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USS Glenard P. Lipscomb (SSN-685)
USS Glenard P. Lipscomb (SSN-685)
USS Glenard P. Lipscomb (SS-685)
Name: USS Glenard P. Lipscomb
Namesake: Glenard P. Lipscomb (1915–1970)
Awarded: 16 December 1968
Builder: General Dynamics Electric Boat, Groton, Connecticut
Laid down: 5 June 1971
Launched: 4 August 1973
Sponsored by: Mrs. Glenard P. Lipscomb
Commissioned: 21 December 1974
Decommissioned: 11 July 1990
Struck: 11 July 1990
Nickname: "The Lipscomb Fish"
Fate: Entered Ship-Submarine Recycling Program 1997
General characteristics
Type: Nuclear submarine
Displacement: 5,813 long tons (5,906 t) surfaced
6,480 long tons (6,584 t) submerged
Length: 365 ft (111 m)
Beam: 32 ft (9.8 m)
Propulsion: S5W reactor
Speed: 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) surfaced
23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph) submerged
Test depth: 1,300 ft (400 m)
Complement: 12 officers, 109 men
Armament: 4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes

USS Glenard P. Lipscomb (SSN-685), a unique submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Glenard P. Lipscomb (19 August 1915– 1 February 1970), who served as a Congressman from the 24th District of California from 1953 until his death in 1970.


Glenard P. Lipscomb was the Navy's second submarine design using turbo-electric transmission. (The first was USS Tullibee (SSN-597).) Intended to test the potential advantages of this propulsion system for providing quieter submarine operations, with a displacement of 6,400 tons and a length of 365 feet, she was heavier and larger than similar vessels with conventional drive trains, which resulted in slower speeds. Those disadvantages, along with reliability issues, led to the decision not to use the design for the follow-on Los Angeles-class submarines. Other than the engine room, Glenard P. Lipscomb was generally similar to the Sturgeon-class, and although serving as a test platform, the "Lipscomb Fish" – her nickname—was a fully combat-capable attack submarine.


Construction of Glenard P. Lipscomb began on 5 June 1971 at the Electric Boat Company shipyard in Groton, Connecticut. Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird, a long-time colleague and friend of Glenard Lipscomb, spoke at the keel-laying ceremony and was presented with a model in memory of the event. (Ref Press Release 497-71). Glenard P. Lipscomb was launched on 4 August 1973, sponsored by Mrs. Glenard P. Lipscomb, and was commissioned on 21 December 1974 with Commander James F. Caldwell in command. Speaking at the commissioning was the Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird.


History from 1974 to 1990 needed.

Deployed to the North Atlantic in the fall of 1976, followed immediately by a deployment to the Mediterranean Sea in the winter and spring of 1977. Awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation.

Deployed to the North Atlantic in the winter and spring of 1978. Awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation.

Deployed to the Mediterranean Sea in the winter and spring of 1979.

Awarded the Commander, Submarine Development Squadron Twelve, Battle Efficiency [White] "E" and Engineering Excellence [Red] "E" for Fiscal Years 1977, 1978 [Commander Robert B. Wilkinson, Commanding], 1979, and 1980 [Commander Thomas Robertson, Commanding].

Decommissioning and disposal

Lipscomb was decommissioned and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 11 July 1990 and disposed of by submarine recycling at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard on 1 December 1997.

External links

  • Photo gallery of USS Glenard P. Lipscomb (SSN-685) at NavSource Naval History

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