To return to the SSN 667 main page, click here.

The Mission of the Fast Attack Submarine USS Bergall

The USS Bergall (SSN 667) was a nuclear-powered attack submarine of the STURGEON Class, especially designed as an anti-submarine weapon. Her keel was laid on 4 April 1966 and she was launched 17 February 1968. After completion of her sea trials she was commissioned on 13 June 1969. She became the 84th nuclear submarine to enter the Fleet and the 43rd attack type. Her assignment upon commissioning was to Submarine Development Group Two in Groton, Connecticut. This assignment was to fully test the Navy's newest all-purpose sonar, the AN/BQS-13.

The Bergall was a streamlined, highly advanced, and maneuverable anti-submarine warfare platform which employed the best the industry could offer in three major areas. First, she was powered by a pressurized water nuclear reactor propulsion plant which provided reliability, high power, and the ability to operate independent of the outside atmosphere for extended periods. In this power plant the reactor provides heat, which is transported to a secondary water system by circulating pressurized water. The secondary water becomes steam, which operates turbines to provide propulsion and electric power. Second, extensive design changes to the STURGEON class sonar system had produced a second generation sonar complex which Bergall would test at sea for the first time. The new system was a key element of BergallíS sophisticated electronic sensor suite, and added substantially to the formidable hunter-killer capability already provided in earlier class ships. Finally, Bergall carried the most advanced weapons available to the Submarine Force, including the SUBROC (nuclear-tipped and rocket-propelled torpedoes) missile system which added a potent attack capability. The computers to support and direct these weapons were newly developed and extremely versatile, to complete the variety of tasks to which Bergall was assigned.

In order to provide maximum crew comfort for extended operations, the ship had extensive air conditioning equipment. Special atmospheric control equipment removed irritants from the air and maintained the proper balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and other atmospheric constituents during prolonged sub-merged periods. Large distilling plants provided plenty of fresh water, and electrolytic oxygen generators allowed the submarine to manufacture oxygen from sea water.

The extensive use of sound-isolating materials and great care in noise reduction of all moving parts gave Bergall an inherent silent quality and maximum performance of her advanced sonar system. She combined the endurance and environmental independence of nuclear power with deep submergence and high speed. Super-quiet, deep-diving, and swift, Bergall was also very lethal to hostile surface shipping. But she was especially suited as a "killer submarine" vitally concerned with denying the effectiveness of a hostile underseas fleet. Her complement was 12 officers and 95 men.

In 1970 Bergall became the first submarine to undergo the MK-48 torpedo conversion and in 1971 she was the first ship to carry the MK-48 torpedo in its operational warshot configuration. The AN/BQQ-5 digital sonar system was temporarily installed for test and evaluation in 1972. Bergall was awarded her first Navy Unit Commendation that year for her performance in the testing of the sonar systems and outstanding MK-48 torpedo proficiency.

In 1973 Bergall saw her first two extended deployments. Both were rigorous independent operations of great importance to the United States. Upon the completion of her first deployment Bergall was awarded the Navy Expeditionary Medal for her contribution to the National Defense. After returning from her second deployment the ship conducted a 52 week non-refueling overhaul in Groton, CT., ending in early 1975. To end 1975 Bergall completed an 11 week Northern European deployment that included participation in a major NATO exercise, Operation OCEAN SAFARI.

1976 started off quickly, with the Bergall departing in early February on a six month Mediterranean deployment followed by a five month deployment in the North Atlantic. The year ended with the Bergall in an upkeep in La Maddelena, Italy into 1977.

1978 was a banner year for Bergall. She participated in a targeting exercise for the HARPOON missile system, exercise SOLID SHIELD, and successfully sank the ex-USS SEA LION in SINKEX 1-78. Bergall also had the distinction of being the first east -coast submarine to carry a Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV). The year culminated in a change of homeport to Norfolk, VA and Submarine Squadron SIX and the commencement of her second non-refueling overhaul which lasted 13 months.

In 1980 Bergall conducted a five month deployment to the North Atlantic for which she was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation.    Leaving Norfolk in September she went on a back to back northern run, spending several weeks in Holy Loch and ended up spending several days in Halifax on the return trip home, she spent several days in Faslane as well, returning in February 1981.   Upon completion of various exercises including OCEAN VENTURE and COMPUTEX 1-82, Bergall was awarded the Commander Submarine Squadron SIX Operations White "A" in early 1982.

During 1982 Bergall completed a five month Mediterranean deployment, participating in exercise DISPLAY DETERMINATION where she was awarded the Commander Sixth Fleet Hook em' Award for Anti-Submarine Excellence.

1983 saw a stint down in Florida waters and a three month deployment to the North Atlantic after which the ship was awarded the Red "DC" for Damage Control Excellence in Submarine Squadron SIX.

On 23 April 1984, USS Kittiwake collided with the attack submarine, USS Bergall, SSN-667 at Norfolk, Virginia, while Bergall was moored to the pier astern of her. Kittiwake was getting underway for the first time since she had undergone maintenance, during which her main drive motor was re-wired improperly, causing it and the propeller drove to rotate in the opposite direction from that ordered by personnel on Kittiwake's bridge. This was unknown to Kittiwake's bridge personnel, who found that Kittiwake started to drift aft when they were expecting her to move forward. Noting the backward motion, they ordered an increase in the motor drive speed in order to correct it and get Kittiwake moving forward, but unwittingly caused Kittiwake to move further aft and at a higher speed. Still not realizing that Kittiwake's main drive motor was operating in reverse of what they expected, Kittiwake's bridge personnel then ordered another increase in Kittiwake's forward speed, which only served to increase her speed astern. This continued until Kittiwake's stern backed into Bergall's sonar dome.

The ship conducted another Mediterranean deployment in 1984-85 during which the Commander, Turkish Submarine group presented mementos from the ex-Bergall (SS 320), then in service in the Turkish Navy. After deployment the ship commenced a 31 month refueling overhaul and depot modernization on the west coast, completing it in April 1988.

The submarine USS Bergall, SSN-667, quietly slipped her moorings late February or early March 1988. Little did the citizens of nearby Vallejo, California, know that a landmark event was being added to the long and proud history of the Mare Island Naval Shipyard: Diane Nelson, a weapons electronics mechanic, was about to become the first woman to participate in a sea trial on this small, cramped attack-class submarine. A few days later, Communications Electronic Mechanic Lita Pangelinan, would be the second woman to test the submarine at sea. Once again, Mare Island made her mark in the history books.   The Bergall returned to Norfolk on June 13, 1988... just another "13" in the Bergall tradition.

1990 was a busy year for Bergall. She engaged in classified deployed operations in January and February and closed the year drydocked in USS RESOLUTE (AFDM IO) for Selected Restricted Availability (SRA) with the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Early in 1992 Bergall again deployed to the Western Atlantic culminating with the award of the Meritorious Unit Commendation. In October Bergall deployed to the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Seas.

In April of 1993 Bergall returned from her highly successful deployment. Bergall was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation and COMSUBRON SIX Battle Efficiency "E". In October of 1993 the last change of command for Bergall took place. During 1994 Bergall completed a five month Mediterranean deployment and she was awarded the Red "DC" for superior damage control efforts by COMSUBRON SIX. Bergall completed her final deployment, to the Caribbean Sea, in June 1995.

Bergall had been on the leading edge of the submarine force throughout her distinguished career. She has proudly carried forward the tradition set forth by the original USS Bergall in WWII. She completed 14 deployments and various exercises and operations vital to the national security of the United States.

She was inactivated on August 4, 1995 and decommissioned 06/06/1996. She served with pride.

To return to the SSN 667 main page, click here.