And of course - a Submarine Tender was going to be needed just as fast. - The Hunley - AS31 under construction - was on the same schedule as the rest of the program - so it was decided to "modify" an existing tender - just like the first boats. In 1959 the Proteus was quietly moved to a large dry-dock - where she was unceremoniously cut in half. To the casual observer - it might have appeared that this warrior had served her last. The new section - designed for "special" weapons handling and nuclear reactor servicing included a huge crane capable of lifting many tons - was welded into the area between the freshly separated halves. The Proteus gained 500 tons and 44.5 feet- and the ability to service a brand new class of submarine.
"PREPARED PRODUCTIVE PRECISE" Upon rejoining the fleet - the Proteus adopted this as her statement of mission.
Re-commissioned in 1960 - she sailed down to Charleston and picked up the first load of Polaris Missiles - sailed back to New London and on January 20, 1961 the Washington came along side as her first customer. But the US wanted to project this new weapon deep into Europe - so six weeks later - Proteus dropped anchor in Holy Loch, Scotland - and established the US's first advanced Polaris deployment site. Two years - 38 refits - a Navy Unit Commendation awarded by the Secretary of the Navy -- and Proteus was ready for a rest. The Hunley - now completed and commissioned - relieved Proteus - who went to Charleston for overhaul. In January 1964 - with some stuff fixed and a fresh coat of paint - Proteus relieved Hunley at Holy Loch for three months - to give the Hunley some time off for repairs. Once Hunley was back on station - Proteus was up to it's usual - establishing yet another advanced site - this time at Rota, Spain. Another new tender - the Holland (AS-32) relieved the Proteus - who was needed in Holy Loch to share refit duties. With new boats coming on line very regularly now - the US decided that it would be prudent to put some in the Pacific. In June, 1964 Proteus transited the Panama Canal - and set up yet another advanced deployment site at Apra Harbor, Guam-- and brought the Daniel Boone with her. Proteus was back in the submarine business in Guam nearly 19 years after her last refit there during WWII. From 1964 through 1971 - with only a five month time-out for self overhaul in 1968 - (relieved by the Hunley) the Proteus conducted dozens upon dozens of refits.