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USS Norfolk (SSN-714)
USS Norfolk (SSN-714)
Name: Norfolk
Namesake: Norfolk, Virginia
Awarded: 20 February 1976
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding
Laid down: 1 August 1979
Launched: 31 October 1981
Sponsored by: Mrs. Caspar Weinberger
Commissioned: 21 May 1983
Homeport: Norfolk, Virginia
Motto: Vi per Concordiam
(Latin: "Strength through Unity")
Status: in active service, as of 2022
Badge: USS Norfolk SSN-714 Crest.png
General characteristics
Class & type: Los Angeles class submarine
Displacement: 5,751 tons light, 6,126 tons full, 375 tons dead
Length: 110.3 m (361 ft 11 in)
Beam: 10 m (32 ft 10 in)
Draft: 9.7 m (31 ft 10 in)
Propulsion: S6G nuclear reactor
Complement: 12 officers, 98 men
Armament: 4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes

USS Norfolk (SSN-714), a Los Angeles-class attack submarine, was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for Norfolk, Virginia. The contract to build her was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, Virginia on 20 February 1976 and her keel was laid down on 1 August 1979. She was launched on 31 October 1981 sponsored by Mrs. Caspar Weinberger, and commissioned on 21 May 1983, with Commander Kenneth R. Karr in command (Commander Karr was promoted to the Pentagon later that year and retired from the NPEB as a Captain in 1988).

With the second Commanding Officer, Alfred Ponessa, Norfolk conducted extensive trials of the next-generation torpedo, ADCAP, as well as advanced and secret acoustic experiments. The ship also made an active deployment during one of the final spurts of activity from the declining Soviet navy. On 23 July 1988 the USS Norfolk fired the first ADCAP torpedo, sinking the USS Jonas Ingram (DD-938). Commander Ponessa was succeeded by Commander Harrop in 1988.

On 17 January 1989, Norfolk was involved in a collision with the combat stores ship USS San Diego (AFS-6) off Cape Charles Light, VA as both vessels were headed to sea. Norfolk was outbound for an engineering inspection, an event which occupied all of the ships most experienced officers. The Officer of the Deck was the ship's most junior officer, a non-nuclear-trained Lieutenant Junior-Grade, and the Commanding Officer himself was new to the ship, sick and hoarse that day. While trying to pass the San Diego in a turn in the channel, the current set Norfolk towards an outer buoy on the port side. Overcorrecting for this event, Norfolk delivered a glancing blow to the ship on her starboard side, San Diego. There were no injuries, and neither ship suffered significant structural damage. Upon returning to dockside later that day, Norfolk's commanding officer was relieved, and the sub proceeded on the surface to Kings Bay, Georgia, for inspection and repairs. As a result of this collision, COMSUBLANT issued orders limiting submarine speed and passing activities while in the restricted waters of the Hampton Roads channels.

On 25 August 2004, Norfolk returned to Norfolk, VA after a 22-month Engineering Refueling Overhaul (ERO) at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine.


Actor Jamie Farr aboard USS Norfolk in 2007.

  • This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain. The entry can be found here.

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