A HISTORY OF USS PUFFER
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WESTPAC 71 | Commanding Officers | Plank Owners | Decommissioning Crew
PUFFER's life as a ship began on 30 March 1968, when CDR John M. WILL, Jr., and his precommissioning crew rode her down the ways at Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries at Pascagoula, Mississippi.
Launching Booklet | Inactivation Booklet
During the next year and a half, PUFFER was certified to operate her nuclear propulsion plant and underwent extensive dock and sea trials. PUFFER was commissioned on 9 August 1969. Two days later, PUFFER departed for Hawaiian waters, where she operated locally for crew training and preparation for a Post Shakedown Availability (PSA) at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California in December 1969.
In March 1970, PUFFER completed PSA and returned to sea, arriving in her new homeport, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 3 May 1970. In October 1970, PUFFER deployed for a two month submerged training cruise, returning to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in December, 1970. Following an upkeep and training period, PUFFER departed for her first Western Pacific (WESTPAC) deployment on 17 March 1971. As a member of the Seventh Fleet, the ship visited Adak, Alaska; Guam, M.I.; Yokosuka, Japan; Pusan, Korea; Buckner Bay, Okinawa; Subic Bay, Philippines; and Hong Kong, B.B.C. PUFFER returned to Pearl Harbor from WESTPAC in September, 1971.
On 4 January 1972, CDR Daniel L. COOPER relieved CDR John M. WILL, Jr., to become PUFFER's second Commanding Officer.
On 1 June 1972, the ship left for the Puget Sound area to become the first Pacific Fleet submarine certified to carry the sophisticated MK-48 Torpedo. PUFFER returned to Pearl Harbor and, on 4 August 1972, again deployed to the Western Pacific as a member of the Seventh Fleet. During this deployment, the ship visited Yokosuka, Japan; Hong Kong, B.B.C., and Subic Bay, Philippines. PUFFER returned to Pearl Harbor on 20 February 1973 for upkeep and local operations to support units of the Pacific Fleet. PUFFER was the first submarine to shoot the MK-48 Torpedo on the Torpedo Test Range at Barking Sands, Kauai. PUFFER departed Hawaii and transited to Bremerton, Washington, arriving on 14 July 1973 to commence a regular overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
On 1 February 1974, LCDR Alton K. THOMPSON relieved CDR Daniel L. COOPER to become PUFFER's third Commanding Officer.
Following comprehensive sea trials, PUFFER completed the shipyard overhaul on 20 October 1974. Extensive weapons systems and acoustic trials were conducted in Puget Sound and along the California coast prior to the ship's departure for Hawaii. PUFFER's third Western Pacific deployment commenced on 28 August 1975. PUFFER participated in antisubmarine warfare exercises and visited Subic Bay, Philippines; Guam, M.I.; and Hong Kong, B.B.C. For superior performance from 28 August 1975 to 15 January 1976, PUFFER was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation. The ship returned to Pearl Harbor on 1 March 1976.
On 20 October 1976, CDR Donald R. MATHIOWETZ relieved CDR AltonK.THOMPSON to become PUFFER's fourth Commanding Officer.
PUFFER received her second Navy Unit Commendation for exceptionally superior performance from November to December 1976. PUFFER also received the COMSUBRON ONE Battle Efficiency "E" for 1976. PUFFER's fourth Western Pacific deployment commenced 21 April 1977. PUFFER visited Subic Bay, Philippines; Hong Kong, B.B.C.; Guam, M.I.; and Sattahip, Thailand. PUFFER was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation for exceptionally high performance from 21 June 1977 to 8 August 1977.
PUFFER returned from deployment on 14 September to prepare for overhaul, departing Hawaii on 6 December 1977 for Bremerton, Washington. PUFFER's second major shipyard overhaul commenced in early 1978, including a reactor refueling and modernization of the ship's fire control and sonar equipment. The ship completed overhaul in May 1979. After comprehensive weapons systems and acoustic trials, PUFFER returned to her home port, Pearl Harbor, by way of San Diego. In the fall of 1979, the ship was recertified for the MK-48 Torpedo and for the first time was certified to carry the Harpoon missile.
