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USS Hawkbill (SSN-666)
USS Hawkbill (SSN-666)
USS Hawkbill (SSN-666) off Southern California on 1 February 1991
Name: USS Hawkbill (SSN-666)
Namesake: Misspelling carried over from previous ship of the name (USS Hawkbill (SS-366)) of "hawksbill", a large sea turtle
Ordered: 18 December 1964
Builder: Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California
Laid down: 12 September 1966
Launched: 12 April 1969
Sponsored by: Mrs. Bernard F. Roeder
Commissioned: 4 February 1971
Decommissioned: 15 March 2000
Struck: 15 March 2000
Nickname: "The Devil Boat"
Fate: Scrapping via Ship and Submarine Recycling Program begun 15 March 2000, completed 1 December 2000
General characteristics
Class & type: Sturgeon-class attack submarine
Displacement: 4,002 long tons (4,066 t) light
4,294 long tons (4,363 t) full
292 long tons (297 t) dead
Length: 292 ft (89 m)
Beam: 32 ft (9.8 m)
Draft: 29 ft (8.8 m)
Installed power: 15,000 shaft horsepower (11.2 megawatts)
Propulsion: One S5W nuclear reactor, two steam turbines, one screw
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) surfaced
25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph) submerged
Test depth: 1,300 feet (396 meters)
Complement: 109 (14 officers, 95 enlisted men)
Armament: 4 × 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes

USS Hawkbill (SSN-666), a Sturgeon-class attack submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the hawksbill, a large sea turtle. The name perpetuated the inadvertent misspelling of "hawksbill" in the naming of the first ship of the name, USS Hawkbill (SS-366).

Hawkbill was sometimes called "The Devil Boat" or the "Devilfish" because of her hull number (666); chapter 13 of the Bible's Book of Revelation, which begins "And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea...." and ends "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six;" and the resulting association in Christianity of the number 666 with the Devil and the Antichrist.

Construction and commissioning

The contract to build Hawkbill was awarded to the Mare Island Division of San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California, on 18 December 1964 and her keel was laid down there on 12 September 1966. She was launched on 12 April 1969, sponsored by Mrs. Bernard F. Roeder, the wife of Vice Admiral Bernard F. Roeder, Commander United States First Fleet, and commissioned on 4 February 1971 with Commander Christopher H. Brown in command.

Service history

In 1980, Hawkbill completed a scheduled overhaul of her reactor core at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard at Bremerton, Washington, with her crew berthed at Naval Submarine Base Bangor at Bangor, Washington. After sea trials and sound trials and port visits to Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada; Alameda, California; and San Diego, California, Hawkbill returned to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, commanded by Fredric Crawford. In 1982, Hawkbill made a Western Pacific cruise with stops at Yokosuka, Japan; Subic Bay, the Philippines; Hong Kong; and Guam. In early 1984, Hawkbill deployed to the Arctic under the command of George Roletter, undertaking an 87-day excursion under the polar ice cap which ended with a visit to Chinhae, South Korea. She also made weekend dependent cruises from Pearl Harbor to Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, during 1984. Hawkbill was decommissioned on 15 March 2000, the last of the "short-hull" Sturgeon-class attack submarinees to be decommissioned, and that same day both was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register and entered the Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for scrapping. Her scrapping was completed on 1 December 2000.


Hawkbill's sail was preserved and is exhibited in the Idaho Science Center in Arco, Idaho.

Sail of SSN-666 on display in Arco, Idaho


External links

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