USS Von Steuben (SSBN-632) on 15 May 1985.
|Namesake:||Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben (1730–1794), a Prussian army officer who served in the American Revolutionary War|
|Ordered:||20 July 1961|
|Builder:||Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company|
|Laid down:||4 September 1962|
|Launched:||18 October 1963|
|Sponsored by:||Mrs. Fred Korth|
|Commissioned:||30 September 1964|
|Decommissioned:||26 February 1994|
|Struck:||26 February 1994|
|Fate:||Scrapping via Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program begun 1 October 2000, completed 30 October 2001|
|Class and type:||James Madison-class submarine|
|Length:||425 feet (130 m)|
|Beam:||33 ft (10 m)|
|Draft:||32 ft (9.8 m)|
|Installed power:||S5W reactor|
|Propulsion:||2 × geared steam turbines, 15,000 shp (11,185 kW) 1 shaft|
|Speed:||Over 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)|
|Test depth:||1,300 feet (400 m)|
|Complement:||Two crews (Blue and Gold) of 13 officers and 130 enlisted men each|
USS Von Steuben (SSBN-632), a James Madison-class fleet ballistic missile submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben (1730–1794), a Prussian army officer who served in the American Revolutionary War.
The James Madison class of submarine was an evolutionary development from the Lafayette class of fleet ballistic missile submarine. They were identical to the Lafayettes except for being initially designed to carry the Polaris A-3 missile instead of the earlier A-2. This class, together with the George Washington, Ethan Allen, Lafayette, and Benjamin Franklin classes, composed the "41 for Freedom" that was the Navy's primary contribution to the nuclear deterrent force through the late 1980s. This class and the Benjamin Franklin class are combined with the Lafayettes in some references.
The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force.
Baron is a rank of nobility or title of honour, often hereditary. The female equivalent is baroness.
The contract to build Von Steuben was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, Virginia, on 20 July 1961 and her keel was laid down there on 4 September 1962. She was launched on 18 October 1963, sponsored by Mrs. Fred Korth, and commissioned on 30 September 1964, with Commander John P. Wise in command of the Blue Crew and Commander Jeffrey C. Metzel in command of the Gold Crew.
Newport News is an independent city in the U.S. state of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 180,719. In 2013, the population was estimated to be 183,412, making it the fifth-most populous city in Virginia.
Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" due to its status as the first English colonial possession established in mainland North America and "Mother of Presidents" because eight U.S. presidents were born there, more than any other state. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most populous city, and Fairfax County is the most populous political subdivision. The Commonwealth's estimated population as of 2018 is over 8.5 million.
Ship commissioning is the act or ceremony of placing a ship in active service, and may be regarded as a particular application of the general concepts and practices of project commissioning. The term is most commonly applied to the placing of a warship in active duty with its country's military forces. The ceremonies involved are often rooted in centuries old naval tradition.
During the autumn of 1964, the Von Steuben completed two shakedown cruises — one for each crew — and a period of antisubmarine warfare training between the two cruises. On 22 December 1964, her Gold Crew fired her first Polaris ballistic missile on the Atlantic Missile Range before returning to Newport News for Christmas. She changed crews again at the beginning of 1965, and returned to the missile range off Cape Kennedy, Florida, where the Blue Crew fired its first Polaris missile. In February 1965, after completing all initial training operations, she returned to Newport News.
A shakedown is a period of testing or a trial journey undergone by a ship, aircraft or other craft and its crew before being declared operational. Statistically, a proportion of the components will fail after a relatively short period of use, and those that survive this period can be expected to last for a much longer, and more importantly, predictable life-span. For example, if a bolt has a hidden flaw introduced during manufacturing, it will not be as reliable as other bolts of the same type.
The Eastern Range (ER) is an American rocket range that supports missile and rocket launches from the two major launch heads located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida. The range has also supported Ariane launches from the Guiana Space Centre as well as launches from the Wallops Flight Facility and other lead ranges. The range also uses instrumentation operated by NASA at Wallops and KSC.
Christmas is an annual festival, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night; in some traditions, Christmastide includes an octave. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world's nations, is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and forms an integral part of the holiday season centered around it.
In March 1965, Von Steuben headed for her first duty assignment. She joined Submarine Squadron 18 at Charleston, South Carolina, her new base of operations, and immediately began conducting strategic deterrent patrols.
Charleston is the oldest and largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina, the county seat of Charleston County, and the principal city in the Charleston–North Charleston–Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city lies just south of the geographical midpoint of South Carolina's coastline and is located on Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean formed by the confluence of the Ashley, Cooper, and Wando rivers. Charleston had an estimated population of 134,875 in 2017. The estimated population of the Charleston metropolitan area, comprising Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties, was 761,155 residents in 2016, the third-largest in the state and the 78th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States.
