The following dates and information were obtained from official Navy sources and from submissions by former crewmembers.  If you know of any significant dates for the SPEAR, please contact the webmaster.

Significant Dates / Ship's Movement


May 12, 1965 AS-36 awarded to General Dynamics/Quincy Shipbuilding Division, Quincy, MA
May 5, 1966 Keel laid
September 7, 1967 Launched
February 11, 1970 Delivered to Portsmouth Shipyard for outfitting
February 28, 1970 Commissioned USS L. Y. SPEAR (AS-36)
April 21, 1970 SPEAR underway for sea trials, man overboard drills and general quarters all day
May 1, 1970 SPEAR departs for shake-down cruise to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GITMO)
May 8, 1970 SPEAR arrives in GITMO
May 15, 1970 SPEAR underway for Port Au Prince, Haiti
May 16, 1970 SPEAR arrives in Port Au Prince, Haiti, anchors in harbor
May 17, 1970 SPEAR underway for GITMO
June 12, 1970 SPEAR underway for Norfolk, VA
June 15, 1970 SPEAR arrives Pier 5 (Naval Supply Center) Norfolk
July 20, 1970 SPEAR departs with INSERV Team onboard for trials.  Steamed all night.
July 21, 1970 SPEAR returns to Destroyer & Submarine (D&S) Piers
July 30, 1970 SPEAR departs NSC for Charleston, SC
July 31, 1970 SPEAR arrives in Charleston
September 30, 1970 SPEAR departs Charleston
October 2, 1970 SPEAR arrives in Portsmouth
November 16, 1970 SPEAR moves from Portsmouth to "explosive anchorage" (loaded ammunition while anchored in harbor)
November 19, 1970 SPEAR moves to Yorktown to load nukes (nuclear warheads)
November 20, 1970 SPEAR arrives at D&S Piers
June 21, 1971 SPEAR underway for annual "coffee ground turning"
June 23, 1971 SPEAR returns to D&S Piers
June 24, 1971 SPEAR departs for first Dependant's Cruise.  Out and back by 1400 hours (2:00 p.m.)

Help!  We need information from 1971 to 1978

February 22, 1978 Collision with Liberian Motor Tankship ZEPHYROS in the lower Mississippi River, both ships received only minor damage.  Click here to read the Transportation Research Board record. 
NTSB Report Number: MAR-79-06, adopted on 4/20/1979
NTIS Report Number: PB80-125560/AS

Click below to see Spear's damage:

Photo 1

Photo 2

Fiscal Year 1979 Navy women begin reporting for regular duty aboard the SPEAR as a result of 1979 Defense Authorization Bill.  Click here to see press release dated October 24, 1978.
February 1980

February 1980 issue of All Hands Magazine features article "Women Aboard Spear".  Click here for the excerpt.
February 28, 1980 SPEAR celebrates 10th birthday
March 31, 1980 SPEAR departs Norfolk, VA, for Indian Ocean to support the fleet in the Iran hostage crisis.  Port calls: Alexandria, Egypt; Diego Garcia B.I.O.T. (anchored 2+ months); Athens, Greece; Malaga, Spain.
April 17, 1980 Anchored port of call Alexandria, Egypt
April 18, 1980 While anchored off Alexandria, Egypt, liberty boat gets swamped on way back to ship stranding many shipmates at the U.S.O. overnight
April 21-22, 1980 Transit Suez Canal
April 28, 1980 The SPEAR makes history with first Navy enlisted women initiated as Shellbacks.
April 30, 1980 Anchored Diego Garcia, B.I.O.T.
May 1, 1980 First submarine, USS GUARDFISH (SSN-612), comes alongside
May 4, 1980 SPEAR mourns death of Agustin Guiao, Jr.
May 5, 1980 First surface ship, USS BARBEY (FF-1088) comes alongside
May 15, 1980 USS BATON ROUGE (SSN-689) takes SPEAR personnel for sub ride
May 22, 1980 SPEAR personnel mourn the death of Jeffrey Sellers
June 20, 1980 USS DAVIDSON (FF-1045) towed in by USS TRUXTUN (CGN-35)
July 1-2, 1980 USS TAUTOG (SSN-639) takes SPEAR personnel for an overnight sub ride
July 6, 1980 USS AJAX (AR-6) arrives on station to relieve SPEAR
July 8, 1980 SPEAR departs Diego Garcia
July 11, 1980 Second Shellback initiation
July 17, 1980 First night helo ops (2015)
July 17-18, 1980 Transit Suez Canal
July 21, 1980 Anchored port of call Athens, Greece
July 24, 1980 Underway
July 29, 1980 Anchored port of call Malaga, Spain
August 2, 1980 Underway
August 12, 1980 SPEAR returns to Norfolk

