USS Ulysses S. Grant

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USS Ulysses S. Grant
A submarine on the surface with sailors standing on its sail.
USS Ulysses S. Grant (SSBN-631) entering point at Naval Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii.
United States
NamesakeUlysses S. Grant (1822–1885), American Civil War general and the 18th President of the United States (1869-1877)
Ordered20 July 1961
BuilderElectric Boat, Groton, Connecticut
Laid down18 August 1962
Launched2 November 1963
Sponsored byMrs. David W. Griffiths
Commissioned17 July 1964
Decommissioned12 June 1992
Stricken12 June 1992
FateScrapped via Ship-Submarine Recycling Program completed 23 October 1993
General characteristics
Class and typeJames Madison-class submarine
  • 7,300 long tons (7,417 t) surfaced
  • 8,250 long tons (8,382 t) submerged
Length425 ft (130 m)
Beam33 ft (10 m)
Draft32 ft (9.8 m)
Installed powerS5W reactor
Propulsion2 × geared steam turbines 15,000 shp (11,185 kW), one shaft
SpeedOver 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Test depth1,300 feet (400 m)
ComplementTwo crews (Blue and Gold) of 13 officers and 130 enlisted each

USS Ulysses S. Grant (SSBN-631), a James Madison-class fleet ballistic missile submarine, was the third shipa of the United States Navy to be named for Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885), American Civil War general and the 18th President of the United States (1869-1877).

Construction and commissioning[edit]

The contract to build Ulysses S. Grant was awarded to the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut, on 20 July 1961 and her keel was laid down there on 18 August 1962. She was launched on 2 November 1963, sponsored by President Grant's great-granddaughter Edith (Grant) Griffiths,[1] wife of Colonel David W. Griffiths (retired), and commissioned on 17 July 1964 with Captain J. L. From, Jr., in command of the Blue Crew. In September, Commander C.A.K. McDonald took command of the Gold Crew.

Service history[edit]

Following shakedown, the Ulysses S. Grant got underway from Groton in early December 1964, bound for the Pacific Ocean. Transiting the Panama Canal on 31 December 1964, she arrived at Pearl Harbor in January 1965. She was deployed to Guam, in the Mariana Islands, and conducted 18 deterrent patrols operating from there equipped with Polaris ballistic missiles before returning to the United States in 1969. After an overhaul and conversion to carry Poseidon ballistic missiles at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard at Bremerton, Washington, Ulysses S. Grant was deployed to Holy Loch in Scotland in 1970, and operated in the European area until September 1977.

In the mid-1980s, Ulysses S. Grant underwent a refueling overhaul at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, in Kittery, Maine. After the overhaul period, the Blue Crew completed what was called "The best DASO (Demonstration and Shakedown Operation) in 10 years,"b which concluded with the firing of a test missile on 31 July 1987. Ulysses S. Grant then returned to Naval Submarine Base New London in Connecticut, where the Gold Crew, under the command of Commander Michael P. McBride, took Ulysses S. Grant through a non-firing second-half DASO. During that period, the Gold Crew enjoyed a luxury for a "boomer"c crew, a swim call in the Caribbean.

On 7 April 1987, two crewmen of Ulysses S. Grant were swept off the submarine's deck during heavy seas 3 miles off Portsmouth, New Hampshire. One man, Lt. David Jimenez of Groton, Connecticut, was rescued but was pronounced dead soon afterwards. The other crewman remains presumed "lost at sea".[2]

In 1989, after the Blue Crew turned Ulysses S. Grant over to the Gold Crew while she was moored alongside the submarine tender USS Fulton, the Gold Crew took the submarine to Holy Loch, and Ulysses S. Grant operated on deterrent patrols out of Holy Loch for the remainder of her career.

Decommissioning and disposal[edit]

Ulysses S. Grant was decommissioned on 12 June 1992 and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on the same day. Her scrapping via the Nuclear-Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at Bremerton was completed on 23 October 1993.


Ulysses S. Grant's ship's bell is stored at the submarine base at Bremerton, where it has been used in retirement ceremonies.


^a The earlier two were named simply USS U. S. Grant.[clarification needed]
^b Quoted by SP 205.[where?][when?]
^c United States Navy slang for a ballistic missile submarine.


  1. ^ Edith Grant, Wikidata Q75855773
  2. ^ One sailor dead, another missing in sub accident, UPI, April 7, 1987, accessed August 5, 2019