United States Navy

Submarine Tenders

USS Lawrence Y. Spear AS 36

USS Lawrence Y. Spear
USS Lawrence Y. Spear AS 36
USS Lawrence Y. Spear Patch
(tons Laden)
23,493Built / Launched5/5/1966 / 9/7/1967
Length645' 8"Built ByGeneral Dynamics,
Quincy, Mass.
Beam85' 0"ClassL. Y. Spear
Draft24' 8"Commisioned1970
Speed (rated)18.0ktsDecommisioned1996

L Y. Spear, named for Lawrence York Spear. Spear was born in Warren, Ohio, 23 October 1870, graduated second in his class at the Naval Academy in 1890. He served as an ensign in Pensacola, Baltimore (C-3), and Charleston (C-2) in the Atlantic and South Pacific for nearly 2 years. In 1891, due to his ability and enthusiasm in the project of modernizing the Navy, he vas transferred to the Construction Corps and sent to the University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland. Returning with a B.S. in 1893, he spent most of the next 9 years acquiring construction experience in shipyards across the country.
While Superintendent of Construction at Crescent Shipyard, Elizabethport, N.J., from 1898 to 1902, he helped build five Holland-designed submarines, first of the U.S. under-sea fleet In 1902, he resigned his commission as lieutenant to join the Electric Boat Co., successor to the Holland Torpedo Boat Co., founded by inventor John P. Holland. Spear then devoted more than 48 years to the construction of submarines. He is credited with six basic design concepts which are an integral part of all modern naval submarines, including double hull amidships, single hull-ends, and propelling apparatus. His great faith in the importance of the submarine was more than justified by the decisive role the Navy's undersea fleet played in destroying the power of the Japanese in the Pacific during World War II. As company president, 1942 to 1947, he directed the production of more than half of the submarines completed during the war Spear retired in 1947 to serve as board chairman for the next 3 years, and died at Groton, Conn., 9 September 1950.

L. Y. Spear (AS-36) was laid down by General Dynamics Corp., Quincy Division, Quincy, Mass., 5 May 1966; launched 7 September 1967; sponsored by Mrs. Arnold F. Schade, wife of Vice Admiral Schade, Commander, Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet; and was commissioned 28 February, 1970.
Christened September 1967 in Navy records to be the first Navy shipto be christened from the keel section of her sister ship USS DIXON(AS-37), she was the first of a new class ships designed to act as a"mother" to the nuclear attack submarine. Commissioned February 28,1970 in Norfolk, Virginia, she deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, foran extensive training period, only to return to Norfolk where shebecame the well-known "Mother Ship" to the units of Submarine SquadronSix.

SPEAR has shown her superiority as a submarine repair andsupport ship, proving to be fully capable of handling all phases ofnuclear and radiological requirements through the outstanding resultsof the annual Nuclear Technical Proficiency Inspections (NTPI) andRadiological Control Practices Examination (RCPE).

Between 1970 and 1980 SPEAR can take much pride in havingearned three Battle Efficiency "E" Awards, three Communications Green"C"s, three Supply "E"s, two Red Repair "R"s and the Engineering Red"E" Awards. In addition to these outstanding achievements, L. Y.SPEAR became the first Submarine Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet Tender topass the CINCLANTFLT Propulsion Examining Board (PEB) in 1976. Amongother awards were the Edward F. Ney Award for the Navy’s top diningfacility in a large mess afloat, U.S. Atlantic Fleet SportsmanshipAward and SUBLANT’s "Big Boy" Award for notable participation invarious sports programs.

During the years 1970 - 1977 the SPEAR's commanding officers included the names: Captain John N. Donlon, Captain Ross N. Williams,Captain D.A. Phoenix, and Captain Ernest J. Toupin. One of the mostnotable events to take place on board SPEAR was the assignment ofwomen crewmembers. In November of 1978, SPEAR received her first oftwo female officers, and in March 1979, she received the first of manyenlisted women to be assigned for permanent sea duty. Since then SPEAR has received an abundance ofrecognition from top government officials and the civilian press.

In 1980 the SPEAR completed her first majordeployment and with it has taken on a long line of "Firsts" for SPEARand the crew. Under the leadership and direction of Captain J. H.Kinert, SPEAR has completed her original capability of offering totalsupport and maintenance facilities.

(From the 1980 cruise book, thanks to Patty Pyatt (was PN2 Patty Schneider then) for supplying the info. Petty Officer Pyatt was one of those "first"enlisted women aboard in 1979).

{We need the SPEAR's history from 1980 to present!!! Come on Shipmates - don't let her story fade from memory!!!!}
Launching of the USS L. Y. Spear
L. Y. Spear in 1993 at work
The L. Y. Spear at work in 1993
Thanks to David Wiseman for sharing this picture of the 36
Another view of USS L. Y. Spear in 1990

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