South Carolina is a state in the Southeastern United States and the easternmost of the Deep South. It is bordered to the north by North Carolina, to the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the southwest by Georgia across the Savannah River.
At the end of her 11th deterrent patrol early in 1968, Von Steuben was reassigned to Submarine Squadron 16 and operated out of Rota, Spain, until the middle of 1969.
Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.
On August 9, 1968, while operating submerged about 40 miles (64 kilometers) off the southern coast of Spain, Von Steuben was struck by a submerged tow cable connecting a tug and a merchant tanker called Sealady (Sealady was a liberty ship previously named Bengt H. Larson (1959) and before that was named Alan Seeger (1954)). Due to the merchant being under tow at the time of the collision, the ship had no engine noise for the submarine to detect its presence. When it became apparent the submarine had lost depth control and steering, but not knowing why, the submarine conducted an emergency main ballast tank blow, which resulted in the collision of the submarine and the towed ship. The submarine suffered external damage to the sail and superstructure. After local repairs at the submarine squadron facilities in Rota, she reported to Groton, Connecticut, for more detailed repairs at the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation, after which she resumed deterrent patrols out of Rota.
Liberty ships were a class of cargo ship built in the United States during World War II. Though British in concept, the design was adapted by the United States for its simple, low-cost construction. Mass-produced on an unprecedented scale, the Liberty ship came to symbolize U.S. wartime industrial output.
Groton is a town in New London County, Connecticut located on the Thames River. It is the home of General Dynamics Electric Boat, which is the major contractor for submarine work for the United States Navy. The Naval Submarine Base New London is located in Groton, and the pharmaceutical company Pfizer is also a major employer. Avery Point in Groton is home to a regional campus of the University of Connecticut. The population was 40,115 at the 2010 census.
Connecticut is the southernmost state in the New England region of the United States. As of the 2010 Census, it has the highest per-capita income, Human Development Index (0.962), and median household income in the United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, New York to the west, and Long Island Sound to the south. Its capital is Hartford and its most populous city is Bridgeport. It is part of New England, although portions of it are often grouped with New York and New Jersey as the Tri-state area. The state is named for the Connecticut River which approximately bisects the state. The word "Connecticut" is derived from various anglicized spellings of an Algonquian word for "long tidal river".
This incident was revisited, when USS Greeneville, on 9 February 2001, also conducted an emergency main ballast tank blow off the coast of Oahu while hosting several civilians. Greeneville struck the 191-foot (58 m) Japanese fishery high school training ship Ehime Maru (えひめ丸), causing the fishing boat to sink in less than ten minutes with the death of nine crew members, including four high school students. Von Steuben had conducted an emergency main ballast tank blow due to its planes tangled in the submerged towline of the tug, jamming them so that the sub threatened to sink. Greenville blew her main ballast tanks merely to demonstrate a maneuver and not to escape from danger. Her captain consciously surrendered control of the vessel. The captain of Von Steuben had acted properly in ordering the emergency blow. He had lost control of his ship, his stern planes were jammed, and the possibility of an irreversible plunge to the bottom of the ocean was very real. However, Greenville's captain had to face a court of inquiry and possibly a full court-martial, until his request to retire was approved.
In November 1970, Von Steuben visited Groton once again, this time near the end of a 16-month overhaul during which she was modified to carry the newly developed Poseidon C-3 ballistic missile, which boasted major advances in warhead technology and accuracy and systematically was replacing the older Polaris missiles in the Lafayette, James Madison and Benjamin Franklin-class submarines. Von Steuben conducted post-conversion shakedown during the early months of 1971 and, while escorted by the destroyer USS William C. Lawe (DD-763) for range security, conducted a two-missile Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) in which she fired her first and second Poseidon missiles in February and March 1971, respectively.
In May 1971, she returned to Charleston and resumed strategic deterrent patrols carrying the newer Poseidon missiles. She conducted an Extended Refit Period at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard between March 1978 and May 1978.
Von Steuben's ballistic missile system was upgraded a second time in the early 1980s to use Trident I (C4) ballistic missiles. These missiles were also retrofitted to 11 other SSBNs of the James Madison and Benjamin Franklin classes, replacing their Poseidon missiles, and also were the first missiles carried by the early Ohio-class submarines. Trident missiles were three-stage missiles that provided for increased range along with advances in inertial guidance systems. Von Steuben continued making strategic deterrent patrols into the early 1990s with the Trident I missile.
