USS SALMON (SS-573)
Salmon (SSR-573) was laid down on 10 March 1954 by the United States Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, N.H.; launched on 25 February 1956; sponsored by Mrs. Albert M. Bontier, widow of the late Comdr. A.
M. Bontier who was lost when submarine
Sea Wolf (SS-197) was sunk
during a war patrol in the South Pacific
early in October 1944; and commissioned on 25 August 1956, Lt. Comdr.
Robert R. Hale in command.
Salmon, the second of a class of two radar-picket submarines and the largest and most powerful
conventional-powered submarines in the United States Navy, conducted her shakedown cruise between 19 February
and 10 May 1957, ranging from Newport, R.I., to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She
departed Portsmouth for the west coast
in late May, transited the Panama Canal on 3 July; visited Callao, Peru;
and proceeded to San Diego, Calif., arriving on the 25th.
Salmon conducted local operations in southern California waters, as a unit of Submarine Division (SubDiv) 33, until she began her first western
Pacific deployment on 23 September.
She sailed via Pearl Harbor and
Midway to join the 7th Fleet off southern Japan on 19 October. For the remainder of the year, she participated in fleet training exercises and
special operations, with port calls at
Yokosuka, Japan; Hong Kong, B.C.C.;
Manila and Subic Bay, Philippines; and Kaohsiung,
Taiwan. Salmon departed Yokosuka on 31 March 1958 and returned to
San Diego on 19 April.
Resuming local operations,
Salmon remained in the San
Diego area for the rest of the year. From 6 January 1959 until 30 May, she underwent overhaul and limited conversion
at Mare Island. Giving up a large
radome from her superstructure, she gained instrumented missile guidance
capability and improved, longer range sonar. Salmon
then prepared for her second
Salmon departed San Diego on 17 July and sailed to Pearl Harbor where her crew received missile
guidance training, then proceeded to
Japan and joined the 7th Fleet on 21
August. She operated with the fleet in Allied
training exercises, provided services for other 7th Fleet surface and
subsurface units for training purposes, and made visits to various ports,
before returning to San Diego on 14
Through 1960 and 1961, Salmon operated from San Diego with occasional visits to San Francisco;
Astoria, Oreg.; Tacoma and Port
Angeles, Wash.; and Esquimault,
British Columbia. On 1 March 1961, she was reclassified SS-573; and, on 1 November, she was reassigned to SubDiv 52.
On 1 June 1962, Salmon departed San Diego for her
third WestPac deployment. She visited Papeete, Tahiti, from 13 to 16 June, then proceeded to Yokosuka for duty with the 7th Fleet. She subsequently operated
with ASW hunter-killer groups in fleet
exercises and often engaged in
free-play battle problems with individual
surface units. During this deployment, she visited Hakodate and Sasebo, Japan; Naha, Okinawa; and Hong Kong, B.C.C. Salmon returned to
San Diego on 20 December and became
flagship of Submarine Flotilla 1;
and, in addition to that distinction, was awarded the Golden E for excellence in battle efficiency for the past
five consecutive years, which rated her
as the leading submarine of her division. Salmon was the first submarine
to earn a Golden "E" and was to
better that record by winning hashmarks signifying retention of that status during 1963 and 1964. On
3 June of the latter year, she put
into the San Francisco Naval
Shipyard to undergo FRAM II conversion. Departing the yard on 19 April 1965, as a modernized GUPPY III, she moved to the Puget Sound, Wash.,
area for evaluation and sound tests. She
then returned to San Diego, to resume
local operations, on 4 May.
Salmon commenced her fourth WestPac deployment on 23 August. She joined Submarine Flotilla (SubF-lot) 7 of the 7th Fleet on 14 September and
conducted operations in Japanese and
southwest Pacific waters until
returning to San Diego on 20 April 1966. Salmon's fifth deployment to
the western Pacific was from 20 March
to 4 October 1967. During this tour, she provided services to 7th Fleet
units operating off Vietnam in support of
operations to counter communist aggression in southeast Asia. In September, she
rendezvoused with Ulysses S. Grant (SSBN-631) and Kamehameha (SSBN-640)
somewhere in the Pacific to act as a
simulated target sub for training in antisubmarine tactics.
Through the spring of
1968, Salmon underwent overhaul
at San Francisco in preparation for support of the DSRV (Deep Submergence Recovery Vehicle) program, to
evaluate submarine rescue and salvage equipment
at extreme depths. On 1 June, she was redesignated AGSS-573 for her role as mother sub and underway submerged launching and recovery platform
for the experimental mini-subs.
However, delays in the program resulted in her return to San Diego for
local operations, following preliminary
trials at Puget Sound. She subsequently sailed on 25 October for her sixth WestPac deployment.
In November, Salmon visited
Yokosuka and Hong Kong. From 4 to 19
December, she conducted special operations
off the coast of Vietnam; and, from 26 December
1968 to 10 January 1969, she participated in SEATO exercises out of Sangley Point in the Philippines. She then returned to Yokosuka and then proceeded to Sasebo for special operations before
returning to the United States on 5
Salmon arrived at San Diego on 25 April and conducted local operations for the remainder of the
year. She resumed her former
designation as SS-573 on 30 June. On
3 January 1970, she departed San Diego for her seventh WestPac tour. In February, she conducted type training in the Philippines with Harder (SS-568)
and her sister sub, Sailfish (SS-572).
From there, she visited Buckner Bay,
Okinawa; Bangkok, Thailand; Sasebo,
Yokosuka, and Kobe, Japan; and Hong Kong, B.C.C. She returned to San Diego on 27 June and resumed local operations. She remained so employed
for the rest of 1970 and throughout 1971.
Salmon departed San Diego on 17 February 1972 on her eighth deployment to the western Pacific. In
April, she rescued survivors from the
Japanese coastal freighter, Koei
Maru #2 which sank about 30 miles south
of the entrance to Tokyo Bay. In July, she joined units of the Royal Australian Navy and Air Force
in an antisubmarine warfare exercise.
Salmon departed Pago Pago on 13
August and re-entered San Diego on the
She remained on the west coast for the remainder of 1972 and for the first five and one-half months
of 1973. On 16 June, she headed west
for what was to have been her ninth
deployment to the Far East. Upon her arrival
in Pearl Harbor, the deployment was cancelled due to damage to her number three and number four main engines. On 10
August, she sailed back to San Diego
to prepare for overhaul. Salmon entered Mare Island on 17 November and commenced overhaul nine
days later. As of mid-June 1974, she
is still at Mare Island.
[Note: The above USS SALMON (SS-573) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS SALMON (SS-573), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]