USS Glenard P. Lipscomb (SSN-685)

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USS Glenard P. Lipscomb (SSN-685), a unique submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Glenard P. Lipscomb (19 August 1915–1 February 1970), who served as a Congressman from the 24th District of California from 1953 until his death (intestinal cancer) in 1970.



Glenard P. Lipscomb was the Navy's second design using a turbo-electric power plant similar to USS Tullibee (SSN-597). Intended to test the potential advantages of this propulsion system for providing quieter submarine operations, with a displacement of 6,400 tons and a length of 365 feet, it was heavier and larger than similar vessels with conventional drive trains, which resulted in slower speeds. Those disadvantages, along with reliability issues, led to the decision not to use the design for the follow-on Los Angeles-class submarines. Other than the engine room, Glenard P. Lipscomb was generally similar to the Sturgeon-class, and although serving as a test platform, the "Lipscomb Fish" -- her nickname—was a fully combat-capable attack submarine.


Construction of Glenard P. Lipscomb began on 5 June 1971 at the Electric Boat Company shipyard in Groton, Connecticut. Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird, a long-time colleague and friend of Glenard Lipscomb, spoke at the keel-laying ceremony and was presented with a model in memory of the event. (Ref Press Release 497-71). Glenard P. Lipscomb was launched on 4 August 1973, sponsored by Mrs. Glenard P. Lipscomb, and was commissioned on 21 December 1974 with Commander James F. Caldwell in command. Speaking at the commissioning was the Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird.


Decommissioning and disposal

Lipscomb was decommissioned and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 11 July 1990 and disposed of by submarine recycling at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard on 1 December 1997.

External links

  • Photo gallery of USS Glenard P. Lipscomb (SSN-685) at NavSource Naval History

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