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Ship Name and Designation History

This section lists the names and designations that the ship had during its lifetime. The list is in chronological order.

    Sturgeon Class Attack Submarine
    Keel Laid 27 May 1964 - Launched 14 October 1966

  1. USS WHALE SSN-638
    Commissioned 12 October 1968 - Decommissioned 25 June 1996

    Struck from Naval Register 25 June 1996
    Disposed of through NPSSRP 29 September 1997

Naval Covers

This section lists active links to the pages displaying covers associated with the ship. There should be a separate set of pages for each incarnation of the ship (ie, for each entry in the "Ship Name and Designation History" section). Covers should be presented in chronological order (or as best as can be determined).

Since a ship may have many covers, they may be split among many pages so it doesn't take forever for the pages to load. Each page link should be accompanied by a date range for covers on that page.

  1. USS Whale SSN-638 Covers Page 1    (1964-1997)



This section lists examples of the postmarks used by the ship. There should be a separate set of postmarks for each incarnation of the ship (ie, for each entry in the "Ship Name and Designation History" section). Within each set, the postmarks should be listed in order of their classification type. If more than one postmark has the same classification, then they should be further sorted by date of earliest known usage.

A postmark should not be included unless accompanied by a close-up image and/or an image of a cover showing that postmark. Date ranges MUST be based ONLY ON COVERS IN THE MUSEUM and are expected to change as more covers are added.
>>> If you have a better example for any of the postmarks, please feel free to replace the existing example.


Postmark Type
Killer Bar Text

Thumbnail Link
Postmark Image
Thumbnail Link
Cover Image


Machine Cancel

Quincy MA



Double launching with USS Sunfish SSN-649. Cachet by Eugene O. Wright


Other Information

NAMESAKE - An extremely large, aquatic mammal which is fishlike in form, but are true air-breathing, warm-blooded mammals.

The ships sponsor was Mrs. Russell B. Long.

Two ships of the US Navy have borne the name WHALE - USS Whale SS-239 and USS Whale SSN-638.



If you have images or information to add to this page, then either contact the Curator or edit this page yourself and add it. See Editing Ship Pages for detailed information on editing this page.


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