United States Navy

Submarine Tenders

USS Fulton AS 11

9,250 Built / Launched 1937 / 12/27/1940
Length 530' 6" Built By Mare Island Navy Yard
Beam 73' 4" ClassFulton
Draft 23'6" Commisioned 1941
Speed (rated) 18.0kts Decommissioned 1991
Compliment 1,303 Disposition Sold

The fourth U.S. Navy ship to be named for Robert Fulton. Small Biography with AS 1
Fulton's Captains
Captain A. D. Douglas 12 Sep 1941 To 14 Oct 1942
Captain E. C. Bain14 Oct 1942 To 27 Aug 1944
Captain A. A. Clarkson 27 Aug 1944 To 16 May 1945
Captain A. R. St. Angelo16 May 1945 To 4 Apr 1947
Captain V. B. Mccrea10 Apr 1951 To 16 Jan 1952
Commander T. K. Kimmel 16 Jan 1952 To 26 Feb 1952
Captain J. S. Coye jr.26 Feb 1952 To 27 Aug 1953
Captain J. F. Enright27 Aug 1953 To 26 Jul 1954
Captain C. H. Henderson26 Jul 1954 To 4 May 1955
Captain E. T. Shepard 4 May 1955 To 6 Jul 1956
Captain A. R. Faust6 Jul 1956 To 9 Jul 1957
Captain D. G. Baer9 Jul 1957 To 11 Aug 1958
Captain F. E. Janney11 Aug 1958 To 28 Jul 1959
Captain R. H. Lockwood28 Jul 1959 To 1 Jul 1960
Captain M. H. Rindskope1 Jul 1960 To 21 Jul 1961
Captain P. K. Schratz21 Jul 1961 To 2 Aug 1962
Captain C. K. Miller2 Aug 1962 To 20 Jul 1963
Captain M. C. Duncan20 Jul 1963 To 2 Jul 1964
Captain H. E. Rice2 Jul 1964 To 10 Sep 1965
Captain R. B. Gustafson 10 Sep 1965 To 25 May 1966
Captain H. S. Morgan Jr25 May 1966 To 7 Fed 1968
Captain W. H. McCracken 7 Feb 1968 To 2 Jan 1970
Captain S. M. Jenks2 Jan 1970 To 26 Jun 1971
Captain R. W. Bulmer26 Jun 1971 To 7 Jul 1973
Captain J. P. Bayne7 Jul 1973 To 20 May 1975
Captain E. S. Kellogg III20 May 1975 To 2 Oct 1976
Captain R. M. Hughes2 Oct 1976 To 1 Jul 1978
Captain W. S. Rich 1 Jul 1978 To 20 Sep 1980
Captain W. 0. Lange20 Sep 1980 To 31 Jul 1982
Captain J. R. Groth31 Jul 1982 To 14 Jul 1984
Captain D. R. Montgomery14 Jul 1984 To 18 Jul 1986
Captain R. H. Hartman18 Jul 1986 To 22 Jul 1988
Captain G. M. Hewitt22 Jul 1988 To 20 Jul 1990
Captain M. C. Haley20 Jul 1990 To 17 May 1991
The fourth Fulton (AS-11) was launched 27 December, 1940 by Mare Island Navy Yard; sponsored by Mrs. A. T. Sutcliff, great granddaughter of Robert Fulton; and commissioned 12 September 1941, Commander A. D. Douglas in command. Underway on her shakedown cruise out of San Diego when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941, Fulton was ordered at once to Panama, arriving 9 December.

During the next month she established advanced seaplane bases in the Gulf of Fonseca, Nicaragua, and in the Galapagos Islands, then returned to San Diego to prepare for Pacific duty. She tended Pacific Fleet submarines at Pearl Harbor from 15 March 1942 to 8 July, putting to sea during the Battle of Midway. One of FULTON'S most noteable wartime achievements was her rendezvous with the cruiser PORTLAND and destroyer RUSSELL to receive 101 officers and 1790 enlisted men who survived the sinking of the fighting aircraft carrier YORKTOWN (CV-5) which was lost at Midway. [Editor's Note: See TenderTale V for a first-hand account of this mission]

She was at Midway until 17 October; and at Brisbane from 9 November. There she established a submarine base and rest camp, and in addition to refitting submarines between their war patrols, acted as tender to other types of ships. FULTON also played an important role as support tender for submarines engaged in experiments and tests of sonar mine detection devices which enabled American submarines to successfully penetrate the minefields guarding the Inland Sea of Japan

Milne Bay, New Guinea, was her station from 29 October 1943 until 17 March 1944, when she sailed for a west coast overhaul. Returning to Pearl Harbor 13 June 1944, Fulton gave her tender services to submarines there for a month, then at Midway between 18 July and 8 September, and then at Saipan until 25 April 1945. Fulton returned to duty at Pearl Harbor from 7 May to 9 June, and then sailed for Guam, where she refitted submarines for the last patrols of the war.

