The Southern Colorado Base honors with the USS Scorpion with a float that we display at a variety of local parades in the Colorado Springs/Pueblo area. Here is some additional information on the boat.

Larry Leek wrote a great article of the creation of our float Read Here


U.S.S. Scorpion Specs

Career Name: USS Scorpion
Ordered: 31 January 1957
Builder: General Dynamics Electric Boat
Laid Down: 20 August 1958
Launched: 29 December 1959
Commissioned: 29 July 1960
Struck: 30 June 1968
Fate: Sank on 22 May 1968
Cause: Unknown Eternal Patrol: All 99 Crew Lost Status: Wreckage Located on the Seabed of the Atlantic Ocean in 3000 m (9800 ft) of water South West of the Azores.
General Characteristics Class & Type: Skipjack Class Submarine Displacement: 2,930 Tons—Light 3,144 Tons
Full Length: 252 ft Beam: 31 ft 10 in Draft: 29 ft 10 in Propulsion: S5W Reactor
Complement: 8 Officers, 75 Enlisted
Armament: 6 X 21 in Torpedo Tubes 2 X Mark 45 Torpedoes

U.S.S. Scorpion History

USS Scorpion, a 3500 ton Skipjack class nuclear powered attack submarine built at Groton, Connecticut, was commissioned in July 1960.


Assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, she took part in the development of contemporary submarine warfare tactics and made periodic deployments to the Mediterranean Sea and other areas where the presence of a fast and stealthy submarine would be beneficial. Scorpion began another Mediterranean cruise in February 1968. The following May, while homeward bound from that tour, she was lost with her entire crew some 400 miles southwest of the Azores. In late October 1968, her remains were found on the sea floor over 10,000 feet below the surface by a towed deep submergence vehicle deployed from USNS Mizar (T AGOR 11). Photographs taken then and later showed that her hull had suffered fatal damage while she was running submerged and that even more severe dam age occurred as she sank. The cause of the initial damage continues to generate controversy decades later. Scorpion was one of the few U.S. Navy submarines to be lost at sea while not at war and is one of two nuclear submarines ever lost. USS Scorpion on Trials 27 June, 1960 Disappearance In late October 1967, Scorpion started refresher training and weapons system acceptance tests, and was given a new Commanding Officer, Francis Slattery. Following type training out of Norfolk, Virginia, it got underway on 15 February 1968 for a Mediterranean Sea deployment. It operated with the 6th Fleet into May and then headed west for home. Scorpion suffered several mechanical malfunctions including a chronic problem with Freon leakage from refrigeration systems. An electrical fire occurred in an escape trunk when a water leak shorted out a shore power connection. For an unusually long period of time, beginning shortly before midnight on 20 May and ending after midnight 21 May, Scorpion was attempting to send radio traffic to Naval Station Rota in Spain but was only able to reach a Navy
communications station in Nea Makri, Greece, which forwarded Scorpion’s messages to SUBLANT. Six days later, it was reported overdue at Norfolk. Navy personnel suspected possible failure and launched a search. Search A public search was initiated, but without immediate success and on 5 June, Scorpion and her crew were declared “presumed lost.” Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 30 June. Some recent reports now indicate that a large and secret search was launched three days before Scorpion was expected back from patrol; this combined with other declassified information led many to speculate the US Navy knew of the Scorpion’s destruction before the public search was launched.

U.S.S. Scorpion SSN 589 1960-1968 Wreckage


It would appear that the bow of Scorpion skidded upon impact with the globigerina ooze on the seafloor, digging a sizable trench which created a significant hazard for the Trieste II crews attempting to maneuver close to acquire photographs and assess the wreckage with their own eyes. Much of the operations compartment had disappeared, and most of the debris field was identified as coming from the operations compartment. The sail had been dis lodged as the hull of the operations compartment upon which it perched disintegrated, and was lying on its port side. One of Scorpion’s running lights was locked in the open position as if it had been on the surface at the time of the mishap, although it may have been left in the open position during the vessel’s recent nighttime stop at Rota. One Trieste II pilot
who dived on Scorpion said the shock of the implosion may have knocked the light into the open position. The aft section appeared to have skidded side ways on impact, since it was less hydrodynamically efficient than the bullet shaped torpedo room, which investigators believed would have developed a greater downward velocity. The aft section of the engine room had telescoped forward into the larger diameter hull section.

US Navy Investigation and Conclusions

The results of the U.S. Navy’s various investigations into the loss of Scorpion are inconclusive. While the Court of Inquiry never endorsed Dr. Craven’s torpedo theory regarding the loss of Scorpion, its Findings of Facts re leased in 1993 carried Craven’s torpedo
theory at the head of a list of possible causes of Scorpion’s loss. The Navy failed to inform the public that both the U.S. Submarine Force Atlantic and the Commander in Chief U.S. Atlantic Fleet opposed Craven’s torpedo theory as unfounded and also failed to disclose that a second technical investigation into the loss of Scorpion completed in 1970 actually repudiated claims that a torpedo detonation played a role in the loss of Scorpion. Despite the second technical investigation, the Navy continues to attach strong credence to Craven’s view that an explosion destroyed her, as is evidenced by this excerpt from a May 2003 letter from the Navy’s Submarine Warfare Division (N77), specifically written by Admiral P.F. Sullivan on behalf of Vice Admiral John J. Grossenbacher (Commander Naval Submarine Forces), the Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Reactors, and others in the US Navy regarding its view of alternative sinking theories: “The first cataclysmic event was of such magnitude that the only possible conclusion is that a cataclysmic event (explosion) occurred resulting in uncontrolled flooding (most likely the forward compartments).”

Other theories include:

• Accidental Activation of Torpedo

• Malfunction of Trash Disposal Unit

• Hostile Action by Soviet Submarine

• Bruce Rule’s research and theory. Files are available here