USS Thomas A. Edison
|Name:||USS Thomas A. Edison|
|Namesake:||Thomas Edison (1847–1931)|
|Ordered:||1 July 1959|
|Builder:||Electric Boat Division of the General Dynamics Corporation|
|Laid down:||15 March 1960|
|Launched:||15 June 1961|
|Sponsored by:||Mrs. Madeleine Edison Sloane|
|Commissioned:||10 March 1962|
|Decommissioned:||1 December 1983|
|Struck:||30 April 1986|
|Fate:||Recycling via Ship and Submarine Recycling Program completed 1 December 1997|
|Class and type:||Ethan Allen-class submarine|
|Type:||Ballistic Missile Submarine|
|Displacement:||6,900 tons surfaced 7,900 tons submerged|
|Length:||410 feet 4 inches (125.07 m)|
|Beam:||33.1 feet (10.1 m)|
|Draft:||27 feet 5 inches (8.36 m)|
|Propulsion:||S5W reactor - two geared steam turbines - one shaft|
|Speed:||16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph) surfaced, 21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph) submerged|
|Test depth:||1,300 feet (400 m)|
|Complement:||12 Officers and 128 Enlisted (two crews Blue and Gold)|
|Armament:||16 fleet ballistic missiles, 4 × 21 inches (530 mm) torpedo tubes|
Construction and commissioning
Thomas A. Edison's keel was laid down on 15 March 1960 by the Electric Boat Division of the General Dynamics Corporation of Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 15 June 1961 sponsored by Mrs. Madeleine Edison Sloane, and commissioned on 10 March 1962 with Captain Charles M. Young commanding the Blue Crew and Captain Walter Dedrick commanding the Gold Crew.
Thomas A. Edison loaded Polaris missiles at Charleston, South Carolina, and embarked upon her first deterrent patrol on 7 November 1962. She concluded that patrol at the base at Holy Loch, Scotland, from which she operated for the next four years and conducted 17 deterrent patrols. In September 1966, her official home port was changed from New London, Connecticut, to Charleston, South Carolina, in preparation for her first major overhaul. She ended her 17th patrol at Charleston on 15 October 1966 and began her overhaul on 28 October 1966. She completed repairs on 9 May 1968; and, after post-overhaul sea trials and shakedown, she embarked upon her 18th deterrent patrol on 22 September 1968.
After a shortened 19th patrol, she conducted a "Follow On Target" (FOT) test launch. For this test, four missiles were selected at random, their warheads were removed, and telemetry packages were fitted in place of the warheads. Thomas A. Edison then proceeded to a location just off the Canary Islands and fired these missiles into the Caribbean. Due to the accuracy and timeliness of these successful launches, the members of that Blue Crew were awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation.
In June 1973, she was transferred to the United States Pacific Fleet, arriving in San Diego, California, on 11 July 1973. After a short period of operations with Submarine Group 5, she moved to Vallejo, California, on 6 August 1973 to begin another overhaul, this time at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard at Vallejo, California. On 30 November 1974, she completed repairs and, following shakedown in January and February 1975, she transited the Panama Canal again in March 1975 to fire test missiles near Cape Canaveral, Florida. She concluded that mission in July and retransited the Canal on 8 August 1975. Thomas A. Edison carried out operations along the United States West Coast until December 1975, at which time she headed for her new home port, Apra, Guam.
On 6 October 1980, Thomas A. Edison completed her final deterrent patrol and was reclassified an attack submarine, given hull number SSN-610.  Thomas A. Edison's missile section was deactivated. Concrete blocks were placed in the missile tubes, and the missile fire-control system and one of the ship's inertial navigation systems were removed. 
Decommissioned on 1 December 1983, Thomas A. Edison was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 30 April 1986. She went through the Navy's Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington, beginning on 1 October 1996 and on 1 December 1997 ceased to exist as the recycling was completed.
During the construction of Thomas A. Edision, the construction captain[who?] requested that a Steinway piano be placed aboard. This piano remained on board the submarine for 22 years (1961–1983) up through her decommissioning. The Steinway piano is the only example of a full-sized piano ever installed on a U.S. submarine conducting nuclear deterrent patrols.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- Silverstone 2009, p. 34.
- Gardiner and Chumbley 1995, p. 612.
- Couhat 1986, p. 621.
- "Legendary Piano Maker Steinway & Sons to Kick-off Historic Piano Exhibit as Part of 150th Anniversary Celebrations". Steinway & Sons (Press release). Archived from the original on 2008-08-30. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
- Couhat, Jen Labayle, ed. (1986). Combat Fleets of the World 1986/87. Annapolis, Maryland, USA: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-85368-860-5.
- Gardiner, Robert; Chumbley, Stephen, eds. (1995). Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1947–1995. Annapolis, Maryland, USA: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-132-7.
- Silverstone, Paul H. (2009). The Navy of the Nuclear Age 1947–2007. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-203-87773-9.
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