USS Kamehameha SSBN 642




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 This website is dedicated to those who served aboard the Kamehameha


What's New? Crewmember Database Kamehameha Photo History Ship's Store Kam Stuff Send email Greg's Home Page

A note from the webmaster: I served on the USS Kamehameha blue crew from 1983 to 1986 as an ET (nuke) reactor operator. I started this web site a few years ago mostly as an exercise for learning HTML. Since then, the positive response from former crewmembers and other interested people has been great. It makes it all worthwhile. Please keep the input coming!  

Kam at the tender

Here is a nice picture of the Kamfish alongside the USS Hunley in Holy Loch Scotland, about 1985.

More Photos HERE

More photos and stories can be found on the Kamehameha Photo History Pages - donations are welcome! 

What is the Kamehameha?

The Kamehameha was one of the original 41 Polaris fleet ballistic missile (FBM) submarines built in the 1960's. Her keel was laid in 1963 and she was launched and commissioned in 1965. 

These submarines were the platform where the real cold war was fought. The Kamehameha, and others like her, performed numerous strategic deterrent patrols, remaining submerged and undetected for months at a time. With her arsenal of 16 Polaris and Poseidon nuclear missiles, Kamehameha patrolled the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific, on alert status, her exact location known only to the crew onboard. Carrying more potential destructive power than has ever been unleashed in the history of mankind, the Kamehameha served as a deterrent to those who would seek to attack our nation or our freedoms.  

The Soviets of that era understood quite well the existence and survivability of the lethal threat provided by the Kamehameha. And that threat served successfully to prevent nuclear war from the 1960's through the early 1990's. In essence, the SSBNs were the ultimate logical extension of the "walk softly and carry a big stick" policy.

This mission is currently carried out by the Ohio class submarines, but to a somewhat lesser extent.

In the early 1990's, the Kamehameha  underwent a conversion to a drydeck shelter/swimmer delivery platform and was designated SSN-642. This platform supported special warfare operations with Navy SEALS and who knows what else? Of course the Navy has never released any official details regarding submarine special warfare operations. With the decommissioning of the James K. Polk (SSN 645) in January of 1999, the Kamehameha became last of the original "41 for freedom" boats left in the navy and eventually the oldest submarine in the Navy. With nearly 37 years of service, the Kam holds the record for the longest service lifetime of any nuclear submarine.

Where is the Kamehameha Now?

After nearly 37 years of service, the Kamehameha was officially decommissioned on April 2, 2002, at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. The Kamehameha completed the process of the Submarine Recycling Program (SRP) at PSNSY in late 2002. This fine ship now exists only in our memories, and in the photos and stories that we have saved.

A few pieces have been preserved for historical purposes. The sail with fairwater planes and topside portion of the rudder have been returned to Pearl Harbor, where the Navy plans to display them. Also, the bust of King Kamehameha, the koa plate, bow and spear, and the monkeypod wood table from the ship's wardroom also were returned to the Pearl Harbor sub base, but no decision has been made yet on what to do with them. 

In addition, the periscopes have been donated to the Deterrent Park on SubBase Bangor where they will be installed on the USS Woodrow Wilson exhibit. 

Crew Member Database- Click HERE!

Over three years ago, I began to assemble a database of crew member information and email addresses. We now have nearly 800 members in the database. Find that long lost shipmate here! Get yourself registered!

Reunion News - Click HERE

A Kamehameha Reunion association has been established. See the reunion news page for info on how to join! The final formal decommissioning ceremony took place at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard on April 2, 2002. Our last ship's reunion was held in Groton CT in August of 2004.  Our next reunion is plans are coming soon.  Make plans to attend! Keep watching here for details.

kam ball cap 04.jpg (34856 bytes) Get a cover on that head sailor!  SSBN 642 Ball Caps and Videos are now offered for sale at our new Ships's Store page. 

Links to some other cool Submarine web pages:

Kamehameha Main Page What's New? Crewmember Database Kamehameha Photo History Ship's Store Kam Stuff Send email Greg's Home Page