USS Florida (SSGN-728)

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USS Florida (SSGN-728)
USS Florida (SSGN-728)
USS Florida (SSGN-728)
Career (US)
Namesake: U.S state of Florida
Ordered: 28 February 1975
Builder: General Dynamics Electric Boat
Laid down: 4 July 1976
Launched: 14 November 1981
Commissioned: 18 June 1983
Homeport: Kings Bay, Georgia
Motto: Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat
("Fortune Favors the Brave")
Status: in active service, as of 2014
Badge: SSBN-728 insignia.png
General characteristics
Class & type: Ohio-class submarine
Displacement: 16,764 metric tons (16,499 long tons) surfaced[1][2]
18,750 metric tons (18,450 long tons) submerged[1]
Length: 560 feet (170 m)
Beam: 42 ft (13 m)[1]
Draft: 38 feet (12 m)
Propulsion: 1xS8G PWR nuclear reactor[1]
2x geared turbines[1]
1x325 hp (242 kW) auxiliary motor
1 shaft @ 60,000 shp (45 MW)[1]
Speed: Greater than 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph)[3]
Test depth: Greater than 800 feet (240 m)[3]
Complement: 15 officers[1][2]
140 enlisted[1][2]
Armament: 4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
154 × BGM-109 Tomahawks in 22 groups of seven.

USS Florida (SSBN-728/SSGN-728), an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, is the sixth ship of the United States Navy to be named for the 27th state. She was commissioned with the hull designation of SSBN-728; with her conversion to a cruise missile submarine, she was re-designated SSGN-728.

Construction and commissioning[edit]

The contract to build her was awarded to the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut on 28 February 1975 and her keel was laid down on the bicentennial of the United States's independence, 4 July 1976. The boat was unnamed at the keel-laying ceremony.

The initial ship's crew formed the precommissioning unit on 8 July 1980. The first shipboard watches were stationed on 14 February 1981 to support the operational control transfer of engineering systems to ship's force control. The Secretary of the Navy finally named her on 19 January 1981.

Florida was launched on 14 November 1981 sponsored by Mrs. Marcia M. Carlucci. Her reactor was initially taken critical on 13 November 1982 and she went into service and the crew moved onboard on 21 January 1983. Florida commenced initial builders' sea trials on 21 February 1983 and was subsequently delivered to the Navy on 17 May 1983 – 43 days ahead of schedule. She was commissioned on 18 June 1983, with Captain William L. Powell in command of the Blue Crew and Captain George R. Sterner in command of the Gold Crew.

Operational History[edit]

Both crews successfully completed the demonstration and shakedown operations, each culminated by the successful launch of a Trident C-4 missile. Florida transited the Panama Canal in February and arrived in Bangor, Washington on 25 March 1984. She completed her first strategic deterrent patrol on 25 July 1984.

As of November 2002, Florida had successfully completed 61 strategic deterrent patrols. She won the Battle E in 1989, 1991, 1994, 1999, and 2002. In 1991, she won the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award. In 1997, Florida's skipper, Commander Michael J. Alfonso, was relieved of command for "browbeating his crew, ignoring his executive officer and chief of the boat, and acting as a tyrant."[4]

Florida's command history for 1997 states:

...Concerned about Commander Alfonso's leadership style and the low morale displayed by his crew, Rear Admiral Sullivan (Commander, Submarine Group Nine) took the extraordinary step of relieving the Blue crew captain of his command. On 12 August, Commander Gregory M. Billy, USN, assumed command of Florida (Blue) in a brief ceremony.[5]

Conversion to SSGN[edit]

Florida entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard in July 2003 to undergo a refueling and conversion from an SSBN to an SSGN. Florida completed her conversion in April 2006 and is homeported in Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia. On 25 May 2006 she had a return to service ceremony at Naval Station Mayport, Florida. Ms. Carlucci was the ship's sponsor for her recommissioning in Mayport, Florida in May 2006.

See the article on the Ohio class for more information regarding the conversion.

The patch designed by the pre-commissioning crew, prior to the naming. Rumors said the boat was to be named Iowa.

Operation Odyssey Dawn[edit]

On 19 March 2011, in conjunction with other U.S. Navy and Royal Navy warships, Florida fired scores of Tomahawk missiles at Libyan air defense targets as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn.[6][7] The Tomahawk missile strikes allowed British, French, and allied warplanes to begin enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya, preventing Muammar Gaddafi from using his air force to attack rebels in his country.[7] This was the first combat action for the Florida or any other Ohio-class submarine.[8] During Operation Odyssey Dawn, Florida launched 93 Tomahawk missiles, with 90 effective, out of her total magazine of about 160 missiles.[9]

Of the four Ohio-class SSGNs in the U.S. Navy, Florida was the only one that was available for use in Operation Odyssey Dawn since she was the only one that had been assigned to cruise the Mediterranean Sea. Some other Tomahawk missiles were fired by American surface ships and by a few Royal Navy nuclear submarines.

On February 15, 2013, the crew of the USS Florida were awarded the Navy Unit Commendation having "distinguished itself in action against the enemy" during Operation Odyssey Dawn in 2011.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Ohio-class SSGN-726". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved 2011-09-27. 
  2. ^ a b c Frost, Peter. "Newport News contract awarded". Daily Press. Retrieved 2011-09-27. (subscription required)
  3. ^ a b "Submarine Frequently Asked Questions". Chief of Naval Operations Submarine Warfare Division. Retrieved 2011-09-27. 
  4. ^ Tighman, Andrew (4 January 2008). "Boomer CO fired over personnel problems". Military Times. Retrieved 2011-09-27. 
  5. ^ Graham, Bradley (18 September 1997). "Admiral Cites Crew Intimidation as Reason Trident Sub Skipper Was Removed". The Washington Post. (subscription required)
  6. ^ Axe, David. "Tomorrow's Missile Subs: Smaller, Cheaper, With Lots of Robot Pals | Danger Room". Wired.com. Retrieved 2013-03-23. 
  7. ^ a b Burns, Robert (20 March 2011). "First wave of allied assault: 112 cruise missiles". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 2011-03-20. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Navy Accomplishes Several Firsts During Operation Odyssey Dawn". Navy News Service (globalsecurity.org). 1 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-27. 
  9. ^ Kimber, James (29 April 2011). "Florida Returns from Historic Submarine Deployment". CHINFO. Retrieved 2011-09-27. 
  10. ^ "USS Florida awarded unit commendation | Kings Bay Periscope". Kingsbayperiscope.jacksonville.com. Retrieved 2013-03-24. 

External links[edit]