In a previous eBay Tuesday entry, I mentioned how former Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson penned a 1914 article imagining the invasion of New York City opening with a troop landing at New London. Fifty-two years later, a nuclear submarine built for national defense was named in his honor at this city.
This week's item, offered by the business Historical Cover Age, is a postal cover to commemorate the commissioning of the USS Henry L. Stimson at the Naval Underwater Sound Laboratory at Fort Trumbull. Taking place on Aug. 20, 1966, the submarine had a complement of two crews: the Blue Crew, first commanded by Capt. Richard E. Jortberg, and the Gold Crew, first commanded by Commander Robert H. Weeks.
Electric Boat laid the keel for the submarine on April 4, 1964. The Henry L. Stimson was launched on Nov. 13, 1965, with Grace Murphy Dodd - wife of Senator Thomas Dodd - breaking the bottle of champagne on the hull.
A Benjamin Franklin class submarine, this vessel remains the only Navy ship named for the Stimson. After serving as Secretary of War for President William Howard Taft and Governor of the Phillipines for President Calvin Coolidge, Stimson went on to become Secretary of State for President Herbert Hoover. He would also oversee the American effort in World War II after President Franklin D. Roosevelt invited him back to the Secretary of War post in 1940. Stimson died in 1950 at the age of 83.
The Henry L. Stimson, or SSBN-655, began Cold War deterrent activities in the Atlantic in 1967. After numerous patrols, two major upgrades that improved the submarine's weapons systems, and two meritorious unit citations, the submarine combined crews in 1992. This was followed by decommissioning on May 5, 1993.
The submarine was scrapped through the Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program in 1994 in Washington State. The submarine lives on with surviving crew members, however. An official website exists for the vessel, with a planned reunion taking place in Mobile, Ala., in October.
The asking price for the commemorative postal cover is $6, with free shipping. The auction ends at about 10:57 a.m. EST on Tuesday.