USS Georgia (SSGN-729)
USS Georgia (SSGN-729)
|Namesake:||State of Georgia|
|Ordered:||20 February 1976|
|Builder:||General Dynamics Electric Boat|
|Laid down:||7 April 1979|
|Launched:||6 November 1982|
|Sponsored by:||Sheila M. Watkins|
|Commissioned:||11 February 1984|
|Homeport:||Kings Bay, Georgia, U.S.|
|Motto:||Furtim, Incurso, Mutatio (English: Stealth, Attack, Change)|
|Status:||in active service|
|Class and type:||Ohio-class submarine|
|Length:||560 ft (170 m)|
|Beam:||42 ft (13 m)|
|Draft:||38 ft (12 m)|
|Speed:||Greater than 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph)|
|Test depth:||Greater than 800 feet (240 m)|
Construction and commissioning
The contract to build her was awarded to the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut on 20 February 1976 and her keel was laid down on 7 April 1979. She was launched on 6 November 1982 sponsored by Mrs. Sheila M. Watkins, and commissioned as a fleet ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) on 11 February 1984, with Captain A. W. Kuester commanding the Blue crew and Captain M. P. Gray commanding the Gold crew. This ship was later converted to a guided missile submarine (SSGN) for carrying guided cruise missiles instead of fleet ballistic missiles in its missile compartment.
From March to April 1984 she went on her shakedown cruise and test-launched a Trident C-4 missile in the Eastern Test Range on 7 April 1986. In November 1984, she arrived in her home port of Bangor, Washington. In January 1985 she started her first strategic deterrence patrol. As an element of Task Unit 14.7.1 from September 1983 to May 1986, she was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation. She was awarded her second Meritorious Unit Commendation for Submarine Operations between February 1986 to August 1986.
On 22 March 1986, three miles south of Midway Island, harbor tug USS Secota (YTM-415) had just completed a personnel transfer from Georgia, picking up a submarine crewman who was going on emergency leave, when Secota lost power and got hung up on Georgia's starboard stern plane while the sub's propeller continued to turn. That sank Secota within two minutes. Ten people were rescued, including the Georgia crewman who had just transferred to Secota. Two Secota crewmen trapped in her engine room were lost. While Lt. Cmdr. John Carman, a Navy spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, told the media that the Georgia was undamaged, a report sent by the Commanding Officer of the Georgia indicates that after returning the surviving Secota crew members to Hawaii, Georgia underwent emergency repairs for minor damage sustained in the collision.
Her Gold crew was awarded the Comsubron Seventeen Battle Efficiency Award for 2001.
On 30 October 2003, Georgia returned from her 65th and last deterrent patrol.
On 7 November 2003, while Georgia was docked at Bangor, Washington, her C-4 Trident I missiles were offloaded. The process proceeded smoothly until tube number 16. When each tube was opened, a ladder was lowered into the tube so a sailor could climb down and attach a hoist to lift the missile. After attaching the hoist to the missile in tube 16, the sailor climbed out, and the crew took a break without removing the ladder. When they returned, they began to hoist the missile, pulling against the ladder and cutting a nine-inch (230 mm) hole in its nose cone. No radioactive material was released.
Three enlisted men in the missile handling team faced a court-martial. The Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific was immediately shut down and inspected by the Navy, and failed to pass. SWFPAC's commanding officer, Captain Keith Lyles, was relieved of command on 19 December 2003, followed by his executive officer, Commander Phillip Jackson, weapons officer, Commander Marshall Millett, and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Command Steven Perry. SWFPAC reopened after passing inspection under a new commanding officer on 9 January 2004. Georgia's crew was unaffected.
Conversion to SSGN
Georgia was redesignated to SSGN on 1 March 2004. In October 2004 she participated as the command node of Exercise Silent Hammer to validate and showcase the new Joint Warfare and ISR capabilities.
