USS Kamehameha

(SSN-642) Official Web Site

History of USS Kamehameha

Launch Newspaper

Newpaper Article



RADM Fluckey



Kam arrives in Hawaii

(to be completed mid-July)

USS Kamehameha Items (to be completed mid- July)

King Kamehameha Bust


KAMEHAMEHA was built at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. She was commissioned on 10 December 1965 and was the 30th of America's "41 for Freedom" Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines. Mrs. Samuel Wilder King served as the ship's sponsor at the launching. Her husband was one of the first Hawaiians to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy, was Governor of the territory of Hawaii, and strived for Hawaiian statehood.

After commissioning, KAMEHAMEHA joined Submarine Squadron 15 at its forward base in Guam, Marianas Islands. The ship was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for operations while a member of Submarine Squadron 15.

In July 1970, the ship was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet and joined Submarine Squadron 18 in Charleston, South Carolina. In July 1971, KAMEHAMEHA was transferred to Groton, Connecticut for weapons conversion and a refueling overhaul.

Upon completion of the conversion and overhaul in October 1972, KAMEHAMEHA conducted operations off the east coast of the United States. In June 1973, she joined Submarine Squadron 16 and made patrols out of Rota, Spain. Six years later, in July 1979, KAMEHAMEHA returned to Submarine Squadron 18 and made patrols out of Charleston.

The ship was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for operations in 1984 and 1985 as a member of Submarine Squadron 14. In 1985, KAMEHAMEHA was selected as the Atlantic Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine Top Performer.

KAMEHAMEHA underwent a refueling overhaul at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard from November 1986 to December 1989.

After completing a total of 63 deterrent patrols, KAMEHAMEHA's missile systems were inactivated in July 1992 and she was converted to a special purpose, brown water attack submarine at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California. This conversion installed modifications to support the surfaced and submerged deployment of Special Operations Forces. In August 1993, KAMEHAMEHA arrived again in Pearl Harbor to become part of Submarine Squadron ONE.

KAMEHAMEHA now regularly deploys in support of special warfare objectives throughout the Pacific.

A list of the current and former captains of Kamehameha is available.

More information about the ship's characteristics can be found on her Naval Vessel Register entry.

Keel laid 

2 May 1963 


16 January 1965 


10 December 1965 

Sponsored by 

Mrs. Samuel Wilder King 


425 feet 


Surfaced: 7300 tons

Submerged: 8200 tons 

Hull diameter 

33 feet 


29 feet 


in excess of 25 knots 


in excess of 800 feet 



Chief Petty Officers: 15

E-6 and below: 121

SEALs, divers, other riders: normally about 70 people in addition to the crew, but Kam's hosted about 200 extra riders at once for short periods 

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