Von Steuben was decommissioned on 26 February 1994 and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register simultaneously. Her scrapping via the Nuclear-Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at Bremerton, Washington, began on 1 October 2000 and was completed on 30 October 2001. Von Steuben's age from delivery to disposal was 37.2 years.
USS Patrick Henry (SSBN-599), named after the American Revolutionary War figure Patrick Henry (1736–1799), was a George Washington class nuclear-powered fleet ballistic missile submarine of the United States Navy. She was later converted into an attack submarine and redesignated SSN-599.
USS Lafayette (SSBN-616), the lead ship of her class of ballistic missile submarine, was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named to honor Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, a French military hero who fought alongside and significantly aided the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.
USS John Marshall (SSBN-611) was an Ethan Allen-class submarine, the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for John Marshall (1755–1835), the fourth Chief Justice of the United States. Originally a fleet ballistic missile submarine designated SSBN-611, she later was reclassified as an attack submarine and re-designated SSN-611.
USS Will Rogers (SSBN-659) was a Benjamin Franklin-class ballistic missile submarine — the last of the "41 for Freedom" Polaris submarines. She was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for humorist Will Rogers (1879–1935).
USS Simon Bolivar (SSBN-641), a Benjamin Franklin class fleet ballistic missile submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Simón Bolívar (1783–1830), a hero of the independence movements of the former Spanish colonies in South America.
USS Lewis and Clark (SSBN-644), a Benjamin Franklin class ballistic missile submarine, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the explorers Meriwether Lewis (1774–1809) and William Clark (1770–1838), who carried out the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804–06.
USS George Washington Carver (SSBN-656), a Benjamin Franklin class fleet ballistic missile submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for George Washington Carver (1865–1943), an American researcher and inventor.
USS Thomas Jefferson (SSBN-618), an Ethan Allen class nuclear-powered submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), the third President of the United States (1801–1809). She later was reclassified as an attack submarine and redesignated SSN-618.
USS Nathanael Greene (SSBN-636), a James Madison-class fleet ballistic missile submarine, was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for Major General Nathanael Greene (1746–1782), who served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.
USS James K. Polk (SSBN-645), a Benjamin Franklin class fleet ballistic missile submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for James K. Polk (1795–1849), the eleventh President of the United States (1845–1849). She was later converted into an attack submarine and redesignated SSN-645.
USS Alabama (SSBN-731) is the sixth Ohio-class nuclear-powered fleet ballistic missile submarine, and the seventh United States ship to be named for the state of Alabama. The ship's motto duplicates the state's motto, Audemus Jura Nostra Defendere.
USS James Monroe (SSBN-622), a Lafayette-class ballistic missile submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for James Monroe. She served with the United States Navy from 1963 to 1990.
USS Woodrow Wilson (SSBN-624), a Lafayette class ballistic missile submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924), the 28th President of the United States (1913–1921). She later was converted into an attack submarine and redesignated SSN-624.
USS Henry Clay (SSBN-625), a Lafayette class ballistic missile submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Henry Clay (1777–1852), the American statesman and orator.
USS Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657), a Benjamin Franklin-class ballistic missile submarine, was the only submarine of the United States Navy to be named for Francis Scott Key (1779–1843), an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet who wrote the poem "The Defense of Fort McHenry", which became the words to the United States' national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner". During WW 2 there was a liberty ship USS Francis Scott Key 0016
USS James Madison (SSBN-627), the lead ship of her class of ballistic missile submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for James Madison (1751–1836), the fourth President of the United States (1809–1817).
USS Tecumseh (SSBN-628), a James Madison-class ballistic missile submarine, was the fourth ship of the United States Navy to be named for Tecumseh (c.1768–1813), the leader of the Shawnee people.
USS Ulysses S. Grant (SSBN-631), a James Madison-class fleet ballistic missile submarine, was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885), American Civil War general and the 18th President of the United States (1869-1877).
USS Sam Rayburn (SSBN-635) was a James Madison-class fleet ballistic missile submarine named for Sam Rayburn (1882–1961), Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Sam Rayburn was in commission 2 December 1964 to 31 July 1989 carrying the Polaris missile and later the Poseidon missile. Following decommissioning, ex-Sam Rayburn was converted into a moored training ship for use at the Naval Nuclear Prototype Training Unit at Goose Creek, South Carolina.
USS Stonewall Jackson (SSBN-634), a James Madison-class fleet ballistic missile submarine, was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for Confederate States Army General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson (1824–1863).