|USS McKee (AS-41)|
|Builder:||Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company, Seattle, Washington|
|Laid down:||14 January 1978|
|Launched:||16 February 1980|
|Commissioned:||15 August 1981|
|Decommissioned:||16 July 1999|
|Struck:||25 April 2006|
3 × Meritorious Unit Commendations|
4 × Battle Effectiveness Awards
|Fate:||NISMF, Portsmouth, Virginia, maintenance category B|
|Class & type:||Emory S. Land-class submarine tender|
|Displacement:||23,000 long tons (23,369 t) full|
|Length:||645 ft 8 in (196.80 m)|
|Beam:||85 ft (26 m)|
|Draft:||26 ft (7.9 m)|
2 × boilers|
20,000 shp (14,914 kW)
|Speed:||18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)|
|Complement:||1,500 officers and enlisted|
• 4 × 20 mm AA guns|
• 5 × .50 caliber machine guns
USS McKee (AS-41), named after Andrew McKee, was the third Emory S. Land-class submarine tender built by the Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company of Seattle, Washington for the United States Navy.
The ship was commissioned on 16 August 1981. After a series of sea trials, McKee replaced the USS Sperry (AS-12) and joined the USS Dixon (AS-37) in San Diego to support Pacific Fleet submarines. The McKee was the Command Ship for COMSUBRON11.
Early in 1984, McKee became the first submarine tender certified to support the new Tomahawk cruise missile system. McKee earned three consecutive Battle Efficiency "E" awards in 1985, 1986 and 1987. In addition to the Battle "E" in 1986, McKee was honored with the Golden Anchor Award for retention excellence and her first Meritorious Unit Commendation.
In 1987, the McKee was the first submarine tender to visit Adak, Alaska since World War II, and conducted the first nuclear submarine upkeep at this remote location. 1988 saw McKee become the first submarine tender certified to handle the Tomahawk Vertical Launch System (VLS).
In February 1989 the McKee performed the first at-sea weapons transfer to a submarine since WWII, to the USS Ohio (SSBN-726).
In March 1990, the McKee continued leading the way for submarine tenders by participating in the first underway fuel replenishment by a Pacific Fleet submarine tender. This fuel was in preparation for deployment to the Persian Gulf in January 1991.
When Operation Desert Storm began, the McKee deployed to the Persian Gulf and spent six months providing support to submarines and surface combatants in Jebel Ali, just outside Dubai, United Arab Emirates. McKee was awarded a second Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Southwest Asia Service Medal. Following Desert Storm, McKee was awarded a fourth Battle Efficiency "E" Award.
In 1995, after the decommissioning of USS Dixon, McKee provided all support to San Diego based submarines. Assistance was also provided to many Allied submarines while they visited Point Loma.
In 1998, McKee earned a third Meritorious Unit Commendation following a six month deployment to Pearl Harbor. During this deployment, McKee provided services and conducted repairs to both U.S. and Allied submarines and surface combatants. Upon returning to San Diego, the ship took the lead in establishing shore-based services that will support the submarines after McKee's departure.
In November 1998, the weapons department of the USS McKee loaded Tomahawk cruise missiles onto HMS Splendid (S106). These were the first of 67 Tomahawk cruise missiles sold to the Royal Navy and the first British submarine to receive the Tomahawk missiles. They were later used by HMS Splendid in offensive operations in Yugoslavia. On 1 October 1999, McKee was decommissioned from service and moved to the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility (NISMF), located in Portsmouth, Virginia. She was struck from the Naval Register on 25 April 2006.
USS McKee was one of first ships to integrate female sailors and as a consequence, while unofficially was also known as the "Love Boat" by many of her crew, and the crew members of submarines, assigned to Submarine Squadron 11 for the many relationships that sprung up during the 1990s.
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