USS Trout SS-566 Needs Your Help

6/28/2003 update:

From shipmate Michael Wheeler:


This is an appeal to all submariners to assist in saving the United States Navy’s last Tang Class submarine, the USS TROUT SS-566.

The USS Trout is currently under the control of NAVAIR, Marine and Targets Detachment, and docked in Key West, Florida. Over the next several months I have been tasked by the Navy with preparing the Trout for towing to INACTSHIPS in Philadelphia and subsequent De-Mil for the Ship Donation Program. Trout’s donation status will represent the last opportunity in the foreseeable future for any foundation to acquire a submarine memorial from the United States Navy. As many groups have discovered, there are a number of ”insurmountable problems” with accessing a nuclear submarine for use as a memorial and it may well be prudent for these groups to address the possibility of acquiring the Trout in lieu of a nuclear boat.

I ask that all submariners that can help save this boat from becoming razor blades or the next SINKEX, please step up to the plate. This boat is a virtual time capsule, with the majority of her systems not only intact, but operational. Even her batteries are brand-new (without electrolyte)! Imagine what a magnificent display she’d make for some lucky foundation! I’ve been fortunate to have worked aboard several different memorial submarines and visited several others, but I have not as yet seen or worked aboard a memorial boat that approaches the current condition of the Trout. Hell, if they’d let me, I’d take her out and bottom her in 300 feet of water and I assure you that she’d pop right back to the surface when the MBT’s were blown.

Please help find a home for this magnificent boat and feel free to contact me for additional information or direction. And keep in mind; all costs associated with the donation of a USN vessel are the responsibility of the acquiring organization.


Michael Wheeler

Trout photos: Clickety Click

From shipmate Joe Most:

What does fate hold in store for USS Trout, a diesel Fast Attack boat? Trout sits in harbor at Key West Fl. At this time she still belongs to NAVAIR. The original plan was to use Trout as a remotely controlled submersible sonar target ship. Those plans are now on indefinite hold and probably will not happen. When NAVAIR releases Trout she will revert to NAVSEA. What NAVSEA plans to do with Trout is still up in the air, but they can donate her to a qualified museum or scrap her.

Mike "Wheels" Wheeler and Joe "the" Most have already established personal contacts and spent days providing NAVAIR with a very concise evaluation of her present condition. They are committed to seeing the the Trout is not just left to rot; is not scrapped and is preserved with dignity, either as an operational test boat or as a museum boat. Mike and Joe are willing to put their time and what little money it costs into fulfilling this end. To achieve this goal, they have been given the OK by NAVAIR to form work groups, not to exceed 8 people, to concentrate on keeping the Trout ship shape. What they collectively demonstrate in skill and commitment to submarines will be observed by those that make the decisions as to Trout's ultimate fate.

Many sub vets say they'd like to work on a submarine again. Now is your chance. It is, however, essential that you who want to be a part of this understand the commitment we have, so if you have an interest in working with us please email Joe Most ASAP because the first work weekend will be in late April. Sleeping quarters and eats will be provided.

Joe Most  

See Joe and Mike's extensive photo collection on the Trout.

Also, drop in on Joe Most's BBS to get the latest info.

More Information on USS Trout

The keel was laid down by Electric Boat Division in Groton Connecticut on December 1, 1949. It was launched August 21, 1951.

From 1952-1978, the USS Trout conducted training and readiness operations with ships from the US fleet and NATO nations, operating from the North Atlantic to the Caribbean Sea. She engaged in sonar evaluation tests, ASW exercises, and submerged simulated attack exercises.

It was decommissioned and struck from the Navy's inventory list December 19, 1978. The sub was sent to rest at the Philadelphia Shipyard, her last homeport.

The Trout was sold to the Shah of Iran. She was rebuilt in 1979-1980 and restored to near perfect condition. Restoration included $26 million in upgrades, new engines, three sets of batteries, and all systems totally reconditioned. Before the transfer could take place the Iranians seized American hostages and the vessel was seized by the US along with other Iranian assets. The vessel lay at Inactive Ships Facilities in the Philadelphia Shipyard while legal and diplomatic efforts ensued.

The USS Trout was sold at scrap value to the Program Executive Office for Undersea Warfare (PEO USW) in 1994 and moored at Newport, Rhode Island. The vessel was then acquired by the NAWCAD Key West Detachment as an underwater acoustic target for ASW research and development, operational testing and training requirements for the US Navy.

Based on ASW fleet input, NAWCAD felt there existed a need for an underwater acoustic target. The US Navy has had a difficult time obtaining required test and training time on realistic ASW acoustic targets.

It was thought the USS Trout II could provide necessary and timely services as a dedicated asset. It could allow unrestricted active search, with no standoff required. It can operate in less than 300 feet of water and is capable of bottoming. It will operate at one to three knots and will allow torpedo terminal homing algorithm testing.


Surface displacement:2050 tons
Submerged displacement: 2700 tons
Length: 286 feet
Beam: 27'3 feet
Speed: 15.6 Knots (surface)
18.3 Knots (submerged)
Total depth: 700+ feet
Former Complement: 8 Officers, 75 enlisted

For an onboard tour of USS Trout in Key West (created by Naval Air Warfare Center - Key West), visit  (<== link down as of 6/2003)

(Thanks to Pat Householder for assembling this information)