Vince Stone (last XO) 1987-1990, currently in Martinsville, VA
Event as I recall them:
Skipjack was in the med in mid 1987, returning in early September and entering dry-dock for the September – November time frame. In early 1988, Skipjack visited St. Croix, Port Canaveral, Florida, Bermuda, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, the last two during an exercise. In late April, Skipjack had just left Groton traveling to the south. Sister diesel Bonefish had a disastrous fire. TV news reports reported the fire with film, but did not identify the submarine. Skipjack wives saw a sub that looked like the Skipjack and many thought it was Skipjack. Squadron Two did not clarify the situation for a few days, creating some heartburn among crew wives.
Skipjack had a change of command during the summer and the crew prepared for a UNITAS 1988 cruise to South America. Skipjack left in September and visited the Naval Base in Roosvelt Roads, Puerto Rico; Caracas, Venezuela (anchored out); Cartagena, Columbia and then transited the Panama Canal. While at the Naval Base on the Pacific side, one motor-generator suffered a unrepairable casualty. Skipjack left UNITAS, re-transited the canal and headed to Groton, where she entered dry-dock for repairs.
Skipjack’s authorization to dive expired in March, 1989 since it was not cost efficient to inspect the hull again. She had just been to St. Croix and some of the return trip was conducted on the surface. From March thru June, Skipjack provided bridge training to students at the Submarine Officer Basic School in Groton, mostly running up and down the river. During one trip out of the sound the anchor got stuck. Divers were called out from Groton to cut the anchor chain and retrieve the anchor. Skipjack entered dry-dock to have the anchor fixed, at a cost of about $75K. Skipjack left Groton in early July to transit to Norfolk. After arrival Skipjack got to bob around on the surface for a week as support vessel for another submarine’s sea trials. Skipjack entered NNSDDCO in October for decommissioning.