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USS Ethan Allen (SSBN-608)

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Awarded:17 July 1958
Laid down:14 September 1959
Launched:22 November 1960
Commissioned:8 August 1961
Fate:submarine recycling
Stricken:2 April 1983
General Characteristics
Displacement:6400 tons
Length:410 feet 6 inches
Beam:33 feet
Draft:27 feet 5 inches
Powerplant:S5W reactor
Complement:112 officers and men
Armament:16 fleet ballistic missiles, four 21-inch torpedo tubes
USS Ethan Allen (SSBN-608), lead ship of her class, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for Ethan Allen. Her keel was laid down by the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 22 November 1960 sponsored by Mrs. Robert H. Hopkins, great-great-great-granddaughter of Ethan Allen, and commissioned on 8 August 1961 with Commander Paul L. Lacy, Jr, commanding Blue Crew and Commander W. W. Behrens, Jr., commanding the Gold Crew.

On 6 May 1962, Ethan Allen, under the command of Captain Paul Lacy and with Admiral Levering Smith aboard, launched a nuclear-armed Polaris missile that detonated at 11,000 feet over the South Pacific. That test, part of Operation Frigate-Bird, was the only complete operational test of an American strategic missile. The warhead hit "right in the pickle barrel."

To make room for the new Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines within the limitations of SALT II, Ethan Allen's missile tubes (and those of other earlier ballistic missile submarines) were disabled and she was redesignated an attack submarine with hull classification symbol SSN-608 on 1 September 1980.

Ethan Allen was decommissioned on 31 March 1983 and stricken from the Naval Vessel Registry two days later. The hulk was tied up in Bremerton, Washington, until entering the Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program.

See USS Ethan Allen for other ships of the same name.


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