Deployments - Mare Island

Mare Island has a very unique place in the history of the U.S. Silent Service - having an impact that reached 92+ years. Some 43 (some records indicate 44) submarines and 10+ Submarine Tenders were built at Mare Island - while many, many others were overhauled or converted; many more receiving major repairs. What's interesting is that while Mare Island's history started 50 years before the first U.S. Submarines - and in fact Mare Island's first ship was a side-wheeler -- today - some ten years after Mare Island was closed by the Navy - the community often refers to the old facility as the Navy's Sub Base - the association is that strong in the minds of those who live and work around the facility. The last vessel built by Mare Island was the submarine Drum SSN 677; however - even after Mare Island was no longer invloved in new construction - she was heavily involved in repairs. Even while Drum was being commissioned in April 1972 - Submarine Tender Proteus was at Mare Island undergoing a major overhaul that would take nearly a year to complete.

Early boats and their tender in one of Mare Island's dry docks

USS Beaver - Converted to a Submarine Tender by Mare Island.
It might be thought that Mare Island was just a build / repair facility rather than a deployment site - but that would be a wrong conclusion - particularly in the years between the wars. As this next picture shows - Mare Island was home to USS beaver and her brood after her conversion - and before setting out for Pearl Harbor.

Then again - some of the vessels built by Mare Island went on to do some serious damage to the enemy - one famous World War II submarine was the USS Wahoo SS-238 -- show here gliding down the ways at Mare Island... Before she was lost during her seventh war patrol - she had sent some 119,000 tonnes of Japanese shipping to the bottom.

More of Mare Island's World War II record is in the next Deployments section. After W.W. II - Mare Island became home to over 50 Submarines and four tenders. These are shown and identified in the next two photos
Unfortunately, this was the end of Mare Island's role as a "Deployment" site - as the unhappy job of "thinning" the submarine fleet became the immediate task at hand. However - Mare Island continued to provide valuable support to the Silent Service until the base itself was retired in 1996.

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