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USS Henry L. Stimson (SSBN-655)

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Title: USS Henry L. Stimson (SSBN-655)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Benjamin Franklin-class submarine, Benjamin Franklin-class submarines, Charles J. Leidig, USS Simon Bolivar (SSBN-641), USS James K. Polk (SSBN-645)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

USS Henry L. Stimson (SSBN-655)

USS Henry L. Stimson (SSBN-655) underway, 12 July 1984.
USS Henry L. Stimson (SSBN-655) on 12 July 1984.
Name: USS Henry L. Stimson
Namesake: Henry L. Stimson (1867–1950), U.S. Secretary of State (1929-1933) and U.S. Secretary of War (1911-1913, 1940-1945)
Awarded: 29 July 1963
Builder: General Dynamics Electric Boat, Groton, Connecticut
Laid down: 4 April 1964
Launched: 13 November 1965
Sponsored by: Grace Murphy Dodd
Commissioned: 20 August 1966
Decommissioned: 5 May 1993
Struck: 5 May 1993
Fate: Scrapping via Ship and Submarine Recycling Program completed 12 August 1994
General characteristics
Class & type: Benjamin Franklin class nuclear-powered fleet ballistic missile submarine
  • 7,250 tons surfaced
  • 8,250 tons submerged
Length: 425 feet (130 m)
Beam: 33 feet (10 m)
Draft: 31.5 feet (9.6 m)
Installed power: 15,000 shp (11,185 kW)
Propulsion: One S5W pressurized-water nuclear reactor, two geared steam turbines, one shaft
Speed: 16–20 knots surfaced, 22–25 knots submerged
Test depth: 1,300 feet (400 m)
Complement: Two crews (Blue Crew and Gold Crew) of 13 officers and 130 enlisted men each

USS Henry L. Stimson (SSBN-655), a Benjamin Franklin class fleet ballistic missile submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Henry L. Stimson (1867–1950), who served as U.S. Secretary of State (1929–1933) and U.S. Secretary of War (1911–1913, 1940–1945).


  • Construction and commissioning 1
  • Service history 2
  • Decommissioning and disposal 3
  • References 4

Construction and commissioning

The contract for the construction of Henry L. Stimson was awarded on 29 July 1963, and her keel was laid down on 4 April 1964 by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 13 November 1965, sponsored by Grace Murphy Dodd, wife of United States Senator Thomas J. Dodd, and commissioned on 20 August 1966 with Captain Richard E. Jortberg commanding the Blue Crew and Commander Robert H. Weeks commanding the Gold Crew.

Service history

Following shakedown, Henry L. Stimson was assigned to Submarine Squadron 16 at Charleston, South Carolina. On 23 February 1967 she put to sea from Charleston on her first strategic deterrent patrol, armed with Polaris A3 ballistic missiles. By mid-1967, her Blue and Gold crews had each completed one deterrent patrol. Ballistic Missile Submarines were manned by two separate crews, designated Blue and Gold. While one crew was physically aboard the ship, the other crew had one month of R&R and then almost 2 months of training. At the end of a patrol, usually lasting approximately 75 days and usually spent entirely submerged, the ship returned to port and was met by the opposite crew. A week was spent in turnover and then the crews would trade places. After another 3 weeks of refitting and repairs, the ship would go on patrol and the cycle would continue.

From 1973 until the Trident Missile conversion in 1980, she continued to operate out of Rota, Spain with one visit back to Charleston in 1978(?) to replace the battery bank.

Decommissioning and disposal

Henry L. Stimson was both decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 5 May 1993. Her scrapping via the U.S. Navy‍ '​s Nuclear-Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at Bremerton, Washington, was completed on 12 August 1994.


  • NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive Henry L. Stimson (SSBN-655), retrieved 26 September 2011 
  • USS Henry L. Stimson, retrieved 26 September 2011 

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