USS George Washington (SSBN-598)

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The George Washington on the surface of the water
The George Washington on the surface of the water
Order December 31, 1957
Keel laying November 1, 1958
Launch June 9, 1959
1. Period of service flag
Commissioning December 30, 1959
Decommissioning January 24, 1985
Whereabouts Disassembled
Technical specifications

6800 ts submerged


116.3 m


10.1 m


8.8 meters


12 officers, 128 sailors


S5W pressurized water reactor, 15,000  SHP


20 knots


16 Polaris ballistic missiles , 6 torpedo tubes

The USS George Washington (SSBN-598 / SSN-598) was the United States Navy 's first ballistic missile (SSBN) submarine and the world's first nuclear-powered missile submarine . She was the lead ship of the George Washington class of missile submarines.


Section through the George Washington

Planning and construction

The George Washington was the end of 1957 at Electric Boat ordered and on the shipyard in Groton , Connecticut on keel laid. The launch took place in 1959, the boat was christened by Mrs. Robert B. Anderson after George Washington . On December 30, 1959, the George Washington was put into service with the US Navy.

Originally, the hull was not supposed to be a missile, but a hunting submarine . The 130-foot (approx. 40-meter) long missile section was only integrated into the fuselage during construction. For this reason, this section had a greater diving depth approval than the rest of the boat. Before being reclassified as SSBN, the boat was to be given the name and hull number of the later sunk USS Scorpion (SSN-589) .


On June 28, 1960, the George Washington left their home base, Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, and drove to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station , where they took two Polaris A1 submarine ballistic missiles (SLBM) on board . With these she drove to the Atlantic Missile Test Range . On July 20, she successfully fired the two missiles into a missile test area about 1,100 miles away. After the first kill, the submarine sent a message to the then US President Dwight D. Eisenhower . It read: GEORGE WASHINGTON SENDS POLARIS FROM OUT OF THE DEEP TO TARGET. PERFECT. (German: George Washington sends Polaris from the depths to the target. Perfect. ). Two hours later, the second launch followed. After switching to the second crew, two more test kills took place ten days later.

On October 28, 1960, the Washington received its 16 armed SLBMs at Naval Weapons Station in Charleston , South Carolina , with which it went on patrol. This lasted 66 days and ended on January 21, 1961. The second crew went on board and began their first patrol on February 14, which lasted until April 25 and ended at the base in Holy Loch , Scotland . After four years of routine patrol work and about 100,000 nautical miles driven, the reactor was first refilled with nuclear fuel.

The George Washington later moved her home port from the Atlantic to the Pacific and was stationed in Pearl Harbor , Hawaii . There was a major accident there on April 9, 1981, when the boat was sailing in the East China Sea about 110 miles south-southwest of Sasebo , Japan . During bad weather, the Washington appeared about 20 miles outside the Japanese 12-mile zone directly below the Japanese freighter Nissho Maru . The hull of the freighter ripped open and the ship sank, killing two of the 15 crew members. The Washington suffered only minor damage to the tower .

The incident strained relations between Japan and the United States, as neither the submarine nor a Lockheed P3-C Orion of the Navy did not participate in the rescue of the crew and Japanese authorities only took part more than 24 hours after the accident have been notified. A few days after the incident, the US Navy said that Washington had carried out emergency surfacing exercises and that the Nissho Maru had not been able to see the Nissho Maru due to the bad weather. On April 11, US President Ronald Reagan officially apologized to Japan and offered compensation payments. The final report, dated August 31, stated that the submarine's crew had located a ship, but neither they nor the Orion's crew had noticed that it was in distress. The commander and the deck officer were released from their command and reprimanded.

In 1982 the George Washington finished its 55th and final patrol, the following year its missiles were dismantled at Naval Base Kitsap in Bangor , Washington , and the launch tubes were disabled. The submarine then drove through the Panama Canal back to its first home base in New London, where it was reclassified as the USS George Washington (SSN-598) , i.e. as a hunting submarine. This was done as part of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks , as the Navy wanted to use the allowed tonnage for the more modern Ohio-class SSBN . In the years that followed, Washington mostly carried out exercises in its new role.

On January 24, 1985, the submarine was decommissioned and officially deleted from the ship register on April 30, 1986. The ship is currently awaiting dismantling as part of the Ship-Submarine Recycling Program at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton , Washington . The submarine's tower has already been removed from the hull and is on display at the entrance to the Submarine Force Library and Museum in New London.

Single receipts

  1. According to a copy of the report of the Captains (Engl.)

Web links

Commons : USS George Washington (SSBN-598)  - Collection of pictures, videos, and audio files