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USS Thomas A. Edison (SSBN-610)

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Awarded:1 July 1959
Laid down:15 March 1960
Launched:15 June 1961
Commissioned:10 March 1962
Fate:Disposed of by submarine recycling
Stricken:30 April 1986
General Characteristics
Displacement:6900 tons surfaced, 8000 tons submerged
Length:410 feet
Beam:33 feet
Draft:32 feet
Powerplant:S5W reactor
Speed:20+ knots
Complement:two crews of 110 officers and men each
Armament:16 Polaris missiles, four 21-inch torpedo tubes
USS Thomas A. Edison (SSBN-610), an Ethan Allen-class submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for the inventor. Her keel was laid down on 15 March 1960 by the Electric Boat Division of the General Dynamics Corporation of Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 15 June 1961 sponsored by Mrs. Madeleine Edison Sloane, and commissioned on 10 March 1962 with Captain Charles M. Young commanding the Blue Crew and Captain Walter Dedrick commanding the Gold Crew.

Following shakedown training off the eastern coast of the United States, Thomas A. Edison loaded Polaris missiles at Charleston, South Carolina, and embarked upon her first deterrent patrol on 7 November. She concluded that patrol at the base at Holy Loch, Scotland, whence she operated for the next four years and 17 deterrent patrols. In September 1966, her official home port was changed from New London, Connecticut, to Charleston, South Carolina, in preparation for her first major overhaul. She ended her 17th patrol at Charleston on 15 October 1966 and began her overhaul on 28 October. She completed repairs on 9 May 1968; and, after post-overhaul sea trials and shakedown, she embarked upon her 18th deterrent patrol on 22 September 1968. Over the next five years, she operated out of New London and Rota, Spain, from which ports she conducted another 19 patrols in the Atlantic.

In June of 1973, she was transferred to the Pacific Fleet, arriving in San Diego, California, on 11 July. After a short period of operations with Submarine Group 5, she moved to Vallejo, California, on 6 August to begin another overhaul, this time at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. On 30 November 1974, the fleet ballistic missile submarine completed repairs and, following shakedown in January and February of 1975, she transited the Panama Canal again in March to fire test missiles near Cape Canaveral, Florida. She concluded that mission in July and retransited the Canal on 8 August. Thomas A. Edison carried out operations along the west coast until December at which time she headed for her new home port, Guam.

In 1981, in compliance with the SALT I treaty, the missile section of Thomas A. Edison was decommissioned. Cement blocks were placed in the missile tubes, the missile fire control system was removed as was one of the ship's inertial navigation systems. The ship was reclassified an attack submarine and given hull classification symbol SSN-610 on 6 October 1980 and retained primarily for training, ASW exercises and other secondary duties. Decommissioned on 1 December 1983, Thomas A. Edison was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 30 April 1986. She went through the Navy's Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at Bremerton, Washington, beginning on 1 October 1996. When she finished the program on 1 December 1997, she ceased to exist as a complete ship and was listed as scrapped.


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