USS Grayback - 574




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A Brief History of the 
USS Grayback

Construction of the USS Grayback (SS-574) was authorized in 1953.  The keel was laid 1 July 1954 Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California and launched 2 July 1954 (Sponsored by Mrs. John J. Moore, widow of the last CO of the first Grayback) and commissioned 7 March 1958. The Grayback was initially designated as attack diesel submarine but conversion to guided missile submarine (SSG-574) capable of firing the Regulus II sea to surface missiles began in 1958.  The Grayback successfully launched it's first Regulus missile in September 1958. On 9 February 1959 Grayback departed Mare Island, CA for her permanent home base and arrived in Pearl Harbor, HI on 7 March 1959.  The Regulus missile program ended in 1964 and the USS Grayback was withdrawn from active service. A second conversion was authorized in 1967 and the conversion began at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard November 1967. The conversion was originally estimated at $15.2 million but actually was $30 million.  She was re-classified from a SSG to LPSS 30 August 1968 (never officially designated APSS). During conversion her sail was extended 10 feet, auxiliary tanks #3 and #4 were added to the forward position of the engine room, the missile chambers were converted to carry 67 embarked troops and SEAL swimmer delivery vehicles (SDV), and a diver's decompression chamber was constructed in the starboard hanger. By adding the auxiliary tanks to the engine room her length was extended 12 feet to an overall length of 334 feet.  The Grayback was decommissioned for the second time on 15 January 1984 at Subic Bay Naval Station in the Republic of the Philippines. After decommissioning, the USS Grayback was given the honor to make it's last and final dive in the South China Sea on 13 April 1986 where the USS Grayback remains today on eternal patrol.




Ahoy Shipmates, Family and Friends, We’re having a reunion!

Mike and Arlene Ballinger have done the homework and groundwork and a contract has been signed for the Grand Plaza Hotel and Conference Center Branson, Missouri to serve as our host property Tuesday to Thursday, 2-4 May 2017.

Our schedule of events will be similar to past reunions including a group photo, cribbage tournament, 50/50 drawing. The Grand Plaza’s Ridgeview Room will serve as our hospitality “headquarters” from 3:00 pm Monday, 1 May to 11:30 am, Friday 4 May. There will be an All Hands Breakfast Meeting Wednesday, 3 May and a Dinner Buffet Thursday, 4 May in the hotel’s Sunset Room. Arrange your travel and hotel reservation with these dates in mind.


The Grand Plaza Hotel and Conference Center (245 N Wildwood Dr. Branson, MO 65616) is a full service conference center hotel that offers 200 upscale rooms located in the heart of Branson just off the world famous Highway 76 Country Music Boulevard. The hotel is centrally located to some of Branson's biggest shows and attractions. Tanger Outlet Mall is also within walking distance, and if you stop by the Front Desk during your stay they will give you a voucher to redeem for a free coupon book at the mall. Feast on a hot complimentary breakfast buffet from 6:30-9:30 am to start your day. Enjoy a wealth of amenities which include an indoor pool, spa, fitness center, game room, guest laundry, complimentary wifi and a 24 hour business center. The hotel’s ticket/concierge service can help you with your show reservations, attraction tickets or local transportation needs. The Plaza View Restaurant on the top floor of the hotel offers a variety of fine cuisine and a spectacular view of the Ozark Mountains to the North or the famous 76 Strip to the South. Specialties include succulent, slow-cooked prime rib and delicious hand breaded, cooked fresh to order catfish. If you would like to enjoy a cocktail or your favorite spirit, there is the Pub on the Plaza which is known for a relaxed atmosphere. The Pub also offers a full menu for your dining pleasure that is served until 8pm. After 8pm you can snack on tasty appetizers or homemade pizza right from the kitchen.


To make a room reservation at the Grand Plaza call 1-800-850-6646 and ask for Extension 175 to be connected to Group Sales. Group Sales is available 7am-5pm CST Monday-Friday and 8am-3pm CST Saturday. Mention ‘Grayback Reunion’ to receive the discounted room rate as follows: Standard Room $79 King Mini Suite $99 King Jacuzzi $119 Family Suite $139 Honeymoon Suite $139

Above rates do not include 11.6% tax and are valid 28 April to 8 May. Rates are based on double occupancy. Add $5 for each additional person over two adults per room. There is a 24-hour cancellation period without any penalties and no credit card charges are activated until “check-out”. Check-in time is 3 PM; check-out time 11 AM. A number of rooms have been blocked for us. Make your reservation ASAP. Reservations requested after 1 April will be on a space available basis.


There are a limited number of airlines serving the Branson area regional airports. Springfield-Branson National (SGF) has the largest number of carriers and flights. These are the closest listed on Google Flights

Branson BKG - 7 miles from Branson
Springfield-Branson National SGF - 42 miles from Branson
Harrison - Boone County HRO - 26 miles from Branson
Fayetteville - Northwest Arkansas Regional XNA - 68 miles from Branson
Joplin Regional JLN - 78 miles from Branson

Allegiant Air is a discount carrier that serves Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF) from a limited number of cities. Specifically: St. Pete-Clearwater, FL (PIE), Los Angeles (LAX), Las Vegas (LAS), Phoenix-Mesa (AZA) and Sanford/Daytona Beach/Orlando (SFB). Flights on Allegiant Air are not shown on many of the web travel sites (i.e., Expedia) and must be booked directly through Allegiant’s web site


The Registration Form is provided in the link following this paragraph. The cost is $60/person. This is less than recent reunions due to lower overall costs of hotel services in Branson and because we plan to avail ourselves of the Grand Plaza’s complimentary buffet for our breakfast meeting on 3 May. A reunion t-shirt may also be pre-ordered on the Registration Form for $15/each. Indicate the size and number desired on the form and include the cost in the total payment. A limited number of t-shirts will be available for purchase at the reunion. The deadline for receipt of registration forms is 1 April 2017.

The registration fee will defray the cost of beverages and snacks in the hospitality suite, the dinner buffets, meeting room, audio/visual equipment, name tags and miscellaneous expenses. The registration form will also be used to verify and update information on our Sailing List. In the event you are unable to attend the reunion, we would appreciate completing the first four lines of the form and mailing it to Mike Dimmick to verify information contained on the Sailing List. I will send an All Hands e-mail periodically with a list of those who have registered to attend.



Photos of T-Shirts


Average temperatures in May are daytime high in the low 70’s and an overnight low of 50. The Branson area has a variety of shows, attractions and activities available. Here are some web sites to explore to assist you in building your visit itinerary:

Branson Tourism Center Click on green button in upper right hand corner to view video tutorials for using the site
City of Branson
Explore Branson
Trip Advisor
Dine Branson
Branson Veterans Task Force

Please join your Grayback shipmates and family members in Branson country. Make your room reservation now to secure your spot at a week full of activities, seeing old shipmates, making new acquaintances and new and improved sea stories.

Don’t hesitate to provide me with any suggestions or recommendations to make this reunion our best ever. Pass the word to as many shipmates as you know.

If you have questions or need more information, feel free to phone or e-mail me at (360) 830-9046, Mike Dimmick (702) 810-8056, or Mike Ballinger at (660) 438-6236

Looking forward to seeing you in Branson, Bill


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