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USS Simon Lake (AS 33)

- decommissioned -

USS SIMON LAKE was the lead ship of the SIMON LAKE - class of submarine tenders and the first ship in the Navy named after Simon Lake who was a mechanical engineer and naval architect. He was the inventor of even-keel type submarines and built ARGONUT, in 1897, which was the first submarine to operate successfully in the open sea. He also invented submarine apparatus for locating and recovering sunken vessels and their cargoes, and a heavy-oil internal combustion engine for marine use. He died on 23 June 1945.

The USS SIMON LAKE served the Navy for 34 years until decommissioned on July 31, 1999. She was stricken from the Navy list on April 25, 2006. Initially laid up at Philadelphia, Penn., the SIMON LAKE was towed to Portsmouth, Va., for lay-up near the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in 2008. There she was decontaminated between 2011 and 2015. On December 3, 2015, the ship was towed to the James River Reserve Fleet site to await final disposal. Later sold for scrapping, the SIMON LAKE left Virginia under tow for Brownsville, Tx., on February 5, 2019, arriving there on February 27.

General Characteristics:Awarded: August 8, 1962
Keel laid: January 7, 1963
Launched: February 8, 1964
Commissioned: November 7, 1964
Decommissioned: July 31, 1999
Builder: Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash.
Propulsion System: two boilers, steam turbines, one shaft
Propellers: one
Length: 643.7 feet (196.2 meters)
Beam: 85 feet (25.9 meters)
Draft: 30 feet (9.1 meters)
Displacement: approx. 20,000 tons
Speed: 18 knots
Armament: four 20mm guns
Crew: approx. 1,200

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Crew List:

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

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USS SIMON LAKE Cruise Books:

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Accidents aboard USS SIMON LAKE:

May 1990Atlantic, off FranceWhile enroute to Brest, France, the USS SIMON LAKE is conducting Basic Engineering drills and is dead in the water during heavy seas. The ship is hit by a "rogue wave" and lists so badly, that equipment and desks are torn from their weldings. One female Seaman had to be medivac'd when the SIMON LAKE pulled into Brest the next day. There were other numerous minor injuries among the crew.
December 27, 1996La Maddalena, ItalyOne of SIMON LAKE's mooring chains breaks during a storm with 90 to 100 knot wind gusts resulting in SIMON LAKE hitting the USS JAMES K. POLK (SSN 645), a LCM and a YFNB. All involved vessels experienced some scrapes to their hulls. Additional damage was caused to the pier and a light pole.

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About the Ship's Name:

Simon Lake, born 4 September 1866, son of John Christopher Lake, an inventor and foundry owner, attended public schools in Philadelphia and Toms River, New Jersey and was graduated from the Clinton Liveral Institute at Fort Poain, New York. After a course in mechanical drawing he became a partner in his father's business.

Lake's main ambition since his childhood had been to build submarines for the United States Navy. His first submarine, ARGONAUT, was built in 1894. He was not a wealthy man and had a difficult time financing the building of this boat. Since the submarine was still considered experimental, the United States Government held trials to see if the Lake submarine or that of his rival inventor Holland was to be adopted. Neither was considered satisfactory at that time and Lake's much improved submarine PROTECTOR was built in 1901. PROTECTOR was the first successfully tested even-keeled submarine.

American naval authorities were slow in considering PROTECTOR and she was sold to Russia. Lake spent the next seven years in Europe where he advised on submarine construction as well as designing and building. On return to the United States he founded the Lake Torpedo Boat Company which built submarines for both the Austrian and American Governments. His first submarine for the United States Navy was USS G-1 constructed at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company under a subcontract from the Lake Torpedo Boat Company. Commissioned on 28 October 1912, the G-1 set a record by submerging to the depth to 256 feet. Soon the United States Government adopted the Lake type of submarine to be built in its Navy yards under royalty to the Lake company. There was universal recognition of the efficiency of his underseas craft and his influence on designs of the United States Navy submarines has endured over the years to reach the era of atomic and hydrodynamic design.

Simon Lake's interest was not in the military uses of underwater craft, but rather, throughout his life he attempted to convince the world of the commercial and peaceful uses of the submarine. Although his boyhood dream never came true he went on to make many significant salvage and marine inventions and served in an advisory capacity during World War II. As the inventor of the first even-keeled submarine, Simon Lake was one of the greatest factors in the development of the submarine and, before his death, 23 June 1945, he had seen many of his early visions become reality.

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The photos below were taken by me and show the SIMON LAKE laid up at Norfolk, Va. The photos were taken on February 3, 2009. The SIMON LAKE is laid-up between the L. Y. SPEAR (AS 36) and the McKEE (AS 41).


The photos below were taken by me and show the SIMON LAKE still laid up at Norfolk, Va. She has been moved a bit closer to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard compared to the photos above. The photos were taken on October 27, 2010.


The photos below were taken by me and show the SIMON LAKE still laid up at Norfolk, Va., on May 6, 2012.


The photos below were taken by Michael Jenning and show the SIMON LAKE still laid up at Norfolk, Va., on April 29, 2015.


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