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Alabama

 

The 22d state, admitted to the Union on 14 December 1819, whose name is derived from two Choctaw Indian words: "alba amo," meaning "thicket gatherers" or "vegetation gatherers."

 

__________

 

(SL: t. 2,633; 1. 203'8"; b. 51'4"; cl. North Carolina)

 

Alabaman-one of the "nine ships to rate not less than 74 guns each" authorized by Congress on 29 April 1816—was laid down in June 1819 at the Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard. In keeping with the policy of the 74-gun ships-of-the-line being maintained in a state of readiness for launch, Alabama remained on the stocks at Portsmouth for almost four decades, in a state of preservation—much like part of a "mothball fleet" of post-World War II years. Needed for service during the Civil War, the ship was completed, but her name was changed to New Hampshire (q.v.) on 28 October 1863.

 

__________

 

(SwStr: t. 676)

 

Alabama—a wooden-hull sidewheel steamer built in 1838 at Baltimore, Md.—apparently operated under the aegis of the War Department during the War with Mexico (1846-1848), carrying troops that participated in the capture of Veracruz. After the close of hostilities, the War Department transferred Alabama to the Navy Department pursuant to the Act of Congress of 3 March 1849. The latter, however, found the ship "unsuitable for naval purposes" and sold her at public auction, at New Orleans, La., in October 1849. Records of her naval service (if any) have not been found. It does not appear that she did in fact serve in the United States Navy, since her name does not appear in any contemporary listings of naval vessels, nor do any deck logs exist. She was ultimately lost, stranding on Gun Key, in the Bahamas, on 12 July 1852. Fortunately, no lives were lost.

 

IV

 

(SSBN-731: dp. 16,000 (surf.), 18,750 (subm.); 1. 560'; b. 42'; dr. 35.5'; s. 20 + k.; cpl. 133; a. 24 Trident mis., 4 21" tt; cl. Ohio)

 

The fourth Alabama (SSBN-731) was laid down on 14 October 1980 at Groton, Conn., by the Electric Boat Division of the General Dynamics Corp.; launched on 19 May 1984; sponsored by Mrs. Barbara E. Dickinson; and commissioned at the Submarine Base, New London, on 25 May 1985, Capt. Wade H. Taylor (Blue Crew) and Capt. Malcolm S. Wright (Gold Crew) in command.

 

The nuclear-powered fleet ballistic missile submarine (FBM) departed the Connecticut coast three days later to conduct her shakedown cruise off the coast of Florida. The Blue Crew completed its shakedown training late in July, and the warship stopped at Port Canaveral, Fla., on the 22d for the Gold Crew to take over for its cruise. At the conclusion of the Gold Crew's shakedown training late in October, the Blue Crew came on board again at New London on the 20th to take Alabama back to the yard at Electric Boat for post-shakedown availability. Those repairs occupied the warship until mid-December when she completed sea trials in Narragansett Bay.

 

Alabama enjoyed a brief holiday standdown from 22 to 31 December and then got underway on New Year's Day 1986 for sound trials in the Bahamas. She completed that assignment on 30 January and shaped a course for her namesake state. The ballistic missile submarine visited Mobile, Ala., between 2 and 11 February before heading for the Panama Canal. She passed through the canal on the 17th and arrived in Bangor, Wash., on 6 March. The warship remained at Bangor, where she exchanged crews, until 13 April when she put to sea for independent ship's exercises. Alabama operated out of Bangor until mid-May when she embarked upon her first deterrent patrol. Operating from the Pacific Northwest, the ballistic missile submarine carried out four deterrent patrols during the last seven months of 1986. As of the beginning of 1987, however, she was undergoing refit at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.