Help!  We need information from 1980 to 1985

Summer 1985 SPEAR departs for 16 day cruise to Annapolis, MD, and Halifax, Nova Scotia
Fall 1985 Cruise to Daytona Beach, FL.  A shuttle launch was scheduled on the day SPEAR departed.
November 1985 SPEAR anchors out in Chesapeake Bay to ride out Hurricane Gloria.  No major damage sustained.
February/March 1985? SPEAR departs for Spring Break cruise to Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  Fire in the Commodore's gig on the return trip caused by a cigarette butt.
September 1986 SPEAR arrives at NorShipCo for overhaul
June 1987 SPEAR returns to Pier 22 following overhaul
August 1987 SPEAR departs for 31 days RefTra at GITMO
May 1988 SPEAR departs for cruise to Bermuda (4 days in port). Spouses were flown to the island for the stay.
August 1988 SPEAR departs for cruise to Norway/TeamWorks 88.  Anchored 2 weeks in a fjord in Norway as Forward Deployed Command.  Port calls: Portsmouth, England
October 1988 SPEAR arrives back in Norfolk, VA.
Help!  We need information from 1988 to 1991
July 19, 1991 SPEAR departs Norfolk, VA, for Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Storm.  Port calls: Gibraltar; Haifa, Israel; Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates; Mina Sulman - Manama, Bahrain; Kuwait City, Kuwait (anchored).
July 31, 1991 Transit Straits of Gibraltar
August 6, 1991 Arrive Haifa, Israel
August 11, 1991 Depart Haifa, Israel
August 13, 1991 Transit Suez Canal
August 14, 1991 Refueling-at-sea/North Red Sea
August 21, 1991 Transit Straits of Hormuez
August 22, 1991 Arrive Jebel Ali
September 4, 1991 Depart Jebel Ali
September 5, 1991 Arrive Bahrain
October 18, 1991 Depart Bahrain
October 19, 1991 Arrive Kuwait
October 22, 1991 Depart Kuwait
October 23, 1991 Arrive F-18 site
October 23, 1991 Depart F-18 site
October 25, 1991 Arrive Jebel Ali
November 12, 1991 Depart Jebel Ali and transit Straits of Hormuez
November 20, 1991 Refueling-at-sea/North Red Sea
November 21, 1991 Arrive Port Suez
November 22, 1991 Transit Suez Canal
November 25, 1991 Arrive Augusta Bay
November 26, 1991 Depart Augusta Bay
November 29, 1991 Arrive Malaga, Spain
December 4, 1991 Depart Malaga, Spain, and transit Straits of Gibraltar
December 15, 1991 Arrive Bermuda
December 16, 1991 Depart Bermuda
December 19, 1991 SPEAR arrives in Norfolk

Help!  We need information from 1991 to 1996

April 1993

SPEAR personnel volunteer at All Saints Camp of St. John the Devine while visiting port of call Nassau, Bahamas.

Click here to see the article in All Hands Magazine, July/August 1993 issue.

July - August 1996

Divers from the SPEAR assist with the TWA Flight 800 recovery and salvage operations.

Click here to see a list of units that participated in the recovery effort.  Click here to see a DoD photo (click the photo to enlarge and you will notice the SPEAR ball cap of one of the sailors).

September 6, 1996 Decommissioned
May 3, 1999 Stricken from Naval Register
October 24, 2006 The SPEAR's "Status" on the Naval Vessel Register (NVR) changed from "Stricken, being prepared for SINKEX" to "Stricken, to be disposed of by scrapping".
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This page last updated on 10/04/2011.

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