Although this site is about the USS SHARK SS(N)591, my service aboard the SHARK, and the operation and service of those years beyond, I offer this brief introduction about previous SHARKs, as they have been a significant part of Naval history throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries. Sources claim that there have been seven (USS) SHARKs, as submarines there are only 4 although one (S-26) may have been a Shark hopeful.
       The first USS SHARK was a two-masted 198-ton schooner and was launched on May 17, 1821, one of an "Alligator" class, with Lt. Mathew C. Perry commanding (later to be known as Commodore Perry and associated with the opening of Japan). In 1822 the Shark was ordered to Key West (now Florida, but then known as Caya Hueste en Norte del America from the Spanish position in Havana, Cuba) to determine its adequacy as a United States installation. Lt. Perry was so convinced that he claimed Key West for the United States in spite of both Spanish and English claims.
      Shark patrolled the Caribbean, the West Indies, and the coasts of Africa monitoring and enforcing the slave trade and privacy operations of that era.
      She was ordered into the Pacific in 1839 and was the first warship to pass through the Straits of Magellan east to west. She briefly returned to the Atlantic in 1842, then returned to the Pacific. By 1846 she was dispatched to the Columbia River in northern Oregon in the event the border dispute between the United States and Canada became hostile. After 10 men deserted her in August, 1846, she was shipwrecked off of the northern coast of Oregon on September 10th.
      In later year three of her cannons washed ashore attached to part of her decking at Arch Cape. One of her cannons, as well as several other artifacts, are on display at the Oregon resort town of Cannon Beach. Click [HERE 1821] for photo(s), links and more history (largely supplied by the Cannon Beach History Society and Museum).

       The second Shark was a 67-ton two-masted schooner built in Portsmouth, then copper-clad over oak in Mystic, CT, November 1960.
      She was delivered to Galveston, Texas, by her Captian and owner G. Patterson. Soon after the War between the States broke out she was captured by the gunboat US South Carolina, Commanded by Capt. James Alden, while she was running supplies and ammunition for the Confederacy. Once captured she was dispatched to the East Coast for service in the Union Navy.
      Once Shark was taken it was intended to be a part of the "Stone Fleet" of sunken obstructions at Charleston, but she eventually sailed to Port Royal, South Caroline, for arming and repairs. There she was she was retained, renamed and commissioned as Union Ship US George W. Rodgers, on January, 17th, 1864, with Loring G. Emerson as Acting Master in command.
      During the remainder of the war, US George W. Rodgers, served as a picket boat. Occasionally used for special dispatch and survey service. She departed to Boston July 25th, 1865; arrived Boston Navy Yard August 7th; decommissioned August 16th; and was sold to C. H. Miller by public auction on Septemner 8th.
      Although the Shark served the Union Navy she was never commissioned as 'US Shark'. For this reason she is often ignored as the 'Second Shark' giving rise to the argument that there were only six Sharks instead of seven. [HERE 1861]. For more information and other 'misinformatiom'.
      NOTE: US Ship Name denotes 'Union Ship'; a distinction between CS Ship Name denoting 'Confederate Ship'; terms used between the War Between the States.

       The third USS SHARK (SS-8), the first submarine, had her keel laid in 1901 and was an A-boat of the Adder Class serving in various capacities until she was de-commissioned (finally) in 1922. For a photo(s), info, and linking to other interesting sites click [HERE SS-8].

       The fourth USS SHARK (SP-534), was originally a pleasure craft built in 1909 and named the Ildico IV then subsequenly the Shark. She was purchased by the Navy in 1917 and commissioned as the USS Shark (SP-534). She patrolled the coast of New England during World War I then decommissioned in 1919. For a photo(s)and info [HERE SP-534].

       The crew of the S-26 (SS-131), a submarine, apparently assumed the name Shark in approximately 1925-1928. There is no record, however, that the Navy ever commissioned S-26 as a USS Shark. S-26 was lost on January 24, 1942, with the loss of 46 officers and men when it was sunk after an accidental ramming by the USS PC-460 in the Gulf of Panama, 14 miles west of San Jose Light. She reportedly dived shortly after the ramming and failed to surface in diveable water off of the Panamanian coast. For a photo(s), info, and linking to other interesting sites click [HERE SS-131].

