The USS Kamehameha in the 1990's

A Photo History

The Kamehameha entered the 1990's in a unique condition.  Already, the Kam was  an older boat with an older missile system as the Ohio class boomer had begun to replace the "41 for Freedom" in the 1980's.  Yet, the Kamfish was in  excellent overall condition and with a brand new reactor core, having spent nearly half of the 1980's in overhaul.  

The Kamehameha left the shipyard in December 89 (following sea trials on Thanksgiving!) and for about six months performed DASO runs etc. while homeported out of Groton, CT.  Somewhere in here the Kam would also perform the last ever launching of a Poseidon Missile from a submarine. 

Following this, the Kam was transferred to Squadron 14 in Holy Loch one final time and would perform her last four deterrent patrols. Following the the 63rd and last deterrent patrol out of Holy Loch in late 91, the Blue crew  returned to Groton for "crew combination." 

In 1992, the decision was made to convert the Kamehameha to a special purpose, brown water attack submarine. The USS James K. Polk (SSN 645) would also receive similar modifications.  They would replace the USS Sam Houston and USS John Marshall that had been serving these roles. The conversion took place at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California. The missile systems were inactivated in July 1992 and the ship was redesignated SSN-642.  This conversion included  modification to a drydeck shelter/swimmer delivery platform.  This platform supported the surfaced and submerged deployment of Special Operations Forces such as Navy SEALS and Marines.  

In August 1993, the Kamehameha  arrived in Pearl Harbor to become part of Submarine Squadron ONE.  Special operations continued in the Pacific throughout the 1990's. As with most special operations boats, not much can be printed about any specific operations or missions. At least not yet.   

With the decommissioning of the James K. Polk in January of 1999, the Kamehameha became the last of the original "41 for Freedom" boats to remain in active service today.

photo96.jpg (309645 bytes)

This one is from Doug Arnold. The Kam pulling into Groton.  The brick building on the left is the New London Amtrak station.  I'm guessing it was around 1991.

edastoli.jpg (34573 bytes)

 This nice photo comes from Gene D'Astoli. Not sure when it was taken.
01.jpg (25936 bytes) The Kam tied up to the tender Simon lake in Holy Loch, Circa 1991.

See more great photos from Gene D'Astoli.

642-P02.gif (114145 bytes)

From Bob Martin. This photo clearly shows the two drydeck deployment shelters (DDSs) mounted on the turtleback after the SSN conversion. Official USN Photo

642P04.gif (203112 bytes)

A photo inside. According to Larry McKenzie, this was the forward part of the old nav center. Nav center was cut down to under half its original size after the missiles were taken off and that new room was the SDV control center. Those guys in that photo were the seal operators doing a submerged launched of a seal team. Official USN Photo

SDVALTER.jpg (33141 bytes)

 The Seal Delivery Vehicle (SDV). This is the little mini submarine that is stored in one of the shelters. Official USN Photo

crrcl1.jpg (24012 bytes)

 Special Warfare with divers in the water. Official USN Photo

642P29.gif (159622 bytes)

Cool underwater photo of the Kam. Official USN Photo

11Mrhibs3.jpg (60005 bytes)

 Navy SEALS in a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) Official USN Photo

CLOSEC~1.jpg (82569 bytes)

 Totally awesome photo Official USN Photo

96 Officers.jpg (82844 bytes)

KAM in '96.  Officers from left to right are LCDR Reid Tanaka (XO and future CO of USS CHARLOTTE), LTjg Don Lichter, ENS Ken McCrank, LCDR Pete Miller (NAV and future XO USS LOUISEVILLE), LCDR Pat Hamilton (ENG), CDR Howard Reese (CO and future Commodore COMSUBRON 22), LTjg Shane Brown (CHOP), LTjg Brien Dickson, LTjg Mike Leonard, LT Steve Abdalla, and LT Dave Lum. Photo courtesy of Dave Lum. 

96 Chiefs.jpg (80876 bytes)

Kam Chiefs in 1996: MMC(SS) Roger Crozier (retired), MSC(SS) Bruce Palmer, ETC(SS) Ed Fuhrmann (retired), FTC(SS) Dan Niclas (FTCM/COB on USS COLUMBUS), ETC(SS) Steve Canale, ETCS(SS) Bill Evans (retired), MMCM(SS) Barry Stoner, ETC(SS) John Stiltner, MMC(SS) Greg Stihel (MMCS), MMC(SS) Shawn Irish (CWO2), ETCS(SS) Frank ? (retired), STSC(SS) Dale Campbell (retired), ETC(SS) Riddick Boatwright, EMC(SS) Sean Mullaney (EMCM), MMC(SS) Earvin "Butch" Hansen (MMCS), Photo courtesy of Dave Lum.

96 Crew.jpg (83387 bytes)

Photo of ship's force '96.  Photo courtesy of Dave Lum.

Divers.jpg (55522 bytes)

KAM ship's dive team while on deployment to WestPac in '96.  Pictured are (left to right) LT Brian Bender (Dive Supervisor), ET3 Michael Bennett (quartermaster), MM2 Gregory Bullaro (ELT), and LT Dave Lum (DCA) Photo courtesy of Greg Bullaro and Dave Lum.

Golden Shellback.jpg (50288 bytes)

KAM officers crossing the equator on our way to WestPac in '95.  Top row (from left to right) CDR Bob Eichelberger (CO), LTjg Dave Lum, LT Pete Miller (NAV), ENS Brien Dickson, LT Chris Lockett, LTjg Steve Abdalla, ENS Shane Brown (CHOP) LCDR Tanaka (XO);  bottom row (left to right) ENS Brian Bender, LTjg Jeff Joseph,  LCDR Rick Campbell (ENG), LTjg Steve Eron, LCDR Pat Hamilton (WEPS), and LT Gary Savitt. Photo courtesy of Dave Lum.

EMBT.jpg (161498 bytes)


This one of KAM doing an EMBT blow after RIMPAC '96 off the west coast of Oahu. Photo courtesy of Dave Lum.

Emergency surface photo.  According to Dave Lum, this picture "was taken from the deck of USS INDEPENDENCE during FOAL EAGLE '97 when she emergency surfaced less than a thousand yards from the carrier.  This was the highlight and finale of a naval demonstration for the carrier crew and embarked VIPs everyone had seen planes do their thing before, so no one really got excited until the KAM shot out of the depths."

Kam3950.jpg (53222 bytes)

Dive! Dive!

This picture (and the next) were taken in the mid 1990's at SEAFAC (South Eastern Alaska Facility Acoustic Range. These were sent to Don Tcshopp by Don Bassler of Bremerton SubVets.

Kam4950.jpg (61556 bytes)

Going down?

kailuabay.jpg (40076 bytes)

This newspaper clipping was donated by Darrell Boyd. According to Susan Broussard, the parasailer is Capt. Hesse himself. 

KAM_okinawa.jpg (71641 bytes)

 Kam in Okinawa. WESTPAC 1999

daboysJordan.jpg (55404 bytes)

 Jordan 1999    Hmmm... who are these boys?

kaminjordan.jpg (13428 bytes)

This cool picture came from Susan Broussard.

scan0002.jpg (79975 bytes)

See more crew photos on the Crew Photos Page 
 Former Crew Member visits the Kam in Hawaii

A Marine tells of his experience with the Kam in the 1990s 


Wanted: More photos and stories from the 1990s. Also, more dates, and places, which patrols were done and when? How about some navy SEALs stories?

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