I was privilege in 1978 to have been appointed Assistant Nuclear Power Superintendent (CODE 2301) for the defueling overhaul of USS Nautilus SSN 571. We also following the Nautilus defueling and decommissioning,  refuled USS Seawolf SSN  575. Both had similar nuclear plants and it was prudent to conduct the defueling of Nautilus and refueling of Seawolf at Mare Island.   Seawolf home port was at Mare Island.  The challenges at Mare was to conduct the defueling using antiquated equipment (cutting machines, barrells, hoists, etc) delivered from Electric Boat in Groton.  The equipment was prepared using existing standards of cleanliness and captivation in late 1970s(see above- the equipment was designed and fabricated in the early 1950s) and HGR gave no quarter on this set of requirements.  After defueling, Nautilus was towed to Puget Sound where she was placed in mothballs for several years until she was returned to her home in New London, Connecticut.  There today she lies as a historic site for all Americans to visit and enjoy.

The print below is in my private collection and was presented to me upon decommissioning of Nautilus at Mare Island.   Signed by the Commanding Officer.  Nautilus and I spanned the 60s and 70s as the US submarine service transitioned from a handful of diesel boats to over 100 nuclear submarines.




Below Sourced from Naval History Heritage Command



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *