USS George Washington

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The USS George Washington (SSBN-598) was laid down at Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics, Groton, Connecticut November 1, 1957, launched June 9, 1959; sponsored by Mrs. Robert B. Anderson; commissioned: December 30, 1959]] with Commander James B. Osborn in command of the Blue crew and Commander John L. From, Jr. in command of the Gold crew; decommissioned and struck from the Navy List January 24, 1985; and is scheduled for disposal at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

George Washington was originally Scorpion (SSN-589). During construction, she was lengthened by the insertion of a 130-foot missile section and renamed (while another hull under construction at the time became the ill-fated USS Scorpion), but inside the forward escape hatch remained a plaque bearing the name USS Scorpion. Because the the missile compartment design would be reused in later ship classes, the section that was inserted into George Washington was designed with a deeper test depth rating than the rest of the boat.

The first of a new class, George Washington sailed from Groton June 28, 1960 for Cape Canaveral, Florida, where she loaded two Polaris missiles. Standing out into the Atlantic Missile Test Range with Rear Admiral W.F. Raborn, head of the Polaris Submarine development program, on board as an observer, she successfully launched the first Polaris missile from a submerged submarine on July 20, 1960. At 1239 George Washington's commanding officer sent President Eisenhower the message: POLARIS - FROM OUT OF THE DEEP TO TARGET. PERFECT. Less than 2 hours later a second missile from the submarine also struck the impact area 1,100 miles down range.

George Washington then embarked her Gold crew, and July 30, 1960 launched two more missiles while submerged. Shakedown for the Gold crew ended at Groton on August 30 and the submarine got underway from that port October 28 for Charleston, South Carolina, to load her full complement of 16 Polaris missiles. There she was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation, after which her Blue crew took over and embarked on her first deterrent patrol.

The submarine completed her first patrol after 66 days of submerged running January 21, 1961 and put in at New London, Connecticut. The Gold crew took over and departed on her next patrol February 14. After the patrol she entered Holy Loch, Scotland, April 25, 1961. Four years after her initial departure from Groton she put in to refuel, having cruised some 100,000 miles.

George Washington was shifted to the Pacific and was homeported in Pearl Harbor. On April 9, 1981, she collided with the Japanese merchant ship Nissho Maru in the South China Sea. In 1982, she returned to Pearl Harbor from her last missile patrol. In 1983 her missiles were off-loaded in Bangor, Washington, and she left Pearl Harbor for the last time and transitted the Panama Canal back to New London.

On January 24, 1985, George Washington was decommissioned and struck from the Navy List on April 30, 1986. Her sail was removed prior to disposal and now resides at the Submarine Force Library and Museum, New London, Connecticut. The "Georgefish" made 55 deterence patrols in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans in her 25-year career.


  • Displacement 5959 tons (surfaced), 6709 tons (submerged)
  • Length 116.3 meters (381.6 feet)
  • Beam 10 meters (33 feet)
  • Speed 16 knots surfaced, 22 knots submerged
  • Missile tubes: 16
  • Torpedo tubes: 6 forward, 21-inch
  • Complement: 12 officers - 100 enlisted men (each in 2 crews)

The USS George Washington (CVN 73) is the sixth ship in the Nimitz-class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. It was built by the Newport News Shipbuilding Company of Newport News, Virginia. The keel was laid on August 25, 1986 and the ship was commissioned on July 4, 1992.

Two nuclear reactors are used for propulsion (the ship is capable of steaming more than one million miles before refueling) turning 4 five-bladed screws that weigh 66,220 pounds each driving the ship at speeds over thirty knots.

The GW is 1,094 feet long, 257 feet wide and has a height equal to a twenty-four story building (244 feet). The ship can accommodate approximately 80 aircraft and has a flight deck 4.5 acres in size, using four elevators that are 3,880 square feet each to move planes between the flight deck and the hangar bay. With a combat load, the GW displaces almost 97,000 tons and carries over 6,000 crew members. It can distill 400,000 gallons of water and serves 18,000 meals per day. There are over 2,500 compartments on board requiring 2,520 tons of air conditioning capacity (enough to cool over 2,000 homes). The ship uses two anchors that weigh 30 tons each, with each link of the anchor chain weighing 360 pounds.