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USS Theodore Roosevelt (SSBN-600)

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Awarded:13 March 1958
Laid down:20 May 1958
Launched:3 October 1959
Commissioned:13 February 1961
Fate:submarine recycling
Stricken:1 December 1982
General Characteristics
Displacement:5946 tons surfaced, 6700 tons submerged
Length:382 feet
Beam:33 feet
Draft:29 feet
Powerplant:S5W reactor
Speed:16 knots surfaced, 20+ knots submerged
Complement:139 officers and men
Armament:16 Polaris missiles, six 21-inch torpedo tubes
USS Theodore Roosevelt (SSBN-600), a George Washington-class submarine, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for Theodore Roosevelt. Initially unnamed and assign hull identification symbol SSGN-600, her keel was laid down on 20 May 1958 by the Mare Island Naval Shipyard using components initially assembled for the Skipjack-class nuclear attack submarine Scamp (SSN-588). She was named Theodore Roosevelt and redesignated SSBN-600 on 6 November 1958, launched on 3 October 1959 sponsored by Mrs. Alice Roosevelt Longworth, and commissioned on 13 February 1961 with Commander William E. Sims commanding the Blue Crew and Commander Oliver H. Perry, Jr. commanding the Gold Crew.

Five days after commissioning, Theodore Roosevelt departed Mare Island, California, bound for the east coast. On 7 March, she became the first fleet ballistic missile submarine (FBM) to transit the Panama Canal. Four days later, she arrived at Cape Canaveral, Florida. After successfully firing her first Polaris A1 missile on 20 March and completing her shakedown training, the submarine arrived in Groton, Connecticut, on 1 May for post-shakedown availability at the Electric Boat Company yard. She completed those repairs on 24 June and departed Groton, Connecticut, bound for Charleston, South Carolina. Theodore Roosevelt stopped at Norfolk, Virginia, along the way and arrived at Charleston on 7 July. Between 7 July and 19 July, she loaded Polaris missiles at the Naval Ammunition Depot, Charleston, and made all other preparations for her first deployment. On 19 July, she stood out of Charleston on her first deterrent patrol. She concluded that patrol on 23 September at the fleet ballistic missile sub base at Holy Loch, Scotland.

Over the next three and one-half years, the submarine made 15 more deterrent patrols departing from and returning to the Holy Loch base in each instance. Late in the spring of 1965, she departed Holy Loch on her 17th and final patrol of the deployment. She concluded that patrol and the deployment when she arrived in Charleston on 15 June. She unloaded her 16 Polaris missiles and then departed Charleston for New London, Connecticut, where she arrived on 26 June.

At New London, Theodore Roosevelt entered the yard of the Electric Boat Division for an extensive overhaul. Between July 1965 and January 1967, her nuclear reactor was refueled and her Polaris weapon system was modified to accept the more advanced Polaris A3 missile. The boat completed overhaul on 14 January 1967 and launched into sea trials and refresher training, all of which culminated in the successful firing of a Polaris A3 missile at the Cape Kennedy missile range late in April. At the end of the training period, she returned to Charleston to load missiles and to prepare for another series of deterrent patrols out of Holy Loch. She embarked upon her 18th patrol on 1 June and completed that cruise at the Holy Loch base.

Theodore Roosevelt's second tour of duty operating from the Scotland base proved to be very brief in comparison to her first. Between mid-June of 1967 and February of 1968, she completed her 18th through 21st patrols. On 20 March 1968 while returning to Holy Loch from her 21st patrol, the submarine ran aground off the western coast of Scotland. After drydocking for temporary correction of the damage, she departed Holy Loch on 5 April to return to the United States for permanent repairs. Between 18 April and 20 April she unloaded her missiles at Charleston and headed north to New London. On 23 April, she arrived in the yard of the Electric Boat Division and commenced an extended repair period. Labor disputes caused delays, and Theodore Roosevelt did not complete her repairs until mid-October. She spent the latter part of that month in sea trials and then departed New London on 2 November on her post-repair shakedown cruise. She visited Norfolk, Virginia, Puerto Rico, and St. Croix before concluding the cruise at Charleston on 27 November. She conducted training operations out of Charleston before deploying to Holy Loch again early in 1969.

That tour of duty lasted until May 1971. During the interim, she conducted nine more deterrent patrols, returning to Holy Loch for refit after each. On 12 May 1971, she stood out of Holy Loch on the 31st patrol of her career. On 20 July, Theodore Roosevelt arrived in New London completing both the patrol and the deployment. She remained in New London for three weeks, during which time members of her blue crew and her gold crew were brought together into a single overhaul crew while other members of both crews moved on to other assignments. On 10 August, the submarine headed south to Charleston where she arrived on 13 August. Over the next month, she underwent refit and then departed Charleston on 11 September for special operations. Theodore Roosevelt returned to Charleston on 30 September and remained there a week and a day before returning to sea for another three weeks of special operations. The ballistic missile submarine reentered Charleston on 1 November and began a preoverhaul restricted availability. Three weeks later, she officially began her refueling overhaul, which lasted for more than two years.

Theodore Roosevelt completed her overhaul in January 1974. During the following two months, she conducted sea trials out of Charleston. In April and May shakedown training and nuclear weapons certification preparations occupied her time. In June, she conducted a one-week midshipman familiarization cruise out of New London, then underwent nuclear propulsion safety training before deperming at Norfolk. In mid-June, she received word of her reassignment to the Pacific Fleet with her new home port to be Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Between July and September, Theodore Roosevelt conducted another midshipman training cruise; then settled into predeployment training and preparations. The submarine departed Charleston on 20 September, transited the Panama Canal on 5 October, and, after a nine-day stop for missile loadout at Strategic Weapons Facility, Pacific in Bangor, Washington, continued on to Pearl Harbor, where she arrived on 4 November. Six days later, she departed Pearl Harbor, bound for the Mariana Islands. She entered port at Guam two weeks later, underwent refit at her new advanced base there, and began her first deterrent patrol in the Pacific Ocean on 31 December. Theodore Roosevelt conducted patrols out of Guam until 16 December 1977 at which time she departed on her 43rd deterrent patrol.

Five more years of history go here.

On 1 December 1982, Theodore Roosevelt was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register and her hulk was stored in Bremerton, Washington, until its turn came to enter the Nuclear Power Ship and Submarine Recycling Program. On 24 March 1995, ex-Theodore Roosevelt ceased to exist.

See USS Theodore Roosevelt for other ships of the same name.


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