USS Kentucky (SSBN-737)

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For other ships of the same name, see USS Kentucky.
USS Kentucky (SSBN-737)
USS Kentucky (SSBN-737)
USS Kentucky (SSBN-737)
Career (US)
Namesake: U.S. state of Kentucky
Ordered: 13 August 1985
Builder: General Dynamics Electric Boat, Groton, Connecticut
Laid down: 18 December 1987
Launched: 11 August 1990
Sponsored by: Carolyn Pennebaker Hopkins
Commissioned: 13 July 1991
Homeport: Bangor, Washington
Motto: Thoroughbred Of The Fleet
Honors and
Gold Crew: Captain Edward F. Ney Memorial Award First Place 2001
Gold Crew: Captain Edward F. Ney Memorial Award First Place 2002
Battle Efficiency Award (Battle "E") 2006,2009
Gold Crew: Captain Edward F. Ney Memorial Award Honorable Mention 2007
Status: in active service, as of 2014
Badge: 737insig.png
General characteristics
Class & type: Ohio-class ballistic missile 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: MK-48 torpedoes
24 × Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles

USS Kentucky (SSBN-737), is a United States Navy Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine which has been in commission since 1991. She is the third U.S. Navy ship to be named for Kentucky, the 15th state.

Construction and commissioning[edit]

The contract to build Kentucky was awarded to the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut, on 13 August 1985 and her keel was laid down there on 18 December 1987. She was launched on 11 August 1990, sponsored by Carolyn Pennebaker Hopkins, who used a custom blend of Kentucky bourbon whiskey, mixed for the occasion, rather than the traditional bottle of champagne to christen Kentucky. Kentucky was commissioned on 13 July 1991, with Captain Michael G. Riegel commanding the Blue Crew and Captain Joseph Henry commanding the Gold Crew.

Service history[edit]

On 19 March 1998 south of Long Island, New York, Kentucky collided with the attack submarine USS San Juan (SSN-751) while the two submarines were conducting a joint training drill prior to deployment. Kentucky '​s rudder was damaged; San Juan '​s forward ballast tank was breached, but San Juan was able to surface and return to port. No personnel suffered any injuries.[citation needed]

In both 2001 and 2002, Kentucky '​s Gold Crew won first place in the United States Atlantic Fleet in the Captain Edward F. Ney Memorial Award Submarine Afloat Galley competition for outstanding food service.[citation needed]

In 2005, both the Blue and Gold Crews of Kentucky were appointed Kentucky Colonels by Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher.[citation needed]

Kentucky was awarded the Battle Efficiency Award (Battle "E") for Submarine Squadron 17 for 2006 and 2009.[citation needed]

Kentucky '​s Gold Crew was awarded a Captain Edward F. Ney Memorial Award Honorable Mention for food service in 2007.[citation needed]

Kentucky '​s Blue and Gold Crews were awarded the Omaha Trophy for service as the best ballistic missile submarine in 2009.[citation needed]

On 12 October 2011, Kentucky had its periscope above water, but was hidden below the surface when it turned onto a new course that was blocked by the Totem Ocean ship Midnight Sun. Kentucky came into close contact of about 800 meters with the freighter near British Columbia at the Juan de Fuca Strait.[4]

The ship has been featured in both the History Channel's Modern Marvels "Mega Meals" episode in 2010 and in the Smithsonian Channel's Mighty Ships in 2011.

In January 2012 the Kentucky entered its Engineering Refueling Overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. [5]


  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. ^ Fellman, Sam (21 December 2011). "Near-miss cited in firing of sub CO". Navy Times. 
  5. ^ "Submarine Squadron 19". Commander, Submarine Group 9. Retrieved 2013-06-17. 
  • "Welcome Aboard" pamphlet provided to USS Kentucky tour visitors.