After a west coast overhaul, Fulton served as tender at Pearl Harbor from February through May 1946, then sailed for Bikini to participate in Operation "Crossroads," atomic weapons tests in the Marshalls that summer. In addition to caring for the six sub marines assigned to the project, she acted as repair ship for other vessels in the task force. On 18 September 1946 Fulton arrived at Mare Island, where she was decommissioned and placed in reserve 3 April Her Wartime service record tallied 332 vessels repaired and serviced.

Recommissioned 10 April 1951, Fulton sailed 3 weeks later for New London, her base through 1963. Fulton's brood now included the Sea Wolf,the Skate, and the Nautilus - making Fulton the first Tender to support Nulaa Fast Attack Subs. Although her primary assignment was as tender for Submarine Squadron 10 at New. London, Fulton on occasion relieved the tender Orion (AS-18), stationed at Norfolk, and also left New London for exercises from Newfoundland and Iceland to the Caribbean. She first crossed the Atlantic in the fall of 1957 for Operation "Natoflex," visiting Rothesay, Scotland, and Port land, England, before returning to New London. A heightening of her responsibility came 1 April 1958, when three nuclear submarines were assigned to her squadron.

In August, Fulton sailed to New York for the celebration of the arrival of Nautilus (SSN-571) from her historic submerged passage under the North Pole. Fulton received one battle star for World War II service.

{History from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships}

USS Fulton Ship's Plaque
The years between 1959 and 1971 were spent tending units of SubRon 10 from the state pier at New London, CT. , with an occasional break for minor overhauls and R & R trips.

In 1972 Fulton made a 5 month deployment to the Mediterranean, at LaMaddalena, Sardinia. Fulton's mission was to prepare for full time use an advance refit site for nuclear fast attack submarines. This was the first deployment of a WWII vintage submarine tender to the Med since WWII.

After a shipyard overhaul in 1976, Fulton returned to New London to continue support of Atlantic Fleet submarines.

Fulton was again modernized in 1983-1984 with an extensive overhaul at both Electric Boat, Groton, CT, and General Dynamics, Quincy, MA. Just before departing Quincy, a problem in the after propulsion switchboard resulted in a fire that did extensive damage to the wiring and switching gear. The damage was made considerably worse when the fire spread to the cork lagging on the bulkheads - which had soaked up much oil and been painted many times over the years. This spread the fire very fast, and to other equipment that otherwise would not have been involved. The crew responded quickly and extinguished the fire. The cause of the fire was never officially determined - however the circumstances suggested that there was some serious cause such as a short-circuit caused by mis-wiring or tools, etc. left in the switchgear - as the fire broke out immediately upon the switch panel being energized. Repairs were made at Fore River (Quincy) taking approximately three months. (this portion of history contributed by Thomas Peters (former) EN1, After engine room AS-11 1983-1987; and Paul Simerly LCDR USN, RET, Chief Engineer AS-11 1984 - 1987).

In late 1984, Fulton attended REFTRA (refresher training) at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Then on January 3 1985, Fulton got underway for LaMaddalena, Sardinia to relieve her sister tender (AS-18) Orion of her maintenance responsibility, to allow a pier-side SRA period for Orion's overhaul. During this underway period, she visited Barcelona and Palma Spain, and Bergen, Norway. Fulton returned to New London 10 May 1985. She was underway 128 days, and travelled over 11,000 miles without incident.

Fulton and Orion at LaMaddalena in early 1985
Picture courtesy Roy Rountree CWO (W3) U.S.N. Retired
From May 1985 through January 1988, Fulton remained the flagship of CSS-10, tending submarines at State Pier. There were short underway periods throughout this period, including a deployment to Puerto Rico for "sub rescue operations". About half way there, the sub which was in trouble was okay, but Fulton completed the transit, staying only about 4 or 5 weeks. Other port visits during this period included St. Johns, Newfoundland, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and Annapolis, MD. to attend graduation ceremony at the U. S. Naval Academy.

In January 1988, Fulton again found herself undergoing another SRA rehab period in a drydock at Norshipco in Norfolk, VA. Extensive berthing rehab, sandblast of the hull below the waterline, and other repairs were conducted. In March 1988 FULTON again returned to New London to tend submarines as the CSS-10 flagship until her decommissioning in 1991

History of Fulton from 1972 - 1988 supplied by:
Mike Ratican
to whom we are very greatful...

Fulton at State Pier, New London

Fulton's Last days...
After she was decommissioned, she was towed to Portsmith Naval Shipyard, Norfolk to be turned over for "processing". The following photos were taken on the fantail of the USS Grapple (ARS 53) as Fultoned made that that last trip. We thank Roy Rountree, CWO3 U.S.N. (Retired) for these great pictures.
Accompanying crew, Fulton turnover, September 1991
consisting of Captain Dominique, CWO2 Roy Rountree, MM1 Orlando, MM1 Wilson, ET2 Breid and MM1 Mannix. 
Captian Dominique
CWO2 Roy Rountree
Fulton - under tow by USS Grapple (ARS 53) - arrives at Norfolk on the morning of 30 September 1991.

AS 12 USS Sperry
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