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USS L. Y. Spear (AS 36)

- decommissioned -

USS L. Y. SPEAR was the first ship in the L. Y. SPEAR - class of submarine tenders designed and fitted to accommodate attack submarines and service up to four submarines moored alongside simultaneously. The L. Y. SPEARS was the first ship in the Navy to bear the name.

Decommissioned on September 6, 1996, and stricken from the Navy list on May 3, 1999, the L. Y. SPEAR spent the following years laid up at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Va. In July 2010, she was sold for scrapping to ESCO Marine of Brownsville, Tx.

General Characteristics:Awarded: May 12, 1965
Keel laid: May 5, 1966
Launched: September 7, 1967
Commissioned: February 22, 1970
Decommissioned: September 6, 1996
Builder: General Dynamics' Quincy Shipbuilding Division, Quincy, Mass.
Propulsion System: two boilers, steam turbines, one shaft
Propellers: one
Length: 643 feet (196 meters)
Beam: 85 feet (25.9 meters)
Draft: 29 feet (8.8 meters)
Displacement: approx. 23,300 tons
Speed: 20 knots
Armament: two 40mm guns, four 20mm guns
Crew: 87 officers, 1,235 enlisted

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Crew List:

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

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Accidents aboard USS L. Y. SPEAR:

February 22, 1978Mississippi River
USS L. Y. SPEAR and the Liberian merchant ship ZEPHYROS receive minor damage in a collision in the Mississippi River.

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About the Ship's Name:

Lawrence York Spear, born in Warren, Ohio, 23 October 1870, graduated second in his class at the Naval Academy in 1890. He served as an ensign in Pensacola, Baltimore (0-8), and Charleston (0-2) in the Atlantic and South Pacific for nearly 2 years.

In 1891, due to his ability and enthusiasm in the project of modernizing the Navy, he was transferred to the Construction Corps and sent to the University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland. Returning with a B.S. in 1893, he spent most of the next 9 years acquiring construction experience in shipyards across the country. While Superintendent of Construction at Crescent Shipyard, Elizabethport, N.J., from 1898 to 1002, he helped build five Holland-designed submarines, first of the U.S. undersea fleet.

In 1902, he resigned his commission as lieutenant to join the Electric Boat Co., successor to the Holland Torpedo Boat Co., founded by inventor John P. Holland. Spear then devoted more than 48 years to the construction of submarines. He is credited with six basic design concepts which are an integral part of all modern naval submarines, including double hull amidships, single hull ends, and propelling apparatus. His great faith in the importance of the submarine was more than justified by the decisive role the Navy's undersea fleet played in destroying the power of the Japanese in the Pacific during World War II. As company president, 1942 to 1947, he directed the production of more than half of the submarines completed during the war.

Spear retired in 1947 to serve as board chairman for the next 3 years, and died at Groton, Conn., 9 September 1950.

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USS L. Y. SPEAR Patch Gallery:

Persian Gulf 1991

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The photos below were taken by me and show the L. Y. SPEAR laid up at Norfolk, Va. The photos were taken on February 3, 2009.


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