(SSBN-609: dp. 6,900 (surf.), 8,000 (subm.) ; l. 410'; b. 33'; dr. 32'; s. 20+ k.; cpl. 110; a. 16 Pol., 4 21" tt.; cl. Ethan Allen)
Samuel Houston, generally known as Sam Houston, was born on 2 March 1793 at Timber Ridge Plantation in Rockbridge County, Va. After the death of his father in 1807, Sam's mother took him to eastern Tennessee where he learned the ways of the Cherokee Indians and became deeply committed to furthering Indian rights, a cause he served throughout his life.
Houston enlisted in the 7th Infantry on 24 March 1813 for service in the war with England. He fought under General Andrew Jackson and, although severely wounded during the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, remained in the Army after the end of hostilities. He had attained the rank of First Lieutenant before he resigned on 1 March 1818 to study law.
Soon after being admitted to the Tennessee bar, Houston was appointed prosecuting attorney for the Nashville District. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1823 to 1827. In the latter year, he was elected state governor and served as head of the Tennessee government until 1829 when he relinquished office and became a trader in Indian Territory (Oklahoma).
Much of his time in the next few years was devoted to securing fair treatment of Indians by the Federal Government and to promoting peace among various Indian tribes. He visited Texas in 1832 to negotiate with the Comanche tribe on behalf of the Cherokees and, thereafter, became increasingly involved in that region.
Soon after the outbreak of the Texas War for Independence, Houston was chosen Commander in Chief of the Texas Army. On 21 April 1836, his badly outnumbered force, which had been retreating before the Mexican Army, turned and decisively defeated their pursuers at San Jacinto. They captured the Mexican commander, Santa Anna, and his entire army, thereby winning independence for Texas.
On 22 October 1836, Houston was inaugurated President of the Republic of Texas and held the office until December 1838. He then stepped down but again headed the new government from 1841 to 1844.
When Texas was annexed to the United States, Houston was elected as one of the state's United States senators, and he served in the Senate until 1859, when displeasure over his loyalty to the Union prompted the Texas Legislature to replace him. However, his enduring popularity among the electorate won him the office of governor which he held until he was deposed on 18 March 1861 for refusing to swear allegiance to the Confederacy. He then retired to his farm where he died on 26 July 1863.
The second Sam Houston (SSBN-609) was laid down on 28 December 1959 by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Va.; launched on 2 February 1961; sponsored by Mrs. John B. Connally; and commissioned on 6 March 1962, Capt. W.P. Willis, Jr., (blue crew) in command.
Following shakedown, the nation's seventh Polaris submarine fired her first missile on 25 April off Cape Canaveral, Fla. The gold crew, commanded by Comdr. J. H. Hawkins, then took over, completed its missile firing on 11 May 1962 and then departed from Cape Canaveral for its own shakedown training.
On her first patrol, Sam Houston, manned by the blue crew, operated continuously submerged for 48 days and 2 hours, then moored alongside the submarine tender, Proteus, in Holy Loch, Scotland. Following upkeep, the gold crew commenced its first patrol on Christmas Day, returning to Holy Loch in February 1963. The crews were again alternated, and Sam Houston departed on her third patrol in March. On this patrol, she was the first fleet ballistic missile submarine to enter the Mediterranean where she joined the NATO forces. On a short operational visit to Izmir, Turkey, she became the first Polaris submarine to make a port-of-call during a patrol. With the two crews alternating every 90 days, Sam Houston completed 6 successful Polaris patrols by the end of the year.
By the end of 1964, Sam Houston had completed 10 patrols. During 1965, she completed four additional deterrent patrols. During 1966, Sam Houston completed 3 more patrols, including her longest which lasted 71 days. On 10 August 1966, she returned to the United States for the first time since her deployment in 1962 and commenced a major overhaul at the United States Naval Shipyard at Portsmouth, N.H. On 30 October 1967, she got underway for sea trials; and, a month later, her blue crew began shakedown training. In January 1968, the gold crew conducted shakedown operations. Following further tests, she got under way for her 18th deterrent patrol, and put into Holy Loch on 25 May. By the end of the year, she was on her 21st patrol. During 1969, Sam Houston completed her 22nd through 24th patrols. In 1970, she continued to operate with Submarine Squadron 14 until shifting to the Mediterranean on 9 August to join Submarine Squadron 16.
She operated out of her advanced base at Rota, Spain, until October of 1972. On 27 November, she entered Charleston Naval Shipyard and began an extended in-port period, which included regular overhaul and the updating of her weapons and propulsion systems. As of May 1974, Sam Houston is still in port at Charleston, S.C.