On 2 February 1980, CDR Howard W. HABERMEYER, Jr. relieved CDR Donald R. MATHIOWETZ to become PUFFER's fifth Commanding Officer.
Between February and May 1980, PUPPER completed Pre-Overseas Movement (POM) operations and an upkeep. In May, PUFFER departed for her fifth deployment to the Western Pacific. PUFFER visited Perth, Australia; Hong Kong, B.B.C.; Diego Garcia; Guam, M.I.; and Subic Bay, Philippines. PUFFER earned second place in the 1980 NEY Memorial Award for the Small Mess Afloat category and the COMSUBRON ONE Supply "E" in October 1980. In addition, PUFFER received her third Navy Unit Commendation.
The ship conducted local operations from November, 1980 until May, 1981, when PUFFER commenced a Selected Restricted Availability, which was completed in August, 1981. During 1981, PUFFER was awarded the COMSUBRON ONE Battle Efficiency "E", Engineering "E", and Supply "E" for outstanding performance. In November 1981, PUFFER deployed for her sixth Western Pacific deployment, during which the ship visited Subic Bay, R.P.; Perth, Australia; and Yokosuka, Japan. The ship returned to Pearl Harbor on 14 May 1982 and, in September, PUFFER was awarded her second consecutive COMSUBRON ONE Battle Efficiency "E" for outstanding performance for 1982. For continued exceptionally superior performance, PUFFER received her fourth Navy Unit Commendation.
In November 1982, PUFFER deployed for her seventh Western Pacific deployment, visiting Yokosuka, Japan in January 1983 for a port visit/upkeep. PUFFER returned to Pearl Harbor on 26 January 1983 and successfully completed Mine Readiness Certification.
On 3 June 1983, CDR Bernard D. GREESON relieved CAPT Howard W. HABERMEYER to become PUFFER's sixth Commanding Officer.
On 1 August 1983, PUFFER again deployed to the Western Pacific, visiting Hong Kong, B.B.C, for a port visit, and Subic Bay, Philippines for upkeep. PUFFER completed her eighth deployment and returned to Hawaii on 30 October 1983. During the following months, PUFFER conducted local operations was awarded the COMSUBRON ONE Deck Seamanship Efficiency "E" for 1983.
In January 1984, PUFFER deployed on Chief of Naval Operations Project, 670-OT-I, followed by an unscheduled deployment to the Middle Pacific in February 1984. On 1 April 1984, PUFFER entered a three month Selected Restricted Availability which included a Steam Generator Chemical Cleaning. This restricted availability was completed on 1 July 1984. Returning to operational status, PUFFER was engaged in intensive training operations in preparation for deployment to the Eastern Pacific. On 30 July 1984, PUFFER deployed to the Eastern Pacific visiting San Diego and Alameda, California, returning to Pearl Harbor on 28 August 1984.
On 29 October, 1984, CDR Clinton E. WRIGHT relieved CAPT Bernard D. GREESON to become PUFFER's seventh Commanding Officer.
Following deployment preparations, PUFFER departed on her ninth Western Pacific Deployment on 31 January 1985. Ports of call were made in Freemantle, Australia; Yokosuka, Japan; Subic Bay, Philippines; and Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territories. PUFFER returned to Pearl Harbor on 5 August 1985. PUFFER conducted local operations through January 1986 and departed on a Northern Pacific deployment 12 February 1986. Upon returning to Pearl Harbor in April, local operations and pre-overhaul testing were conducted through August 1986. On 24 August, PUFFER deployed on another Northern Pacific deployment with less than thirty hours notice.
On 17 October 1986, CDR Charles B. REIGNER relieved CDR Clinton E. WRIGHT to become PUFFER's eighth Commanding Officer.
