United States Navy

Submarine Tenders

USS Bushnell AS 15 Sailor's Page

More Bushnell Stuff.

June / July 1962 issue of the Bushnell Turtle Newspaper...
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The operations Department headed by LTJG C.L. SNYDER is composed of the Radio Communications Group and the Ship's Electronics Material Re'pair Force. Their combined mission is to conduct and maintain reliable and secure communications for Commander Submarine Squadron Twelve and the USS BUEMELL, The communications group supervised by A.L. STEWART, RMC USN, maintains a continuous 24 hour communications center employed in sending and receiving radio messages covering all subjects and classifications. Much of this radio traffic is in direct support of Submarine Squadron Twelve, and also includes messages which may be required for individual members of the crew. The Classified Message Center, supervised bY R.I. POTTER, RMC USN, processes messages of a sensitive nature that require special coding procedures and handling. The electronics material repair force under C.B. JONES, ETI maintains the pommunications and electronic equipment in a continuous state of readiness. The round-the-clock operation schedule of the communications center imposes strict requirements on the reliability and material condition of the communications equipment. This is very ably met by our vigilant electronic technicians. During Hurricane Donna the USS BUSHNELL acted as a relay station for all of the traffic between Key West and mobile units assigned to the Marathon, Florida area, handling message requests for items from gasoline to serum for snake bites. Despite the age-old reliability of well trained lookouts, modern electronic aids to navigation are fast becoming an accepted requirement for safety at sea. Among the latest developments are Loran for improved navigation; Pathometers for accurate depth finding; and of course Radar. These electronic pieces of equipment are all maintained by the electronic technicians, and it is understandable that responsibility and timely attention to these duties are constant. Maintenance of this equipment has much to do with the safe navigation of the ship. During the underway periods of the tender, several of the Radiomen are assigned to man the Squadron Communications Center in Building 101, U.S. Naval Station. The squadron communication center ashore maintains the equipment and traffic until the BUSHNELL returns to home port. While the ship is at sea a continous communications guard is still manned as required by all ships at sea. The variety of methods of communications on board include, teletype, continuous wave, and voice. The Communications Department on board also offers a service of ship to shore telephone. The Navigation Department under the direction of the Navigator, LT W.F. ROGERS is responsible for the safe navigation and piloting of the ship. "W I Division of BUSHNELL is composed of both Quartermaster's and Signalmen. Bushnell maintains continous visual signal watch in direct support of Submarine Squadron TWELVE.
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Sinking of the USS Bushnell AS-15

Map, Narative and Video

Webmaster's note:I have mixed feelings about presenting the following: it may be upsetting to some, others may view it with pride-- you will have to make up your own mind. I will tell you this - the movie is VERY graphic... there is nothing romantic nor entertaining about the sinking of this ship. She served her country and fleet with dignity and pride for 28+ years; so it is fitting that her last "contribution" be in the service of them - and all of us - once again. The narative is from a letter from former Rear Admiral Thomas W. Evans, (Retired) to Master Chief Gorto (Retired) about the sinking of USS Bushnell.

From: Thomas Evans

Dear Master Chief Gorto,

It was in fact MY pleasure to hear from you and the Bushnell Club!

I am working on getting some additional details from Vice Admiral J. Guy Reynolds, USN (Ret.), who was in the safety control observer helicopter which was in flight near the ship for the entire operation (we refueled the helo a couple of times throughout the day as I remember). At the time, he was Captain Reynolds, the Program Manager for the MK 48 Advanced Capability Submarine Torpedo (MK 48 ADCAP), within the Naval Sea Systems Command.

Since you got my memory going last evening, the whole event is coming back to me fairly vividly. As I told you, I do not remember the date or month. I was Commander Submarine Squadron SIX in Norfolk at the time (1982 to 1984). COMSUBLANT designated me as the Officer in Tactical Command (OTC) for the SINKEX.

My command ship was a Navy fast frigate (FF) whose name I do not recall. I was embarked with key members of my squadron staff on the FF. We got underway from Norfolk Naval Station early that morning with Captain Reynolds and his people with me on the FF. The ship had a Navy military helo on board.

The "Old Lady", Bushnell was prepared environmentally by the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. [Furthermore, she was completely "buttoned up" with all watertight doors/hatches securely dogged.]She was towed to the SINKEX operating area along the Virginia coast in deep water south of Norfolk. I remember the weather as being bright and sunny, which made it easier to control shipping in the area. P3 patrol aircraft from NAS Norfolk supported the ops.

When we finally got the area cleared of interfering shipping, the firing submarine, USS Atlanta (SSN 712), with USS Finback (SSN 670) in company, was ordered to submerge and proceed to the firing point which was several miles from the target, which was now adrift, the tug having cast her off.

The submarine then fired one MK 48 ADCAP torpedo, which exploded underneath the Bushnell. The tough old bird began to slowly list to port, and over the next hour had taken on considerable water. But she refused to go down. As the day began to wane, we decided to send her to the bottom with a second torpedo. She sank within the hour [after being hit by the 2nd torpedoe], rolling over and then going down stern first.

It was a dramatic and yet sad sight, but it was good to know that she served her nation until the very end, participating in a large ship sinking exercise to validate the tremendous power and capability of the new MK 48 ADCAP Torpedo Weapon System. And she created a wonderful habitat for the marine life on the bottom of the Atlantic.

I am proud to salute all the former crewmembers who served in Bushnell for their dedication, technical skill and devotion in contributing to making ours the finest submarine force in the world during both war and peace, and to wish those who are still with us fair winds and following seas.


Thomas W. Evans
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired)

Commanding Officer
USS Batfish (SSN 681)
1975 to 1978

Video of the sinking of USS Bushnell AS-15

Click on the picture to play the video.
(4.3MB MPEG video)

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