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USS Abraham Lincoln (SSBN-602)

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Awarded:30 July 1958
Laid down:1 November 1958
Launched:14 May 1960
Commissioned:11 March 1961
Fate:submarine recycling
Stricken:1 December 1982
General Characteristics
Displacement:5959 tons surfaced, 6709 tons submerged
Length:381.6 feet
Beam:33 feet
Powerplant:S5W reactor
Speed:16 knots surfaced, 22 knots submerged
Depth:700 feet
Complement:12 officers, 100 men, each in 2 crews
Armament:16 Polaris missile tubes, six 21-inch torpedo tubes
USS Abraham Lincoln (SSBN-602), a George Washington-class submarine, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the 16th President of the United States. Her keel was laid down by the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard of Kittery, Maine, on 1 November 1958. She was launched on 14 May 1960 sponsored by Mrs. Mary L. Beckwith, and commissioned on 8 March 1961 with Commander Leonard Erb commanding the Blue Crew and Commander Donald M. Miller commanding the Gold Crew.

Abraham Lincoln got underway on 20 March 1961 for shakedown and weapons testing at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and returned to Portsmouth on 1 June for post-shakedown availability. She left Portsmouth on 17 July to return briefly to the Cape for further testing and then proceeded to Charleston, South Carolina, for a final loadout. Abraham Lincoln subsequently got underway on 28 August as a unit of SubRon 14. She arrived at Holy Loch, Scotland, in October. The submarine underwent a refit alongside USS Proteus (AS-19) during November and, upon its completion, commenced her first deterrent patrol.

Abraham Lincoln operated out of Holy Loch for the next four years. She alternated periods of upkeep at Holy Loch alongside Proteus or USS Hunley (AS-31) with deterrent patrols from that port. A highlight of this period occurred during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. The submarine was in the middle of a scheduled four-week upkeep period when she received orders to deploy. Abraham Lincoln departed in short order and successfully carried out a 65-day patrol. On 13 October 1965, Abraham Lincoln arrived at Groton, Connecticut and entered the Electric Boat yard located there on 25 October to begin an overhaul and refueling.

This work was completed on 3 June 1967 and the submarine returned to her base at Holy Loch and resumed her schedule of deterrent patrols. She continued the pattern of alternating patrols with periods of upkeep alongside either USS Simon Lake (AS-33) or USS Canopus (AS-34) through 1972. In early March of that year, Abraham Lincoln sailed for the United States and arrived at the Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut, on 25 April. she held two dependent' cruises before getting underway on 19 May for the West Coast to join the Pacific Fleet. Abraham Lincoln made a brief visit to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, transited the Panama Canal on 1 June, sailed to Bangor, Washington, to offload her missiles, then pushed on to San Francisco, California. On 25 June, Abraham Lincoln entered the Mare Island Naval Shipyard at Vallejo, California to commence overhaul and refueling.

The extensive overhaul was completed in December 1973. After shakedown in the areas around Puget Sound and San Diego, California Abraham Lincoln transited the Panama Canal on 1 June 1974. She held tests and local operations at Cape Kennedy and Charleston, South Carolina. The submarine retransited the Canal on 26 July and sailed for her new home port, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where she arrived on 10 September. The submarine continued on to her advanced base at Guam, arriving on 18 October. She then began deterrent patrols from that island in the Mariana Islands. During the next four years, the warship carried out deterrent patrols from Guam. She also participated in numerous tests and exercises. In 1977, Abraham Lincoln became the first ballistic missile submarine to have conducted 50 strategic deterrent patrols.

Abraham Lincoln completed her last patrol in October 1979 and arrived at Bangor, Washington, on 30 October to commence offloading her missiles before beginning inactivation overhaul. Preparations for her retirement continued through 1980 and into 1981. Abraham Lincoln was decommissioned on 28 February 1981 and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 December 1982. She was disposed of through the Ship and Submarine Recycling Program on 10 May 1994 at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

See USS Abraham Lincoln for other ships of the same name.


This article includes information collected from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.