down on 19 May 1989 at Newport News, Va., by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.; launched on 23 August 1991; sponsored by Mrs. Nancy H. Sununu, wife of White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu; and was commissioned on 13 March 1993 at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., Cmdr. Victor R. Fiebig in command.

Montpelier, Cmdr. William J. Frake in command, deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom I, from 10 January–10 July 2003. On 21 and 22 March, she joined 29 other U.S. and British ships and submarines that fired BGM/UGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) against Iraqi military targets. Montpelier fired a total of 20 TLAMs during the war, and on 3 December 2003, Frake received the Bronze Star for his command of the attack submarine during these battles.

“The Submarine Force brings stealth, endurance, agility, and firepower to the battlefield, and these three units are shining examples of those characteristics,” Vice Adm. Kirkland H. Donald, Commander Naval Submarine Forces explained. “The success of these submarines [is] the direct result of the superior leadership skills of the three commanding officers before you today," he continued. "These skills, coupled with the ability to make tough decisions that only commanding officers must make, are the reasons we are here today.”

Montpelier III (SSN-765) 1993-071105-N-8655E-003
Montpelier deploys from Norfolk to the Central Command area of responsibility as part of the Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) Carrier Strike Group, 5 November 2007. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kelvin Edwards, U.S. Navy Photograph 071105-N-8655E-003, Navy NewsStand)

Montpelier, Cmdr. Thomas Winter in command, collided with guided missile cruiser San Jacinto (CG-56), at around 1530 on 13 October 2012. The submarined carried out training with the Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) Carrier Strike Group -- also including guided missile destroyer Gravely (DDG-107) -- off the coast of Florida when the two vessels collided. Neither reported any casualties, but Montpelier came about and the following day began an initial assessment of her damage at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga. San Jacinto assessed her injuries when she returned to port at Naval Station Mayport, Fla. Winter was subsequently relieved of his command in the wake of the mishap.

Montpelier III (SSN-765) 1993-121014-N-UP035-005
Montpelier makes for Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., following her collision with guided missile cruiser San Jacinto (CG-56), 14 October 2012. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mike DiMestico, U.S. Navy Photograph 121014-N-UP035-005, Navy NewsStand)

Detailed history under construction.

Mark L. Evans

14 September 2015

Published: Mon Sep 14 14:50:56 EDT 2015