Naval History and Heritage Command

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Olympia II (SSN-717)


The second U.S. Navy ship named for the capital city of the state of Washington. The first Olympia (Cruiser No. 6), a protected cruiser, was reclassified to a heavy cruiser (CA-15) on 17 July 1920, the following year to a light cruiser (CL-15), and to an unclassified miscellaneous auxiliary (IX-40) on 30 June 1931, and served (with some interruptions) from 1895–1957. She is moored at Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia, Pa., and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


(SSN-717: displacement 6,130; length 362'; beam 33'; draft 32'; speed 25 knots; complement 110; armament UGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles, UUM-44 SubRoc antisubmarine missiles, UGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and Mk 48 torpedoes with four torpedo tubes; class Los Angeles)

The second Olympia (SSN-717) was laid down on 31 March 1981 at Newport News, Va., by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.; launched on 30 April 1983; sponsored by Mrs. Dorothy Williams; and commissioned on 17 November 1984, Capt. William C. Hughes Jr., in command.

When Olympia deployed from Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hi., to the Western Pacific, from 17 April–23 October 2003, she took part in multiple exercises including Tandem Thrust, a tri-service, multi-threat exercise in the vicinity of the northern Mariana Islands. Olympia vigorously tested her mettle against the submarines, ships, and aircraft of the Carl Vinson (CVN-70) Carrier Strike Group, and her crewmembers proudly began to refer to their attack boat as the “Silent Spear.”

Olympia II (SSN-717) 1984-111215-N-UK333-030
Olympia accomplishes deperming at the new “drive-in” submarine magnetic silencing facility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hi., 15 December 2012. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ronald Gutridge, U.S. Navy Photograph 111215-N-UK333-030, Navy NewsStand)
Olympia II (SSN-717) 1984-150225-N-DB801-064
Sailors prepare to moor Olympia as she returns to Pearl Harbor from a deployment to the Western Pacific, 25 February 2015. This photograph aptly captures the submarine’s imposing size, and her smooth hull form. Commercial tug Tiger 5 flies both the Hawaiian state and national colors as she assists Olympia. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steven Khor, U.S. Navy Photograph 150225-N-DB801-064, Navy NewsStand)

Detailed history under construction.

Mark L. Evans

5 August 2015

Published: Mon Aug 17 12:21:32 EDT 2015