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USS Lewis and Clark (SSBN 644)

- decommissioned -

USS LEWIS AND CLARK was one of the BENJAMIN FRANKLIN - class nuclear powered fleet ballistic missile submarines. Generally similar to the LAFAYETTE - class, the twelve BENJAMIN FRANKLIN - class submarines had a quieter machinery design, and were thus considered a separate class. USS LEWIS AND CLARK was the first ship in the Navy to bear the name.

Both decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list on August 1, 1992, the LEWIS AND CLARK later entered the Navy's Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash. Recycling was completed on September 23, 1996. However, LEWIS AND CLARK's sail, sail planes and rudder were saved and are now part of the Cold War Memorial at Patriots Point, Mount Pleasant, SC.

General Characteristics:Awarded: November 1, 1962
Keel laid: July 29, 1963
Launched: November 21, 1964
Commissioned: December 22, 1965
Decommissioned: August 1, 1992
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Va.
Propulsion system: one S5W nuclear reactor
Propellers: one
Length: 425 feet (129.6 meters)
Beam: 33 feet (10 meters)
Draft: 31.5 feet (9.6 meters)
Displacement: Surfaced: approx. 7,250 tons
Submerged: approx. 8,250 tons
Speed: Surfaced: 16 - 20 knots
Submerged: 22 - 25 knots
Armament: 16 vertical tubes for Polaris or Poseidon missiles, four 21" torpedo tubes for Mk-48 torpedoes, Mk-14/16 torpedoes, Mk-37 torpedoes and Mk-45 nuclear torpedoes
Crew: 13 Officers and 130 Enlisted (two crews)


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Crew List:

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS LEWIS AND CLARK. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.


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About the Ship's Name:

Meriwether Lewis was born 18 August 1774 in Albemarle County, Va. Much of his boyhood was spent learning the ways of wildlife and Indian lore. When he was 20 years old he was called to active duty during the “Whiskey Rebellion” in October 1794. After joining the Regular Army, he marched to Greenville, Ohio, the following year to view the signing of the Northwest Treaty. During this mission he was a subordinate of William Clark, his future companion in exploring the West.

Following Thomas Jefferson’s election, Lewis was offered the post of private secretary, and he became overseer of Jefferson’s domestic arrangements. In 1803, when Congress appropriated funds for exploring the West, Lewis went to Philadelphia to organize the expedition. As his companion officer he chose William Clark.

Clark was born 1 August 1770 in Caroline County, Va. Like Lewis, he was brought up in the revolutionary spirit and spent some of his early years defending against marauding Indians.

Designed to find a land route to the Pacific, the expedition mustered in Illinois in 1804 and for the next 28 months, proceeded to gain invaluable information about the unknown parts of the continent and its Indian inhabitants. The exploring party returned to St. Louis in September 1806.

For the rest of their lives, Lewis and Clark dedicated their abilities to administration of the U.S. territories and gave valuable service in Indian affairs. Meriwether Lewis died 11 October 1809 and William Clark died 1 September 1838.


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