In March 2005, Georgia entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard for her scheduled Engineered Refueling Overhaul. The SSGN conversion took place concurrently. The conversion and refitting work was completed in February 2008. After the refit, Georgia moved to her new home port in Kings Bay, Georgia.
Georgia was officially welcomed home in Kings Bay, Georgia, on 28 March 2008 in a return to service ceremony attended by Governor Sonny Perdue. On August 2009, Georgia began first SSGN deployment. On January 2010, Georgia earned Squadron SIXTEEN battle efficiency "E" for 2009. GEORGIA Blue crew earns Squadron SIXTEEN Engineering Red "E", Navigation Red and Green "N".
In December 2010, a foreign material, i.e., a bolt, was left in the submarine's reduction gears. It caused $2.2 million in damage and forced the boat into three months of repairs. One officer and several enlisted sailors were disciplined over the mishap.
On 25 November 2015, Georgia struck a channel buoy and subsequently grounded whilst entering the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base. The ship was placed into drydock for inspection and repairs which cost about $1 million. The navy stated that the damage was limited to the exterior of the sub and the hull was not compromised. The commanding officer of the Blue crew at the time of the accident - Captain David Adams - was relieved of duty on 4 January 2016 by Rear Adm. Randy Crites.
In fiction and documentary
- Georgia is featured prominently in the 2012 naval thriller Fire of the Raging Dragon by Don Brown.
- The Discovery Channel documentary Submarines: Sharks of Steel (1993) features Georgia and her crew.
- This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register and various press releases.
- "Ohio-class SSGN-726". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
- Frost, Peter. "Newport News contract awarded". Daily Press. Retrieved 27 September 2011.[dead link]
- "Submarine Frequently Asked Questions". Chief of Naval Operations Submarine Warfare Division. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
- "Florida Today Space and Missile Launch Database". Florida Today. Archived from the original on 15 March 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2006.
- "Sub sinks a tug boat". YouTube video. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
- "Tug sinks after hitting sub". Associated Press. Honolulu, HI. 23 March 1986. p. A4. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- "Tugboat Sinks". The Orlando Sentinel. 24 March 1986. p. A8. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
- "USS Georgia (SSBN 729 Command History)" (pdf). Naval History and Heritage Command. 15 April 1987.
- Duryea, Dave, Capt., USN. "USS Georgia – The Silent Hammer". Undersea Warfare. Archived from the original on 7 May 2005. Retrieved 29 August 2006.
- "Conversion of USS Georgia From SSBN to SSGN". Retrieved 28 September 2011.
- "USS Georgia SSBN Enters Conversion to SSGN "Tactical Trident" SpecOps Sub". Defense Industry Daily. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
- "Four SSGNs, No Waiting". Retrieved 28 September 2011.
- "Isakson Praises Navy's Decision to Move USS Georgia to Kings Bay". Retrieved 28 September 2011.
- "Navy Marks USS Georgia's Return To Service". CBS 4 News Jacksonville. Archived from the original on 5 March 2009. Retrieved 3 December 2008.[not in citation given]
- "USS GEORGIA Return to service". Retrieved 28 September 2011.
- "Navy Marks USS Georgia's Return To Service". Retrieved 28 September 2011.[permanent dead link]
- "USS Georgia goes on patrol".[dead link]
- "Battle 'E' Awarded to USS Georgia". Retrieved 28 September 2011.
- Fellman, Sam, "$2.2 Million Sub Mishap Was 'Avoidable,' Report Says", Military Times, 14 May 2012.
- Lendon, Brad (5 January 2016). "$1M accident costs sub captain his job". Cable News Network. Atlanta, Georgia: Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
- Media related to USS Georgia (SSGN-729) at Wikimedia Commons
- Photo gallery of USS Georgia (SSGN-729) at NavSource Naval History – Life as a SSBN
- Photo gallery of USS Georgia (SSGN-729) at NavSource Naval History – Conversion to SSGN
- [ USS Georgia Official Navy Home Page]
- USS Georgia (SSBN-729/SSGN-729) command histories – Naval History & Heritage Command