The USS Hunley (AS-31) keel was laid 28 November 1960 at the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Virginia. Hunley was sponsored by Mrs. J. Palmer Gaillard, wife of the Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, launched on 28 September 1961 and commisioned on 16 June 1962.
AS-31 was named for Horace Lawson Hunley (1823-1863), designer of the Confederate submarine CSS Hunley. Horance Hunley, along with the entire crew of the CSS Hunley, was drown when the Hunley was swamped during testing. The CSS Hunley was salvaged and went on to sink the USS Housatonic of the Union blockade force at Charleston SC.
Hunley was the first of a class of submarine tenders designed to support the Polaris Missle Submarines coming into service.
USS Hunley (AS-31) sailed from Hampton Roads in July 1962 for shakedown training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She continued with post-commisioning training and detailed fit out until late Decmeber 1962 when she departed for Holy Loch, Scotland. Hunley continued as tender to Submarine Squadron 14 at Holy Loch until April 1964. Hunley was upgraded to support a modified version of the Polaris Missle and returned to duty at Holy Loch in June 1964.
USS Hunley moved to her new homeport of Charleston SC in 1966. Overhauled in late 1967, Hunley steamed to Guam to relieve USS Proteus for overhaul. Hunley returned to Charleston in June 1968.
In July 1971 Hunley again transited to Guam to relieve USS Proteus for maintenance. Hunley returned to the the US in early 1973 and underwent overhaul in the Puget sound NSY. The overhaul included modifications to support the Posideon Missle then in service. Once out of the shipyard, USS Hunley voyaged to Charleston SC, touching at San Francisco, San Diego, Acapulco, the Panama Canal, Guantanomo Bay, Ft. Lauderdale and Cocoa Beach, Florida as she progressed back into service.
USS Hunley again relieved Proteus as the submarine tender on Gaum in November 1978, returning to Charleston in July 1980. Upon return she was overhauled in the Charleston NSY.
In January 1982 Hunley crossed to Atlantic to take up station at Holy Loch, Scotland. After spending five years on station at Holy Lock, she was relieved by USS Simon Lake and headed for the US in July 1987. Shortly after arriving in Charleston, Hunley was sent to Florida to assist in Hurricane Andrew Recovery.
Hulney shifted homeport to Norflok in July 1992. In November 1993 she sailed to Cape Canaveral, stopped at Key West and returned to Norfolk. This proved to be her last sailing.
USS Hunley (AS-33) was decommissioned on 30 September 1994. Hunleys hulk as sold for scrapping in 2007.
The USS Hunley (AS-31) operational history and significant events of her service career follow:
USS HUNLEY (AS-31)
Hunley (AS-31) was launched 28 September 1961 by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.
Va.; sponsored by Mrs. J. Palmer Gaillard
wife of the Mayor of Charleston
S.C.; and commissioned 16 June 1962
Captain Douglas N. Syverson
Hunley has the distinction of being the first ship designed and built up from the keel to service and maintain the U.S. Navy's nuclear powered Ballistic Missile Submarine Fleet. She has complete facilities for servicing the complex Polaris Weapons Systems and for accomplishing any submarine repair other than a major shipyard overhaul.
Hunley sailed 25 July 1962 for shakedown training off Cuba. This completed 6 September
she visited several Gulf and Atlantic ports
including Mobile and Charleston. She returned north to Norfolk 28 September for postshakedown alterations until 8 December. She next paid a 3-day visit to New York City to host the Naval Reserve Officers Seminar "New Ships for the Modern Navy." She stood out of the Norfolk Operating Base 29 December 1962 for Holy Loch
arriving 9 January 1963. Almost immediately she began taking the load off Proteus
whom she officially relieved 15 March 1963 as tender to Submarine Squadron 14 at Holy Loch
Scotland. This duty continued until 12 April 1964 when Hunley sailed for conversion that provided capability of handling the new A3 Polaris Missile. She resumed her duties at Holy Loch 15 June 1964.
A Polaris milestone was reached in December 1965 when Thomas A. Edison came alongside to commence the 100th refit of an SSBN by Hunley. This signified that one hundred SSBN submarines had gone out on time from Hunley and not one of them had to make an early return from patrol. This represents some 200 months of Polaris on station or 16½ years of submerged strategic deterrent since Hunley's arrival in Holy Loch 9 January 1963.
Among impressive jobs carried out by Hunley is welding on SSBN pressure hulls or reactor plant fluid systems. Once unheard of in submarine tending
these jobs are only a few of many tackled with confidence and skill by Hunley. These and many other alterations are carried out as a matter of routine to keep SSBN's on the line with the newest possible technical improvements and safety devices. For example
an auxiliary "Sub-Safe" package was accomplished on Theodore Roosevelt in which over 40 fittings and more than 100 feet of new piping in a major system were installed. A battery replacement for Ethan Allen was completed in only 11 days. Hunley meets demands from making water-borne propeller replacements to encapsulation of AC induction motors; delicate repairs to navigation and fire control
and many other varied tasks to insure that each SSBN has the finest of care on each refit. The resolution
and persevering fidelity of her officers and men give firm allegiance to Hunley's motto: "We Serve to Preserve Peace."
Hunley returned to the United States late in 1966 and in 1967 operates out of Charleston
laboring to keep sharp the edge of the Navy's underwater nuclear deterrent.
[Note: The above USS HUNLEY (AS-31) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS HUNLEY (AS-31) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]