Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

USS Will Rogers (SSBN-659)

insert image here
insert caption here
(insert link to larger image here)
Awarded:29 July 1963
Laid down:20 March 1965
Launched:21 July 1966
Commissioned:1 April 1967
Fate:submarine recycling
Stricken:12 April 1993
General Characteristics
Displacement:7320 tons surfaced, 8220 tons submerged
Length:425 feet
Beam:33 feet
Draft:31 feet 4 inches
Powerplant:S5W reactor, then S3G reactor
Speed:16 knots surfaced, 20+ knots submerged
Complement:two crews of 140 officers and men each
Armament:16 Polaris missiles or Poseidon missiles, four 21-inch torpedo tubes
USS Will Rogers (SSBN-659), a Benjamin Franklin-class submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for the humorist. Her keel was laid down on 20 March 1965 at Groton, Connecticut, by the General Dynamics Corporation's Electric Boat Division. She was launched on 21 July 1966 sponsored by Muriel Buck Humphrey, the wife of Vice President of the United States Hubert Humphrey, and commissioned on 1 April 1967 with Captain R.Y. Kaufman and Commander W.J. Cowhill in command of the Blue and Gold crews respectively.

Following shakedown, Will Rogers culminated her initial training and work-up by conducting a successful Polaris shot in the Atlantic missile range off Cape Kennedy on 31 July 1967. In October of that year, the 41st and last Polaris submarine made her first deterrent deployment.

Will Rogers was based out of Groton, Connecticut, until 1974 when she shifted to a forward deployment at Rota, Spain. She conducted additional deterrent deployments from Rota over the next four years, into 1978, bringing the total number of patrols made to 35.

14 years of operation history go here.

Around 1975, the boat was converted to carry Poseidon missiles.

Around 1975, the reactor plant was modified to use an S3G core 3.

Deactivated while still in commission on 2 November 1992, Will Rogers entered the Navy's Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at Bremerton, Washington, the same day. Formally decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 12 April 1993, she finished the recycling program and ceased to exist on 12 August 1994.


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