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Narwhal III (SS (N)-671)


A gray and white arctic whale that averages 20 feet in length. The male has a long, twisted ivory tusk of commercial value.


(SS (N)-671: displacement 3,800 (surfaced), 4,600 (submerged); length 303'; beam 33'; draft 31' (maximum navigational); complement 107; armament 4 21-inch torpedo tubes; class Narwhal)

The third Narwhal (SS(N)-671) was laid down on 17 January 1966 at Groton, Conn., by General Dynamics Corp.; launched on 9 September 1967; sponsored by Mrs. Glynn R. Donaho; and delivered and commissioned on 12 July 1969, with Cmdr. W. A. Matson in command.

Narwhal  went to sea with a new type of reactor that enabled her to steam longer and further than any other submarine in existence, that power plant considerably reducing the noise level of the boat  and making her the the quietest submarine in the U.S. Naval service at the time of her commissioning.  During her 17 deployments over the next three decades,  Narwhal received the Navy Unit Commendation (1972), four Meritorious Unit Commendations, five Battle Efficiency “E” awards, one Navy Expeditionary Medal, two Armed Forces Service Medals, and one Secretary of the Navy Letter of Commendation.

Inactivated on 16 January 1999, Narwhal was simultaneously decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 July 1999. Efforts to obtain the vessel to serve as the centerpiece of a planned National Submarine Science Discovery Center (NSSDC) in Newport, Ky., resulted in legislation, signed on 30 September 2003, that enabled the Secretary of the Navy to transfer her to the NSSDC, but insufficient funds, however, caused the cancellation of the project in 2006.

More detailed history in preparation.

Robert J. Cressman

8 April 2016


Published: Fri Apr 08 13:21:16 EDT 2016