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USS Simon Bolivar (SSBN-641)

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Awarded:1 November 1962
Laid down:17 April 1963
Launched:22 August 1964
Commissioned:29 October 1965
Fate:submarine recycling
Stricken:24 February 1995
General Characteristics
Displacement:6494 tons
Length:129.5 meters (425 feet)
Beam:10 meters (33 feet)
Draft:9.6 meters (32 feet)
Powerplant:S5W reactor
Speed:16 knots surfaced, 21 knots submerged
Depth:1300 feet
Complement:two crews of 14 officers and 126 enlisted men each
Armament:16 missile tubes, four 21-inch torpedo tubes
USS Simon Bolivar (SSBN-641), a Benjamin Franklin-class submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Simón Bolívar, the founder of Bolivia. Her keel was laid down on 17 April 1963 by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company of Newport News, Virginia. She was launched on 22 August 1964 sponsored by Mrs. Thomas C. Mann, and commissioned on 29 October 1965 with Commander Charles H. Griffiths commanding the Blue Crew and Commander Charles A. Orem commanding the Gold.

In late December 1965 and most of January 1966, the submarine underwent demonstration and shakedown operations. The Gold Crew successfully fired an A-3 Polaris missile off the coast of Cape Kennedy on 17 January, and the Blue Crew completed a successful missile firing two weeks later. In February, the Gold Crew continued shakedown operations in the Caribbean Sea. The following month, her home port was changed to Charleston, South Carolina, and minor deficiencies were corrected during a yard availability period. Beginning in April, the Blue Crew prepared for and conducted the first and third regular Polaris patrols. The Gold Crew meanwhile entered the training period and later conducted the second patrol, finishing the year in a training status. Simon Bolivar completed her third deterrent patrol in January 1967, operating as a unit of Submarine Squadron (SubRon) 18.

This routine continued until 7 February 1971 when the submarine returned to Newport News, Virginia, for overhaul and conversion of her weapons system to Poseidon missiles.

Simon Bolivar departed Newport News on 12 May 1972 for post-overhaul shakedown operations and refresher training for the two crews which lasted until 16 September. The end of 1972 found the submarine back on patrol.

In October 1974 Simon Bolivar returned to Charleston, South Carolina, and SubRon18. The ship was awarded the Battle "E" for fiscal 1974 and also awarded the Providence Plantation Award for most outstanding fleet ballistic missile submarine in the Atlantic fleet. Simon Bolivar was also awarded the Battle "E" for 1975 and 1976. In February 1979, following her 40th patrol, Simon Bolivar entered Portsmouth Naval Shipyard of Kittery, Maine, for overhaul and conversion to C-4 Trident missiles. Upon completion of overhaul she returned to her homeport of Charleston in January of 1981. She continued to make patrols while being refit from Kings Bay, Georgia, and was awarded the Battle "E" for fiscal 1982. She successfully launched a test Trident missile in the summer of 1983.

Deactivated while still in commission in September 1994, Simon Bolivar was both decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 8 February 1995. She entered the Navy's Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program in Bremerton, Washington, on 1 October 1994 on 1 December 1995 ceased to exist.


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