SCAMP Newspaper Articles; Clips, Etc.

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Thanks, Keith Boger!

Commissioning Ceremonies

THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE ON JUNE 6,1961. It was buried between an article about teachers visiting U.C. Berkeley on the left and a fire in a hay storage shed in Williams on the right. The tonnage and length quoted are different than the first article and wrong, again.


Two thousand persons attended the commissioning of the nuclear-powered submarine Scamp at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo yesterday.

The new vessel is the Navy's 20th nuclear sub and the fourth to be built at Mare Island. Classed as a fast attack submarine, the 3400-ton Scamp is 253 long. (Polaris subs are 8000 tons, conventionally powered ones 1560 tons.) The Scamp has a crew of 90 officers and men, under Commander Walter N. Dietzen, Jr., of Chattanooga, Tenn. Lieutenant Commander Robert W. Dickieson of Freeport, N. Y., is executive officer.

  New A-Sub Has First Sea Trials off  Golden Gate

THIS ARTICLE WAS BURIED IN THE MIDDLE OF A SECTION OF LOCAL NEWS IN THE APRIL 11, 1961 ISSUE OF THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE. It was embedded next to an article about a runaway kid on one side and a bank robbery on the other with train wreck above and a fire in a Chicago university dorm fire below. The figures quoted for tonnage and length are wrong.


The nuclear submarine Scamp, built at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, completed her initial sea trials off the Golden Gate yesterday. Vice Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, Assistant chief of the Navy's bureau of atomic-powered ships was aboard for the test. Scamp, the fourth nuclear-powered submarine launched at Mare Island, is 2800 tons, 275 feet long and "very fast". She will undergo further sea trials and will probably be commissioned here in about two months.


A-Sub Dives Into Trouble Off S.F.

THIS ARTICLE APPEARED ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE ON DECEMBER 6, 1961. The article was in the lower right corner above "THE INDEX" and next to an article about 25 East Germans hijacking a train and fleeing East Berlin (seven of the total 32 people on board returned with the train to East Berlin and hour later!). The article below the tail of Scamp's write-up on page 16 was for the USS Coral Sea - she, of course, is not a cruiser, but an aircraft carrier! Guess they all look alike to reporters?      Meanwhile back at a depth of 400 feet>>


The nuclear-powered submarine Scamp was backing down deep beneath the ocean surface 40 miles off the Golden Gate yesterday when her football-shaped hull abruptly halted.

A hurried check by the Scamp's 90-man crew indicated the sub's single propeller shaft had suffered a "mechanical failure" and apparently had shaken off the propeller. Disabled, the 3400-ton craft went "dead" in the water.

First word of its distress was received shortly before 1 a.m. at the Navy's Western Sea Frontier Base. The radio message from Scamp's skipper Captain Walter N. Dietzen, Jr., indicated no dire emergency. He had returned his disabled craft to the surface by the usual method of "blowing tanks". Compressed air drove out sea water ballast to lighten the sub for a controlled ascent.

But shorn of its driving force, the Scamp now wallowed like a barrel in the seas. It was drifting. It needed a tow.

The coast guard cutter Comanche was sent to aid. But until the rescue ship arrived five hours later, the crew of the Scamp rolled and rolled; the seas sang a rough lullaby. The sub's nuclear power plant itself was undamaged by the mishap, and no crew members were injured or endangered, a Navy spokesman said.

OVERHAUL: The Scamp has been only five months in operation. She was built at Mare Island Naval Shipyard at Vallejo and had just completed an overhaul following its shakedown cruise. One of the changes during the overhaul was installation of a new type "instrumented propeller shaft" which the Navy wanted to test. It was this part that failed.

The Scamp will be returned to Mare Island today and its regular propulsion shaft re-installed. The Scamp is one of the few modern submarines with only one shaft and propeller. A Mare Island spokesman said late models have an auxiliary propulsion system for emergency use.

Webmaster's Editorial Comment . . . then the article after ours>>>

"Farewell Party for US Cruiser"! (The USS Coral Sea!)


Why Nuclear Sub Went "Dead" At Sea

THIS FOLLOW-UP WAS BURIED IN THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE'S EDITION OF DECEMBER 9, 1961. The article was sandwiched between an ad for dishwashers, pianos and stereos and a story about the first Wave to go to sea. Ironically, she was assigned to the Navy transport General W. A. Mann, and headed for Japan. This was the transport that brought my family back from Japan in 1952...small world! (GUSTAV ERBES)

Meanwhile, back on the surface, damage control is in progress!


The Navy disclosed yesterday the disabling of the nuclear submarine Scamp off the Golden Gate earlier this week was caused by a propeller shaft that broke in two.

The section containing the propeller was carried away leaving the Scamp "dead" in the water. It had to wait five hours for a Coast Guard cutter which towed the craft into the bay.

A Navy spokesman said his earlier information that Scamp was submerged when the accident occurred was in error. The submarine was surfaced and backing to test the propeller shaft when "the stress caused a fracture in the shaft".

No crewmen were injured nor was the nuclear power plant affected, he said.

The Scamp is getting its shaft replaced at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo.


Thanks to Gustav Erbes for the four articles from SF Chronicle, and to Keith Boger for the Oct. '64 Homecoming article. Now, Scamp Sailors, send us those clippings from your treasure trove! 
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