SSBN 729 Georgia
USS GEORGIA (SSBN 729) is the fourth Ohio class nuclear powered fleet ballistic missile submarine and the third ship to bear the name of this grand state, one of the thirteen original states of the Union.
The keel laying ceremony was presided over by First Lady Rosalyn Carter, wife of President Jimmy Carter, both Georgia natives. The ceremony took place the same day that the USS OHIO, the lead ship of the class, was launched. Mrs. Carter's initials can still be seen on the ship's keel.
On November 5th, 1982, GEORGIA was launched and christened by Mrs. Sheila Watkins, wife of Admiral J.D. Watkins, USN, Chief of Naval Operations.
On 11 February, 1984, USS GEORGIA was commissioned at Naval Underwater Sound Center. Commissioning Officer was Admiral James D. Watkins, Chief of Naval Operations.
The following major events have marked the ship's history.
- March to April 1984 shakedown and TRIDENT C-4 missile launch.
- November 1984 ship arrived at homeport Bangor, Washington.
- January 1985 first strategic patrol.
- First Meritorious Unit Commendation as an element of TASK UNIT 14.7.1 from September 1983 to May 1986.
- Second Meritorious Unit Commendation for Submarine Operations from February 1986 to August 1986.
- Conducted first ever Pacific Fleet SSBN Follow on CINC Evaluation Test conducted in the Atlantic Fleet from February to March 1994.
Awarded Comsubron Seventeen Battle Efficiency Award (Gold Crew) for 2001.
After 18 years of faithful service to the submarine fleet, USS Georgia returned to Naval Submarine Base Bangor from her last and 65th strategic deterrent patrol marking the end of its career as a Fleet Ballistic Missile submarine (SSBN) on Oct. 30, 2003. Since her first strategic deterrent patrol in 1985, USS GEORGIA has performed her mission of strategic deterrence by completing 65 patrols.
Following Georgia's return to Strategic Weapons Facility, Pacific (SWFPAC) the Georgia was involved in an accident that involved one of its Trident I C4 missiles. According to a report in the Washington Times dated March 11, 2004, on November 7, 2003 while the SLBM was being lifted out of its tube by a crane, the nose cone struck a ladder that had mistakenly been left inside the tube. The impact resulted ina 9-inch gash that damaged the cone and "came within inches of hitting one of the missile's multiple warheads beneath the metal shroud. Following the incident, the commanding officer of SWFPAC was relieved from command.
The submarine is one of four Ohio-class submarines (including USS Ohio, USS Florida, and USS Michigan) being converted from SSBNs to SSGNs. The mission capabilities of the guided missile submarines (SSGN) include strike, special operations forces insertion, and support for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. These platforms will carry a payload of up to 154 Tomahawk land attack missiles, and have the additional multi-mission capabilities of anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, and mine warfare and information operations.
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