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Scamp was a Skipjack-class nuclear-powered submarine, the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the scamp, a member of the fish family Serranidae. Scamp was the second ship in the radical new-design Skipjack class. This new class introduced the teardrop hull and the S5W reactor to U.S. nuclear submarines. The Skipjack-class boats were the fastest U.S. nuclear submarines in the fleet until the Los Angeles-class submarines were launched, the first of which entered service in 1974.


Scamp’s keel was laid down on 23 January 1959 at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California. She was launched on 8 October 1960, sponsored by Mrs. John C. Hollingsworth, widow of Commander John C. Hollingsworth, the commanding officer of Scamp (SS-277) at the time of her loss in November 1944. Scamp was commissioned at Mare Island on 5 June 1961 with Commander W. N. Dietzen in command.

West Coast Operations

Scamp was initially homeported in San Diego, California and made a number of deployments with Seventh Fleet. During the Vietnam War she earned three battle stars for service. Deployments alternated with local training operations out of San Diego and dry docking overhauls until 1977. In 1978 Scamp participated in UNITAS XIX; a complete circumnavigation of South America with three US Navy surface vessels participating in exercises with naval units of South American nations. Scamp completed the cruise with a homeport change to New London, Connecticut.

East Coast Operations

Scamp operated out of New London for the next ten years. She alternated deployments to the North Atlantic and Mediterranean with local training operations and dry dock overhauls. In 1984 Scamp participated in UNITAS XXV. She made her final deployment to the North Atlantic in 1987. On her way back to the United States she was diverted to attempt a rescue of crew members of the Philippine freighter, MV Balsa 24. The freighter was caught in a storm and sinking. During the rescue attempt Scamp suffered significant flooding and damage to her sail. Scamp’s crew did save the life of one freighter crew member, but 18 others perished.


Scamp was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 28 April 1988. ex-Scamp entered the Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program in Bremerton, Washington, in 1990 and on 9 September 1994 became the first hulk to complete the program.

Editors Note: I am working on a more complete history of the USS Scamp. For reasons unknown, all published histories of Scamp seem to end about 1973, with a mention of her at-sea rescue performed in 1987. This history will involve some research, and will be posted on this page when complete. If you have some historical information or anecdotes, please share it using this contact form. If I use your information, you will be cited in the history as source.