In 1958 Congress authorized the
construction of Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines. These Polaris missiles
launching platforms were the result of extensive and imaginative development in
such fields as environmental control, nuclear engineering, inertial navigation,
and solid propellant rocketry.
HENRY L. STIMSON is the thirty-seventh member of the Polaris/Poseidon fleet
of forty-one nuclear powered Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines. Her keep was
laid on April 4, 1964, at the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics in
Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on November 13, 1965, after being
christened HENRY L. STIMSON by Mrs. Thomas Dodd, the wife of
Connecticut’s senior senator, and commissioned August 20, 1966 with Captain
Richard E. Jortberg (commanding the Blue Crew) and Commander Robert H. Weeks
(commanding the Gold Crew). HENRY L. STIMSON is the first ship of the
fleet to be named in honor of the American attorney, soldier, diplomat and
statesman. The crossed swords in the insignia of the USS HENRY L. STIMSON
represent his belief that to keep peace you must be strong to resist
aggression. During shakedown, both crews successfully fired two A-3 Polaris
missiles in the Atlantic Missile Test Range. After final sea trials and torpedo
fire control systems testing Henry L.
Stimson was assigned to Submarine Squadron 16 and began her first
operational deterrent patrol, departing Charleston, South Carolina, on 23
STIMSON received a Meritorious Unit Citation (MUC) for meritorious
service during the period from 19 August to 9 September 1970, while
participating in an operation of great importance to the United States. Through
the operation the STIMSON demonstrated conclusively the effectiveness
and dependability of the Fleet Ballistic Missile System.
In November 1971, Henry L. Stimson commenced her
first major overhaul period, at Newport News Shipyard and Drydock. Here HENRY
L. STIMSON was converted to the more advanced and sophisticated Poseidon
Weapons System. On completion of the Conversion Overhaul period in March 1973,
two crews were once more reestablished on HENRY L. STIMSON.
In June 1973, both crews
successfully completed their Demonstration and Shakedown Operations (DASO).
After Post Conversion Availability and final sea trials, HENRY L. STIMSON
returned to perform as a major force in the prevention of nuclear war.
Starting in June 1973, HENRY L.
STIMSON made 24 Poseidon patrols out of Rota, Spain until Submarine
Squadron SIXTEEN moved to Kings Bay, Georgia in June 1979. Thereafter HENRY
L. STIMSON made two patrols out of Charleston, South Carolina.
During the period from November 1979
to March 1980, STIMSON’s weapon system was again upgraded to support the
TRIDENT-1 missile. The conversion was accomplished pier side at Port Canaveral,
Florida. Successful Demonstration and Shakedown Operations (DASO) by both crews
after the ship conversion were climaxed by the launching of a TRIDENT C-4
missile. Following that conversion, the boat changed homeports to Kings Bay,
Georgia, where she was based for the rest of her career. The ship deployed on
her first TRIDENT-1 strategic deterrent patrol in May 1980.
In May 1982, HENRY L. STIMSON
began its second major overhaul at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock
Company, Newport News, Virginia. Two crews were reestablished on HENRY L.
STIMSON on completion of the overhaul period in August 1984. Since
completion of the pos-overhaul period, USS HENRY L. STIMSON has
completed twenty-eight TRIDENT strategic deterrent patrols.
STIMSON received her SECOND Meritorious Unit Citation (MUC) for
meritorious service during the period 25 April to 6 August 1988, for her
participation in LANTCOOPEX 1-88, the first SSBN remote-site, rapid
re-deployment, continuity of operations exercise.
STIMSON combined crews in May 1992 as a precursor to inactivation
and was both decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Registry at
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard on 5 May 1993. Henry
L. Stimson went
through the Navy's Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program in
Bremerton, Washington, and ceased to exist on 12 August 1994.