Naval History and Heritage Command

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Georgia II (SSBN-729)


One of the 13 original colonies, Georgia was admitted to the Union as the fourth state on 2 January 1788.

The second ship named Georgia. The first Georgia (Battleship No. 15) served from 1906-1923, and was reclassified to BB-15 on 17 July 1920.


(SSBN-729: displacement 16,772; length 560'; beam 42'; draft 38'; speed 20+ knots; complement 153; armament 24 UGM-133 Trident I C4 submarine launched ballistic missiles and four torpedo tubes for Mk 48 torpedoes; class Ohio)

The second Georgia (SSBN-729) was laid down on 7 April 1979 at Groton, Conn., by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corp.; launched on 6 November 1982; and sponsored by Mrs. Sheila M. Watkins, wife of Adm. James D. Watkins, Chief of Naval Operations; and was commissioned on 11 February 1984 at Naval Underwater Sound Center New London, Conn., Capt. Arland W. Kuester (Blue Crew) and Capt. Myron P. Gray (Gold Crew) in command.

Manned by her Gold Crew, Georgia shifted from the Atlantic Fleet to the Pacific Fleet in October 1984, beginning the voyage at Port Canaveral, Fla. She passed through the Panama Canal on 18 February; crossed the equator on 20 February; and reached her new home port of Naval Submarine Base Bangor, Wash., on 25 March. Georgia completed her first strategic deterrent patrol in Pacific waters (10 May-25 July 1984).

While Georgia, manned by her Blue Crew, completed Patrol 5, she rendezvoused with medium harbor tug Secota (YTM-415) and transferred a crewman to the smaller ship three miles south of Midway Island, on 22 March 1986. Tragically, Secota suddenly lost power and the vessels collided, the tug plunging quickly to the bottom. Men of the submarine standing watch topside rescued ten people, including the Georgia sailor who had just transferred to Secota, but two of Secota’s complement perished in the mishap. Georgia did not suffer any casualties, completed emergency repairs for minor damage, and returned the survivors to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

The changing strategic picture in the wake of the collapse of the East Bloc persuaded Navy leaders to convert the first four Ohio-class submarines: Florida (SSBN-728), Georgia, Michigan (SSBN-727), and Ohio (SSBN-726) to guided missile submarines (SSGNs), principally equipped to fire UGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) through up to 22 Multiple All-Up-Round Canisters in lieu of their Tridents. The modifications included: the ability to deploy with up to 154 TLAMs; improved intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities; and enhanced communications via the Common Submarine Radio Room. The conversions also opened the possibility that the submarines could operate unmanned aerial systems and unmanned undersea systems.

In addition, Georgia gained the ability to support a Sea, Air, Land (SEAL) detachment. The SEALs could exit or re-enter the submarine as a group via Missile Tube Nos 1 and 2, which were converted into Lock-in/Lock-out chambers. Two further systems improved her special operations capabilities: the Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS), a dry, mini-submarine designed to deploy from her hull with a SEAL coastal assault team; and a SEAL Delivery Vehicle, which she could house within a dry deck shelter (DDS).

Georgia at the time of her conversion to an SSGN
A photograph of Georgia at the time of her conversion to an SSGN captures her against the backdrop of the majestic mountains of the Pacific Northwest. (U.S. Navy Photograph, Georgia (SSGN-729) Command Operations Report 2004, Ships History, Naval History & Heritage Command)

Georgia’s crest depicts her firing a TLAM. The “Steel Dolphins” symbolize the indomitable spirit of the submariner. The banner contains three Latin words defining her mission as a guided missile submarine: “Incurso” (to Strike); “Furtim” (Stealth); and “Mutatio” (Alternation or Change).

Georgia’s primary mission during the earlier portion of the process was to prove the concept of operations for the future SSGNs, and to generate lessons learned for their employment with joint task forces. The Blue and Gold Crews combined into a single crew on 1 November 2003, and offloaded the submarine’s Trident I C4s (2 November 2003-27 January 2004). Georgia then deployed from Bangor and shifted from the Pacific to the Atlantic Fleets (23 June-24 November 2004). The submarine practiced her proof of operations concept of operations, including close-in littoral surveillance, in Pacific waters (July-early August). She took part in Silent Hammer, an experiment including SEALs and unmanned underwater vehicles, near San Clemente Island, Calif., during two weeks in September. Georgia embarked more than 200 people while testing advanced communications, weapons, and sensors. She then (October) passed through the Panama Canal, assisted attack submarine Precommissioning Unit Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) with her sea trials, and reached Naval Station Norfolk, Va., on 24 November.

Georgia greeted the New Year of 2005 moored at Pier 12 at Norfolk, but shifted to Pier 5 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Va., on 2 February. She completed an engineered refueling overhaul and conversion to an SSGN, principally while in Drydock No. 4 (9 March 2005-2006). Florida, Georgia, Michigan, and Ohio achieved their initial operational capability on 1 November 2007. Georgia reached her new home port of Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., on 15 December. All four guided missile submarines operated at sea simultaneously on 11 March 2008, and Georgia held a ceremony marking her return to service while moored at Kings Bay on 28 March.

Fleet ballistic missile submarine Wyoming (SSBN-742), manned by her Blue Crew, completed Patrol 38 when she returned to Kings Bay on 11 February 2009. Her return from the voyage also marked the successful completion of the 1,000th strategic deterrent patrol by a Trident-equipped submarine. Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead attended the ceremony commemorating the event on 19 February, and the admiral chatted with some of Georgia’s crewmen on board their submarine.

Detailed history under construction.

Mark L. Evans

18 August 2014

Published: Mon Jul 13 09:37:22 EDT 2015