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USS George Washington (SSBN-598)

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Awarded:31 December 1957
Laid down:1 November 1957
Launched:9 June 1959
Commissioned:30 December 1959
Fate:submarine recycling
Stricken:30 April 1986
General Characteristics
Displacement:5959 tons surfaced, 6709 tons submerged
Length:116.3 meters (381.6 feet)
Beam:10 meters (33 feet)
Draft:29 feet
Powerplant:S5W reactor
Speed:16 knots surfaced, 22 knots submerged
Complement:two crews, each of 12 officers and 100 men
Armament:six 21-inch torpedo tubes, 16 Polaris missiles
USS George Washington (SSBN-598) was laid down at Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics, Groton, Connecticut on 1 November 1957. The first ship of her class, she was launched on 9 June 1959 sponsored by Mrs. Robert B. Anderson, and commissioned on 30 December 1959 with Commander James B. Osborn in command of the Blue crew and Commander John L. From, Jr. in command of the Gold crew.

George Washington was originally Scorpion (SSN-589). During construction, she was lengthened by the insertion of a 130-foot missile section and renamed (while another hull under construction at the time became the ill-fated USS Scorpion), but inside the forward escape hatch remained a plaque bearing the name USS Scorpion. Because the missile compartment design would be reused in later ship classes, the section that was inserted into George Washington was designed with a deeper test depth rating than the rest of the boat.

The first of a new class, George Washington sailed from Groton 28 June 1960 for Cape Canaveral, Florida, where she loaded two Polaris missiles. Standing out into the Atlantic Missile Test Range with Rear Admiral W.F. Raborn, head of the Polaris Submarine development program, on board as an observer, she successfully launched the first Polaris missile from a submerged submarine on 20 July 1960. At 1239 George Washington's commanding officer sent President Eisenhower the message: POLARIS - FROM OUT OF THE DEEP TO TARGET. PERFECT. Less than 2 hours later a second missile from the submarine also struck the impact area 1,100 miles down range.

George Washington then embarked her Gold crew, and 30 July 1960 launched two more missiles while submerged. Shakedown for the Gold crew ended at Groton on 30 August and the submarine got underway from that port 28 October for Charleston, South Carolina, to load her full complement of 16 Polaris missiles. There she was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation, after which her Blue crew took over and embarked on her first deterrent patrol.

The submarine completed her first patrol after 66 days of submerged running 21 January 1961 and put in at New London, Connecticut. The Gold crew took over and departed on her next patrol 14 February. After the patrol she entered Holy Loch, Scotland, 25 April 1961. Four years after her initial departure from Groton she put in to refuel, having cruised some 100,000 miles.

George Washington was shifted to the Pacific and was homeported in Pearl Harbor. On 9 April 1981, she collided with the Japanese merchant ship Nissho Maru in the South China Sea. In 1982, she returned to Pearl Harbor from her last missile patrol. In 1983 her missiles were off-loaded in Bangor, Washington, and she left Pearl Harbor for the last time and transitted the Panama Canal back to New London.

On 24 January 1985, George Washington was decommissioned on 24 January 1985, was struck from the Naval Vessel Registry on 30 April 1986, and is scheduled for disposal through the Ship-Submarine recycling program at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Her sail was removed prior to disposal and now resides at the Submarine Force Library and Museum, New London, Connecticut. The "Georgefish" made 55 deterrence patrols in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans in her 25-year career.