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Owens, Robert L.



  • Existence: June 3, 1924 - April 8, 2017


Robert L. Owens, from Sanger, California, served aboard the submarine USS Growler (SSG-577), first as executive officer, then as commanding officer, from February 1960 to December 13, 1963. Owens began his submarine service during WWII aboard the USS Tinosa. After the war, he pursued his education, and then returned to the Navy, this time in the reserves. Owens became involved in the Regulus Program, switched from the reserves to regular Navy, and eventually joined Growler. After decommissioning Growler at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Owens continued his naval career, returning to COMSUBPAC Staff as the Polaris Targeting Officer, commanding the fast attack boat Sea Leopard, and joining CINCLANT as part of the team that would send the go-message to the Polaris boats. He was then the Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations for SubFlot 6, received orders to the Pentagon for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he was the Submarine Officer attached to the Chairman’s SALT negotiation team, and ended his 28 years in the submarine service as the 688 Project Officer. After his career in the submarine service, Robert Owens returned to Sanger, California, where he ran his family’s plumbing business.
Start of Military Service (WWII)
End of Military Service (WWII)
Start of Military Service
February 1960
Start of Service Aboard Growler
December 13, 1963
End of Service Aboard Growler
End of Military Service

Found in 8 Collections and/or Records:

Allen Odette Oral History

Identifier: OHP 111
Scope and Contents Allen Odette served aboard Growler from August 1961 to December 1963, as a fire control technician (missile guidance systems) second class. Odette began his interview by speaking about his decision to join the Navy. He noted that he first went into the reserves in Illinois before joining the regular Navy after moving to California. He also discussed his experiences in boot camp as well as his decision to apply for the submarine service after receiving a tour of a submarine from a friend of a...

Duane F. Heatwole Oral History

Identifier: OHP 057
Scope and Contents Duane F. Heatwole served aboard Growler as a commissaryman petty officer second class from 1960 to 1964. Heatwole began his interview by discussing Growler’s galley. He also described how he acquired different types of food, how this food was loaded into the boat, and how the food was stored. Heatwole then discussed some of the meals that he prepared for the crew, including filet mignon, lobster, and crab legs from Alaska. He then continued, describing a process called snorkeling, which...

John "Andy" Anderson Oral History

Identifier: OHP 112
Scope and Contents John “Andy” Anderson served aboard Growler from August 1961 to May 1963, as a fire control technician (missile guidance systems) third class and was the torpedo fire controlman aboard Growler. Anderson began his interview by stating that his father served aboard German submarines during World War I, which influenced his decision to join the Navy and serve aboard submarines. He then briefly discussed his childhood before explaining why he joined the Navy. Anderson continued, describing his...

Robert L. Owens Oral History (First Interview)

Identifier: OHP 059
Scope and Contents Robert L. Owens served aboard Growler, first as executive officer, then as commanding officer, from February 1960 to December 13, 1963. Owens began his interview by stating where he was born and raised and discussing his service in WWII. Owens explained that after boot camp and electrical school, he rode Intrepid from Alameda to Pearl Harbor, where he served aboard the submarine tender USS Bushnell. He then went aboard the USS Tinosa and made seven war patrols. After providing additional...