The SUBRON SIX SMOKE BOAT SISTERS (SSSBS) comprises 27 diesel submarines that spent as few as 1 and as many as 23 years attached to Submarine Squadron Six - Norfolk, Virginia. We were all familiar with Pier 22, Bells Bar and Naval Tailors, the Orion (and later L.Y. Spear) and the Kittiwake.
SUBRON SIX originally formed from the old SUBRON SIXTEEN which operated out of Panama and had many returning WWII boats assigned to it while in Panama. However, in 1949 the squadron changed its base to Norfolk and is still very active today - but with a nuclear squadron. The last diesel submarine was decommissioned in Norfolk on June 1, 1972 - the USS Sirago (SS485). In 1973 the only midget submarine (experimental and research vessel) attached to the squadron was decommissioned - the USS X1 (X1). The decommissioning of these two last boats marked the end of the diesel era at Pier 22. In fact, there is no more Pier 22, no more Bells, Orion, Kittiwake, or even L.Y. Spear.
In the early 1950's SUBRON SIX put together a book called "Periscope Views" and the Squadron and the Nest of Boats at the time (about 15 diesel boats) re-designed their patches and mottos in accordance with their new Cold War "Run Silent Run Deep" missions. The logo above is designed after the very FIRST LOGO for SUBRON SIX used in that book.
In 2003 the USS Sirago (SS485) and the USS Sea Leopard (SS483) joined up for a 2-boat reunion in Virginia Beach and in 2007 those two boats plus the USS Cutlass (SS478) sortied in Mobile, Alabama for a 3-boat "Nest" and officially launched the SSSBS. Later in 2011, these three boats decided to invite ALL diesel boats that were ever in SubRon Six at Pier 22.
The mission of this newly formed SSSBS is to encourage all reunion coordinators for boats listed below to inform their reunion crews of SSSBS Joint Operations and, of course to conduct the Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) Games which will award the best boat with the Squadron "E". Currently, the USS Sirago (SS485) is in possession of the "E" based upon their performance at the 2015 SSSBS Reunion.