Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Michigan III (SSBN-727)

1982-

Michigan was admitted to the Union as the 26th state on 26 January 1837.

The third ship named Michigan. The first Michigan, an iron‑hulled screw steamer, served from 1844-18 (she was renamed Wolverine on 17 June 1905 to free her name for Battleship No. 27). The second Michigan (Battleship No. 27), was reclassified to BB-27 on 17 July 1920, and served from 1910-1923.

III

(SSBN-727: displacement 16,802; 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 third Michigan (SSBN-727) was laid down on 10 April 1976 at Groton, Conn., by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corp.; launched on 26 April 1980; sponsored by Mrs. Margaret G. Nedzi, wife of Representative Lucien N. Nedzi of Mich.; and commissioned on 11 September 1982, Capt. Wayne E. Rickman (Blue Crew) and Capt. Frank M. Conway III (Gold Crew) in command.

Manned by her Gold Crew, Capt. Rickman in command, Michigan shifted from the Atlantic to the Pacific Fleets. She sailed from Port Canaveral, Fla., on 22 February 1983, passed through the Panama Canal on 1 March, crossed the equator on 3 March, and reached her new home port of Naval Submarine Base Bangor, Wash., on 16 March.

The changing strategic picture following the collapse of the East Bloc persuaded Navy leaders to convert the first four Ohio class submarines; Florida (SSBN-728), Georgia (SSBN-729), Michigan (SSBN-727), and Ohio (SSBN-726) to guided missile submarines (SSGNs), principally equipped to fire UGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) through 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, Michigan gained the ability to support a Sea, Air, Land (SEAL) detachment. The SEALs could exit or re-enter the submarine as a group via two of the former Trident missile tubes. Two further systems improved her special operations capabilities: the Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS), a dry, min-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).

Michigan completed 67 strategic deterrent patrols before she was redesignated SSGN-727 on 30 January 2004. The submarine began her conversion, including an engineering refueling overhaul, on 2 February 2004 at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash. Michigan held a ceremony marking her return to service, while moored at Pier Delta, Naval Base Kitsap Bremerton, Wash., on 12 June 2007. Florida, Georgia, Michigan, and Ohio achieved their initial operational capability on 1 November 2007. Michigan completed her certification to operate with the ASDS while sailing in the Hawaiian Operational Areas (3 March-21 May 2008). All four guided missile submarines operated at sea simultaneously on 11 March. Michigan carried out her maiden deployment as a guided missile submarine during a voyage to the Western Pacific (10 November 2008-12 December 2009). Her Blue and Gold Crews exchanged duties in order to lessen the strain on the men and enable the submarine to complete the extended cruise.

Michigan (SSBN-727) III 1982-SSGN capabilities
The Ohio class guided missile submarines offer a variety of tactical alternatives to theater commanders. (Submarines, Media, Chief of Naval Information website)
Michigan (SSBN-727) III 1982-TLAMs
An artist’s rendering of an Ohio class SSGN firing TLAMs. (Submarines, Media, Chief of Naval Information website)
Michigan (SSBN-727) III 1982-100628-N-6016B-002
Rain lashes Michigan as she passes South Korean guided missile destroyer Daejoyoung (DDGHM-977) and enters Busan Naval Operating Base, South Korea, 28 June 2010. (Cmdr. Dale Bopp, U.S. Navy Photograph 100628-N-6016B-002, Navy NewsStand)
Michigan (SSBN-727) III 1982-120613-N-DI599-010
Michigan arrives at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, during a deployment to the Western Pacific, 13 June 2012. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Mercil, U.S. Navy Photograph 120613-N-DI599-010, Commander Submarine Group 7 website)

On 22 June 2015, the Navy announced that per NavAdmin 142/15 "FY16 Enlisted Women in Submarines Selections," the service began reviewing applications from women, representing 31 different ratings from shore and sea commands worldwide, to fill four chief petty officer (E7 paygrade) and 34 rating conversion billets in the paygrades of E6 and below across Michigan's two crews. Sailors from across the fleet applied for the program, and the women were to be selected based upon their peformance in their rating to date, as well their desired submarine rating assignments, Michigan's need to fill billets for the boat's planned rotations where appropriate, and lastly, the service's requirements for rating community health, qualifications, commanding officer's endorsements, sea service time, physical readiness testing, and the similarity of the Sailors' current ratings to their desired submarine ratings. The women were to complete the standard submarine medical screening process, and then train at the Basic Enlisted Submarine School at Groton. The second group of female Sailors were to be assigned to Florida (SSGN-729) at Kings Bay, Ga.

Detailed history under construction.

Mark L. Evans

24 June 2015

Published: Mon Aug 10 10:33:34 EDT 2015