       The fifth USS SHARK (SS-174), a submarine, was commissioned in 1936 and was a P-3 Type Submarine of the Porpoise Class (although some erroneous reports has her as a Shark Class). She went innocently into World War II surrendering all of her crew of 58 on what is believed to be February 11, 1942, after being attacked three times East of Menado in The Celebes. For a photo(s), info, and linking to other interesting sites click [HERE SS-174].

       During World War II Naval construction of submarines, just as all military construction and manufacture, reached a feverish pitch. A complete list of those submarines, and those lost, can be found at [HERE WW-II SUBS]
       The above paragraph is offered to explain why the next (the sixth) SHARK was USS SHARK II (SS-314). It was as a Fleet Boat of the Balao Class, commissioned in 1944. It was second SHARK to be lost in WW-II to the perils of the enemy with a compliment of 87, on what is believed to be October 24, 1944, when it was sunk in the waters midway between Hainan and Bashi Channel; 20 41N; 118 27E. For a photo(s), info, and linking to other interesting sites click [HERE SS-314]. (NOTE: The USS Lagarto, SS371, is depicted on right for the USS Shark-II dus to unavailability of actual Shark II photos.).

       After World War II ended the United States went through a burgeoning period of prosperity and advancement, yet ever mindful that a nuclear holocaust was possible. While many fleet boats were converted to GUPPY Types (Greater Underwater Propulsion Power) there no is record of a Shark being so re-fitted. But in 1955 Rear Admiral Himan J. Rickover convinced the political entities that nuclear power had it’s place on submarines, both as a propulsion media and a deterrent force with nuclear armaments. The result was the launch of the USS NAUTILUS (SS(N)-571) in 1957 --- a caption to Jules Verne’s written dream of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The Nautilus lacked certain operational advantages. Consequently various contracts were let to configure several designs of nuclear submarines.

       On board the USS SHARK (SSN591) there was a plaque stating that (SSN591) was named after the " Tiger Shark". Unfortunately there are no official records of a "Tiger Shark," even though there are often references to both a "Tiger Shark", and even a "Thresher Shark", but to submarine sailors of the 1960's there will never be any confusion about the Shark (SSN591) and the Thresher (SSN593) that sunk during sea trials off of the coasts of New England with all souls aboard. I have found, however, an interesting personal diary entry of Harry Chymczuck in France, 1952, that claims a "USS Tiger Shark tied up to O'Hare in 1952;" but without pennant number, or anything else, I have to dismiss this claim as nothing but youthful exuberance, or the cloaking of Naval assets for interests of National Security.

       The seventh USS SharkSSN-591, a nuclear submarine, was built at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, VA, and commissioned on February 9, 1961. It originally sailed into the Carribean then into the Mediterranean as the first nuclear submarine to be so deployed. After a trip to Bermuda she was sent to the North Atlantic after calling at Portsmouth, England. After an availability period she was again deployed to the North Atlantic after calling calling at Faslane, Scotland. She went into her first overhaul in 1964. After which she partiipated in antisubmarine warfare exercises, receiving the Navy Unit Commendation.
      Continuing antisubmarine warfare operations, spending time in Holy Loch, Scotland, then received her second Navy Unit Commendation. She was the first nuclear ship to visit Canada at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and operated there with the Royal Canadian Navy. After a refueling she participated in local, special and training operations along the East Coast. She was assigned to the 6th Fleet in 1972 and there operated with the Atlantic Fleet. A 'Deactication Ceremony' was held held on October 11th, 1989, at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California. She was Decommissioned and 'Struck' from the Navy List on September 15th, 1990. Later to be 'dead stick towed' to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Bremerton, Washington; eventually to be disposed through the SRP (Submarine Recycling Program) in 1996. [HERE SSN-591].

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