PUFFER departed on a scheduled Northern Pacific Deployment on 7 November 1986. Returning on 5 December 1986, PUFFER's homeport was officially changed to Bremerton, Washington in preparation for her third overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. On 14 January 1987, PUFFER relocated to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) and entered Drydock Number 6 on 9 February 1987. PUFFER continued her overhaul in December 1988, finishing ahead of schedule. PUFFER departed Washington in January 1989 and transited to her new homeport in San Diego, California, becoming the newest member of COMSUBRON THREE. PUFFER spent the next few months undergoing extensive post-overhaul material and weapons certifications during local operations off the Southern California coast.
On August 10 1989, CDR Thomas G. KYLE relieved CDR Charles B. REIGNER to become PUFFER's ninth Commanding Officer.
PUFFER deployed on 8 December 1989 for her tenth Western Pacific deployment and first since 1985. During the next six months, PUFFER visited Guam, M.I.; Chinhae, South Korea; Pattaya Beach, Thailand; Subic Bay, Philippines; and returned to Yokosuka, Japan. On 6 June 1990, PUFFER completed her six-month deployment, returning to San Diego.
PUFFER prepared for her first Arctic Deployment in July and, on 24 August, departed for the Arctic Ocean. During her two-month operation, PUFFER made twenty-five surfacings in the Arctic, including one at the North Pole. PUFFER was underway the first two months of 1991 for CNO Special Operations returning to port on 16 February 1991. On 20 May 1991, PUFFER commenced a Selective Restricted Availability (SRA), completing it on 15 July 1991. PUFFER was underway in July and August 1991 for CNO Special Operations.
On 17 September 1991, PUFFER began her eleventh Western Pacific deployment. Ports of call included Yokosuka, Japan; Adak, Alaska; Guam, M.I.; and Brisbane, Australia. PUFFER returned home to San Diego on 17 March 1992 and was awarded her fourth Meritorious Unit Commendation for her superb operations during this deployment. In April 1992, PUFFER was certified for the new MK-48 ADCAP torpedo.
On May 12, 1992, CDR Richard A. WRIGHT relieved CDR Thomas G. KYLE to become PUFFER's tenth Commanding Officer.
In June 1992, PUFFER commenced a ten week underway period, including operations with Special Forces and culminating in a successful Operational Test Launch (OTL) of a Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM). PUFFER's outstanding performance in 1992 earned her the first COMSUBRON THREE Tactical "T" for Tactical Excellence, recognition as the "Top Torpedo and Missile Shooter". Additionally, PUFFER earned her third consecutive COMSUBRON THREE Red "DC" for Damage Control excellence.
PUFFER completed preparations for a second deployment to the Arctic Ocean and, on 17 March 1993, deployed to the Arctic Ocean. The ship surfaced through the ice, including at the North Pole on 27 April 1993, to conduct research and development experiments. During this deployment, PUFFER circumnavigated the North American Continent, visiting Faslane, Scotland and Puerto Rico enroute and transited the Panama Canal. On 15 June 1993, PUFFER returned home from her Arctic deployment and was awarded the Navy Arctic Service Ribbon and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
PUFFER's outstanding performance in 1993 earned her a second consecutive COMSUBRON THREE Tactical "T" for Tactical Excellence and an Engineering "E" for engineering excellence. From 23 November 1993 to 31 January 1994, PUFFER completed a Selected Restricted Availability (SRA), followed by preparations for her twelfth and final Western Pacific deployment. She deployed on 15 August 1994 and visited Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Yokosuka, Japan; Guam, M.I.; Sasebo, Japan; Hong Kong, B.B.C; and Suva, Fiji. PUFFER returned home from her final deployment on 15 February 1995.
On 10 April 1995, CDR David A. BURKHARD relieved CDR Richard A. WRIGHT as PUFFER's eleventh and final Commanding Officer.
PUFFER continued with local operations and preparations for inactivation. PUFFER is currently scheduled to change homeport from San Diego, California to Bremerton, Washington in October 1995 for inactivation in mid-1996.
note: This history was taken from the Deactivation Booklet passed out at the Deactivation Cerimony which took place in San Diego, CA on 08 Sept 1995. Puffer was deacommisioned in Bremerton, WA on 12 July 1996.