The USS George Washington (SSBN-598):Ballistic Missile Class Submarine

Essay by Lt.RamzaHigh School, 12th grade May 2005

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The USS George Washington (SSBN-598) was the lead ship of her class, and the first American ballistic missile submarine. The history of how this submarine came to be is quite interesting as it was originally intended to be a fast attack sub called a Skipjack. President Dwight Eisenhower signed for three ballistic missile submarines, and so the Scorpion (SSN-589) Skipjack was reconstructed by placing a 130 foot missile compartment in the middle (between the control navigation room, and the nuclear reactor compartment) and redoing the hull. From then on, it was dubbed the USS George Washington (the 2nd ship in the US to be named after our first president).

Her keel was laid down by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics in Groton, Connecticut in 1957. The sub has a length of about 382 feet and is driven by a S5W nuclear reactor. It weighs approximately 5959 tons surfaced, and 6709 tons submerged.

It is crewed of 12 officers and 100 men, and its armaments consist of six 21-inch torpedo tubes and 16 Polaris missiles (submarine launched ballistic missiles). Her first mission was a missile test in 1960 in which, standing out in the Atlantic, successfully launched the first Polaris missile from a submerged submarine and in a message from the commanding officer to President Eisenhower "POLARIS - FROM OUT OF THE DEEP TO TARGET. PERFECT."

It launched three more test missiles before loading up her full complement of 16 Polaris Missiles, after which the ship was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation and she embarked on her first deterrent patrol. She completed patrols regularly until in 1980 SALT talks imposed limitations, and the missiles were removed, and ship was reclassified as an attack submarine. In 1981 she was shifted to the Pacific

In the Pacific however, the sub...