The USS Simon Lake (AS-33) was laid down on 7 January 1963 by
the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS), Bremerton, Wash.; launched on 8 February
and commissioned on 7 November 1964.
After commissioning, Simon Lake sailed from Bremerton on January
16, 1965 for Pearl Harbor on her shakedown cruise and returned to Bremerton on
February 17 for a six-week yard availability period. She stood out of Bremerton
on April 16, 1965 and proceeded to Charleston, South Carolina, via the Panama
Canal. Simon Lake arrived at Charleston on May 1, 1965 and commenced duties as
submarine tender for Squadron Four.
On 11 July 1966, she sailed for Holy Loch, Scotland, where she relieved USS
Hunley (AS-31) as Site One tender for Submarine Squadron 14.
Missile load out-board port side
She operated there
for nearly four years, until
relieved by the USS Canopus (AS-34) on 24 May 1970.
In June, she sailed for
Bremerton for her first overhaul since commissioning. The tender was in the yard
at PSNS, Bremerton, from 6 July 1970 to March 1971 and, while there, was also
converted to Poseidon missile capability.
Simon Lake returned to Charleston in April 1971 and served there until she
relieved USS Holland (AS-32) at Rota, Spain in December 1972 for a four year
In January 1977, the ship got underway for Charleston to undergo a complex
overhaul. Following her overhaul she relieved USS Hunley (AS-31) as the
resident tender in Charleston.
In July 1979, Simon Lake relocated to King’s Bay, Georgia where she became the
first tender at the newly established refit site there. Her outstanding repair
work resulted in her receiving the 1982, 1984, and 1985 Battle Efficiency “E”
In August 1985, she conducted a homeport change to Pascagoula, Mississippi to
conduct an overhaul. After the overhaul, she returned to Charleston in October
1986 where she accomplished routine upkeeps.
The Simon Lake returned to Holy Loch in May of 1987 to again relieve
the Hunley. She
received the 1988 and 1991 Battle Efficiency “E” awards and was awarded the
Meritorious Unit Commendation in 1992. She remained in Scotland until
March of 1992, having the honor to be the last
US sub tender to serve there. While homeported in Holy
Loch, she steamed an average of 350 days a year. She
also had the honor of being the last tender to serve at Site One.
AK replenishment cargo ship alongside, plus four
refits to port
In March 1992, Simon Lake returned to Norfolk to conduct an extensive overhaul.
After completion of the overhaul in March 1993, she departed for her new
homeport of La Maddalena, Italy where she relieved the USS Orion (AS-18). For
superior service to the fleet, she received both the Battle Efficiency “E” and
Meritorious Unit Commendation awards for the period July 7, 1993-August 31,
In March 1998, the ship transited the Suez Canal to the United Arab Emirates
where she supported Operation Southern Watch in the Arabian Gulf. Her
outstanding performance during 47 availabilities led to her receiving the Navy
Unit Commendation and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. In June 1998, she
returned to La Maddalena, Italy.
Simon Lake’s performance during her last two years of service was particularly
noteworthy. Not only did she receive the awards associated with the Arabian
Gulf but she was nominated for the Secretary of Defense Maintenance Award,
received the 1997 and 1998 Battle Efficiency “Es,” the 1998 Chief of Naval
Operations Safety Award, the 1998 Golden Anchor award, and she became the first
surface ship to receive both the Enlisted Surface Warfare and the Surface
Warfare Officer pennants.
After being relieved by USS Emory S. Land (AS-39), Simon Lake departed La
Maddalena on May 11, 1999 and crossed the Atlantic for Norfolk, Virginia to be
During her 36 years of dedicated service, Simon Lake provided all aspect of
logistical and repair support for an average of 45 submarine and surface ship
availabilities, consisting of over 5,000 vital repair jobs, annually. Serving
over 20 years as a forward-deployed tender, she served as an ambassador for the
United States, showing the flag and entertaining foreign dignitaries during
nearly 100 port visits in foreign countries.
The Simon Lake was decommissioned on 31 July 1999
in Norfolk, VA.