The first USS LAPON (SS 260)
The first LAPON was commissioned on January 1943. She had an overall length of 311 feet and was designed to carry 24 torpedoes.
LAPON joined the Pacific Submarine Force in mid-1943. During World War II, LAPON made eight war patrols and is officially credited with the sinking of 11 Japanese ships with a total displacement of 53,443 tons. She was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation in recognition of the ship's outstanding valor during the third through the sixth war patrols.
The LAPON was decommissioned on 25 July 1946 and placed in the Reserve Fleet. On 27 March 1957, she was reactivated for loan to the Government of Greece. She was turned over to the Greek Government on 10 August 1957. She is still on loan there and now serves the Royal Navy as POSEIDON (Y-16).
The present LAPON (SSN 661)
Launched on 16 December 1966 at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry dock Company. Upon completion of sea trials LAPON was commissioned on 14 December 1967. Acceptance of the ship for the Navy was by VADM A.F. Shade, USN, Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.
LAPON was assigned to submarine Squadron Six in Norfolk, Va. During early 1968 LAPON underwent extensive shakedown and refresher training, including a visit to the Caribbean Islands of Puerto Rico and St. Croix. Lapon then deployed to the North Atlantic for ten weeks. She was awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation by the Secretary of the Navy for operations during this deployment.
During the early part of 1969, following a weapons inspection, LAPON made her second deployment to the North Atlantic which included a visit to Faslane Scotland. LAPON was awarded a second Meritorious Unit Citation for this period, and FY 1969 Battle Efficiency "E" for Submarine Division 62. LAPON again deployed in the early fall of 1969 and was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation on 10 August 1970.
In early July 1970, LAPON was presented with the FY 1970 Battle Efficiency "E" for Submarine Division 63, followed by Marjorie Sterret Battleship award for FY 1970, as the ship in the Atlantic Fleet representing the highest proficiency in Battle Efficiency.
In November 1970 LAPON deployed for operations with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. Visits there included Rots, Spain and Naples, Italy. The ship returned to Norfolk on 1 April 1971 marking the first Mediterranean deployment by a 637 Class submarine.
In the fall of 1971 LAPON started her first major overhaul in Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery Maine. LAPON completed an extensive shakedown and refresher training. LAPON deploys to the Mediterranean in support of the Sixth Fleet. During this six month deployment, LAPON visited Naples and La Spezia, Italy and La Maddalena, Sardinia. She returned in early December 1973. LAPON was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for this operation.
After a holiday period at home, LAPON completed an extensive upkeep in Norfolk, Virginia. LAPON successfully completed an Operational Readiness Inspection in February 1974, four week interim dry dock period at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Va., certification to carry the MK 48 torpedo and Prospective Commanding Officer Operations through the fall of 1974.
In October 1974, LAPON deployed again to the Mediterranean for six months in support of the Sixth Fleet. While there, LAPON visited Naples, Italy; Lisbon, Portugal and La Maddalena Sardinia.
Spring and Summer 1975 found LAPON providing valuable ASW services and firing numerous exercise torpedoes. LAPON received the Engineering "E" and the Weapons Operations "A" in the fall of 1975.
On 1 March 1976 LAPON commenced her second major overhaul at the Newport News Shipyard and Dry dock Company, Newport News, Virginia.