SSBN 737 Kentucky
The submarine USS KENTUCKY (SSBN 737) is the third U.S. Naval vessel to be named in honor of the Bluegrass state, and the twelfth Trident submarine commissioned.
Kentucky was authorized in FY1985; laid down by Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Co., Groton, CT 24 October 1987; launched 11 August 1990; sponsored by Mrs. Larry J. Hopkins; and commissioned 13 July 1991 with Capt Michael G. Riegel (Blue); Capt Joseph Henry (Gold) in command.
After spending more than nine weeks in an unusually complex refit, USS Kentucky confidently slipped into the open waters of Hood Canal, April 19, 2004 in preparation for her next patrol. With 100,000 production man-hours executed in the completion of more than 1,000 jobs, the refit was a first-ever demonstration of the new surge maintenance capability in the Pacific Northwest.
The ship was operating on a temporary existing departure from specification and observed one of the planes appeared to be out of alignment. It was determined that the planes would have to be removed for inspection and repair. When the ship docked on February 12, 2004 Naval Intermediate Maintenance Facility (IMF) Submarine Base Bangor immediately disassembled both planes, finding water intrusion and significant corrosion had eroded the operational condition of the planes.
Commander Submarine Pacific (COMSUBPAC) granted an extension on Kentucky's normal refit period and adjusted other SSBN schedules.
The ship's seal is a reflection of the proud heritage of the Commonwealth for which she is named. The colors blue, gold and white represent both U.S. Navy and Kentucky colors.
The focal point of the seal is the Kentucky long rifle, representing the Commonwealth's rich frontier past. The long rifle is symbolic of the ship's deterrent role and the proverbial "big stick" should deterrence fail.
The horseshoe, a traditional good luck symbol, also represents the Commonwealth's renowned thoroughbred industry, which produces the world's finest horses. It is from the image of the swift Kentucky thoroughbred that the ship's motto is derived -- "Thoroughbred of the Fleet."
The encircling gold braid represents the close association between the Commonwealth of Kentucky and USS KENTUCKY. The submarine silhouette represents the nearly 100 years of submarine heritage and technology to which USS KENTUCKY is heir as the newest and most modern submarine in the world.
The First Kentucky
The first KENTUCKY, a confederate transport, was captured by the union Navy in June, 1862; the name KENTUCKY was retained. She was assigned to the Mississippi squadron in support of union forces performing various transport duties on the Mississippi River and its tributaries. KENTUCKY sank in June, 1865, by accident with great loss of life, while operating on the Red River. Among those who died were some thirty paroled confederate soldiers.
The career of the second KENTUCKY (BB-6), a turn-of-the-century battleship, lasted for twenty years. About the size of a World War II destroyer, she was one of the most advanced warships of her day and the first American battleship to make extensive use of electricity and to provide ventilation below decks. Launched in March, 1898 and commissioned in May, 1900, the battleship sailed to Hong Kong in 1901 and became the flagship of the Asiatic Fleet, watching over American interests in the Far East.
Upon her return to the United States in 1904, KENTUCKY was involved in tactics and maneuvers off the Atlantic coast with the North Atlantic Fleet. In the fall of 1906, she transported marines to Havana and offered support to forces ashore during the Cuban insurrection. In 1907 she returned to Hampton Roads, Virginia, to join the "Great White Fleet" of sixteen battleships on a fourteen-month cruise around the globe. The voyage was widely acclaimed for the honor it brought to the United States Navy and for its demonstration to the world of America's strength.
Following the successful cruise, she was decommissioned, though she was recommissioned in June, 1915 as a training vessel. Later that year she sailed to the coast of Mexico to protect American interests during the period following the Mexican Revolution. During World War I, KENTUCKY served as a training ship for thousands of recruits along the Atlantic Coast. She was finally decommissioned in May, 1920.
Construction was begun on a third KENTUCKY (BB-66), an lowa-class battleship, but was never completed. Her keel was laid in December, 1944, but construction was suspended in 1947 when the vessel was 70 percent complete.
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