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This Is The U.S. Navy’s Most Decorated Ship – And There’s A Good Reason Why You’ve Never Heard Of It

June 1968

In June 1968, the United States Navy ordered a special submarine to be built. When it was completed, it was christened the USS Parche (SSN-683), and it was launched in January 1973. While it was launched in 1973 for the first time, it wasn’t until 18 months later that it was used for active service in the Navy. From then on, the ship was invaluable.

Three Decades

Throughout the three decades that the USS Parche was involved in naval operations, it is said that it never fired its weapon once. Even though the weapon was never used, it was essential in protecting the interests of America. Even after the Cold War, it was still essential.


In October 2004, the vessel had served its time in the Navy and was retired from active service. Nine months after it was retired, its name was taken off the register of American vessels in the Navy. By the time it was retired, it was one of the highest decorated vessels in the United States naval history. You just may not know about it.


Over the years, naval ships in the United States changed a lot. Over the years, the U.S. learned a lot about the strengths and weaknesses of the ships. During each war, they learned more and more about what was working and what wasn’t.

The 1960’s

In the early 60s, the United States Navy began building Sturgeon-class submarines. This new generation of ships was nuclear-powered. Their primary job was to attack the enemy ships. The first of its kind was entered into service in 1967. These submarines could reach a maximum speed of 26 knots, which is just under 30 miles per hour. The subs were armed with Harpoon and Tomahawk missiles. The subs were also designed with torpedo tubes in the middle of each vessel. During the Cold War, there were a number of Sturgeon class ships. The USS Sturgeon, the USS Tautog, and the USS Pargo hame just a few. There was one ship in particular that earned more honors than most for its service, the USS Parche.

The USS Parche

The USS Parche first launched in 1973. It got its name from a butterfly fish that is often found around coral reefs. Each ship christened was given a sponsor who was often a woman of society. This was said to provide the vessels with good luck. The sponsor for the USS Parche was Mrs. Phillip A. Beshany. Richard N. Charles originally commanded the vessel, and it was part of America’s Atlantic Fleet Submarine Force up until 1976. In October 1976, it was reassigned to the Pacific Fleet.

The Pacific Fleet

When the USS Parche joined the Pacific Fleet, it underwent some altercations. Around the same time, the ship disappeared from public view. This is because it was chosen to be part of the National Underwater Reconnaissance Office.

The National Underwater Reconnaissance Office

The National Underwater Reconnaissance Office began operation in 1969 so that the CIA and the U.S. Navy could oversee the underwater surveillance. This was a very secretive branch. Nobody knew that it existed until 1998. Along with the USS Parche, the other ships involved were the USS Seawolf and the USS Halibut. They were there to spy on the Soviets. The ships were outfitted with instruments that allowed them to listen in on enemy communications. This was essential in collecting important information.


When the US found a communication cable in the Soviet-controlled Sea of Okhotsk, they saw an opportunity. It was a great way to listen in on everything that the Soviet navy was doing. When the USS Parche completed its mission in the Sea of Okhotsk, it moved on to other secret missions.

More Changes

Between 1987 and 1991, the USS Parche was out of commission while modifications were performed. This time, they extended the vessel by about 100-feet at the hull. This made room for more crew members and equipment to fit on board. It also allowed the shit to sit at the bottom of a seabed. Finally, in 2004, after 30-years of service, the ship was retired. This Is The U.S. Navy’s Most Decorated Ship – And There’s A Good Reason Why You’ve Never Heard Of It. All of its missions were secret and classified. This ship was involved in hundreds of missions, but we don’t know about most of them. Part of having a successful military is keeping secrets from the enemy. The only way to keep secrets from the enemy is to keep the missions secret from the public as well. Only members of the military with the highest security clearance are able to hear about the secret missions of these vessels.

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