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Louisiana IV (SSBN-743)

1997-

Louisiana was admitted to the Union as the 18th state on 30 April 1812.

The fourth ship named for Louisiana. The first Louisiana, a sloop, served from 1812-1821. The second Louisiana, a screw steamer, served from 1861-1864. The third Louisiana (Battleship No. 19), was reclassified to BB-19 on 17 July 1920, and served from 1906-1920.

Louisiana (BB‑71), a Montana (BB-67) class battleship, was authorized on 19 July 1940 and her construction was assigned to the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va.; but, before her keel was laid, construction was canceled on 21 July 1943.

IV

(SSBN-743: displacement 18,700; length 560'; beam 42'; draft 38'; speed 20+ knots; complement 153; armament 24 UGM-133 Trident II D5 submarine launched ballistic missiles and four torpedo tubes for Mk 48 torpedoes; class Ohio)

The fourth Louisiana (SSBN-743) was laid down on 23 October 1992 at Groton, Conn., by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corp.; launched on 27 July 1996; sponsored by Mrs. Patricia C. O’Keefe, mother of Secretary of the Navy Sean C. O’Keefe; and commissioned on 6 September 1997, Capt. Wilbur O. Cooke (Blue Crew) and Capt. William H. Borger (Gold Crew) in command.

Louisiana (SSBN-743) IV 1997-
Louisiana (SSBN-743) IV 1997- Ship's Seal

Crest

The gold braid encircling the seal represents the eternal commitment of the crew to the values of pride, patriotism, honor, and tradition. The eighteen stars surrounding the crest identify Louisiana as the eighteenth state of the Union, and Louisiana as the eighteenth Trident-equipped submarine. The pelican protects her young with outstretched wings. The state bird, as legend has it, is the only bird known to give its own flesh to feed its young when it is unable to find food. Louisiana defends the red, white, and blue traditionally associated with the United States, and carries the gold, white, and blue of the State of Louisiana to recall her origins. Additionally, the dark blue and gold are traditionally associated with the Navy and represent excellence and the sea, and distinguish the two Louisiana crews. The striking bow-on perspective of a Trident-equipped submarine is bold and steadfast, and serves as a warning of her resolute commitment to defending freedom.

The four stars represent that this is the fourth ship to bear the name Louisiana. The laurel is symbolic of each crewmember’s commitment to service with honor to his country and ship. The Tridents symbolize naval weaponry, both past and present, and sea prowess. Their bottom spikes pierce the state motto, anchoring it, and point toward the ocean depth where Louisiana patrols. An iris with three petals (Fleur-de-lis) served as the armorial emblem of French sovereigns, and is often used as a symbol of the state of Louisiana. Here it represents the French influence on the state of Louisiana. The banner with the inscription “Union, Justice, and Confidence” proclaims the state motto. Wrapping the banner around the submarine symbolizes the crew’s esprit de corps with the people of the state of Louisiana. The crawfish is symbolic of the rich and unique cultural heritage of the people of the state.

Louisiana served initially with Submarine Squadron 16, Submarine Group 10, at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga. She changed her home port from Kings Bay to Naval Submarine Base Bangor, Wash., which she reached on 12 October 2005. The move followed the reassignment of two other Ohio-class fleet ballistic missile submarines, Kentucky (SSBN-737) and Pennsylvania (SSBN-735), to Bangor (24 August-22 November and October-November 2002, respectively). The Navy’s decision resulted in part from converting Ohio-class submarines Florida (SSBN-728), Georgia (SSBN-729), Michigan (SSBN-727), and Ohio (SSBN-726) to guided missile submarines (SSGNs). The shift also equalized the deployment of the remaining Ohio-class boats to seven each in the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets.

Louisiana test fired two Trident II D5 submarine launched ballistic missiles from beneath the Pacific, on 25 August 2008. These launches marked the 123rd and 124th consecutive successful Trident II test shoots since 1989.

Louisiana (SSBN-743) IV 1997- during the Special Sea and Anchor Detail
Sailors balance precariously atop Louisiana during the Special Sea and Anchor Detail while the submarine sails through the waters of the Pacific Northwest (Undated U.S. Navy photograph, Louisiana (SSBN-743) website)
A photograph snapped through Louisiana’s periscope captures people thronging her hull aft. (Undated U.S. Navy photograph, Louisiana (SSBN-743) website)
A photograph snapped through Louisiana’s periscope captures people thronging her hull aft. (Undated U.S. Navy photograph, Louisiana (SSBN-743) website)
Louisiana (SSBN-743) IV 1997-Guests
A pair of curious guests inspect Louisiana while she lies moored. (Undated U.S. Navy photograph, Louisiana (SSBN-743) website)
Louisiana (SSBN-743) IV 1997-Trident II
Louisiana test fires a Trident II D5 submarine launched ballistic missile. (Undated U.S. Navy photograph, Louisiana (SSBN-743) website)

Detailed history under construction.

Mark L. Evans

8 July 2014

Published: Tue Dec 05 14:17:32 EST 2017