Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Tecumseh IV (SSBN-628)

(SSBN-628: dp. 7,300 (surf.), 8,250 (subm.); 1. 425'; b. 33'; dr. 31'4"; s. 16 k. (surf.), 21 k. (subm.); cpl. 140; a. 16 Polaris mis., 4 tt.; cl. James Madison)

While still a youth, Tecumseh, a Shawnee Indian chief born near the present site of Springfield, Ohio, sometime in or around 1768, won renown as a brave and skillful warrior. He devoted his life to opposing the advance of white settlers. Reasoning that land in North America, especially in the Ohio valley, belonged to all of the tribes in common, Tecumseh maintained that sales of territory by any single tribe to the United States were null and void. After the Federal Government refused to recognize this principle, Tecumseh attempted to organize a great Indian Confederacy to stem the white tide.

However, while he was in the South working to unite the tribes, Federal troops under Governor William Henry Harrison defeated and scattered Indian forces on 7 November 1811 in the battle of Tippecanoe. This defeat doomed the Indian Confederacy.

After Congress declared war on Great Britain the following year, Tecumseh accepted a commission as a brigadier general in the British army. He cooperated with British troops to win a number of victories in the Great Lakes region, including the capture of Detroit. However, Comdr. Oliver Hazard Perry's victory on Lake Erie, late in the summer of 1813, cut British supply lines and prompted them to withdraw along the Thames Valley. Tecumseh and his braves covered the British retirement until American troops led by Harrison, now a major general, caught up with them at Moraviantown. Tecumseh was killed in the ensuing Battle of the Thames on 5 October 1813.

In June 1930, a bronze replica of the figurehead of ship-of-the-line Delaware was presented by the Class of 1891 to the United States Naval Academy. This bust, perhaps the most famous relic on the campus, has been widely identified as Tecumseh. However, when it adorned the American man-of-war, it commemorated not Tecumseh but Tamanend, the revered Delaware chief who welcomed William Penn to America when he arrived in Delaware country on October 2, 1682.


The fourth Tecumseh (SSBN-628) was laid down on 1 June 1962 at Groton, Conn., by the Electric Boat Division of the General Dynamics Corp.; launched on 22 June 1963; sponsored by Mrs. Robert L. F. Sikes; and was commissioned on 29 May 1964, Comdr. Arnett B. Taylor (blue crew) and Comdr. Charles S. Carlisle (gold crew) in command.

Tecumseh soon departed the east coast, bound for Hawaii. Based at Pearl Harbor, the nuclear-powered submarine deployed to the Marianas on 17 December 1964, arriving at Guam 12 days later to commence deterrent patrols. Alternately manned by "blue" and "gold" crews, she conducted 21 of these missions into 1969.

The submarine was then transferred to the Atlantic Fleet where she proceeded via Pearl Harbor and the Panama Canal to the east coast and arrived at Newport News, Va., on 8 November 1969. Soon thereafter, she entered the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company yards for a conversion which replaced her Polaris missiles system with its Poseidon counterpart. Emerging from drydock on 9 May 1970, Tecumseh underwent a thorough overhaul through that fall and winter before being assigned a new home port of Charleston, S.C., on 18 February 1971.

She conducted sea trials and shakedown out of Charleston before conducting two deterrent patrols in late 1971. Subsequently deployed to Holy Loch, Scotland, Tecumseh arrived in Scottish waters on 9 February 1972. She conducted 18 more deterrent patrols out of Holy Loch through 1976 and operates with the Atlantic Fleet into 1980.

Published: Fri Sep 25 13:54:41 EDT 2015