OK, just to get it out of the way, here's the official stuff:
"USS OHIO is the first TRIDENT - class nuclear powered submarine and the
fourth United States vessel to bear the name of the 17th state of the
union. USS OHIO has already completed more than 50 patrols. On December 9, 2001,
she successfully launched four Trident I C4 missiles.
On November 15, 2003, conversion started to modify the USS OHIO to carry 154
conventional cruise missiles instead of 24 Trident missiles. Conversion was
finished in late 2005, and the OHIO was redesignated SSGN 726. As an SSGN, the
OHIO is now also able to support operations of up to 66 Special Forces Personnel
for up to 90 days. OHIO rejoined the fleet on January 9, 2006.
||Keel Laid: April 10, 1976
|Launched: April 7, 1979
|Commissioned: November 11, 1981
|Builder: General Dynamics Electric Boat
Division, Groton, Conn.
|Propulsion system: one nuclear reactor
|Length: 560 feet (171 meters)
|Beam: 42 feet (12.8 meters)
|Draft: 36,5 feet (11.1 meters)
||Surfaced: approx. 16,765 tons
Submerged: approx. 18,750 tons
|Speed: 20+ knots
|Armament: Tomahawk missiles,
Mk-48 torpedoes, four
|Crew: 17 Officers, 15 Chief Petty Officers
and 122 Enlisted
More information on the OHIO-class submarines can be found
I first arrived to the USS OHIO (SSBN 726) in December of 2001.
I was TAD at the time (temporarily assigned to the boat), and was onboard at the
time of the launching of the afore-mentioned missiles. It's a really cool
experience to be in the missile compartment standing by one of the missile tubes
when one of those babies are launched. Not earth-shattering or
life-altering, but cool nonetheless.
Later, in January of 2002, I was
officially stationed on the OHIO. Being in King's Bay, Georgia, at the
time, we had to go around South America to return to our homeport in Bangor,
Washington. During that patrol, I, along with the rest of the crew, went
through the Shellback ceremony when we crossed the equator (thus transforming us
from slimy Pollywogs into mighty Shellbacks), and earned the Order of the
Spanish Main when we went around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of
My second patrol was a typical "boomer" patrol. We went out into the
Pacific Ocean and made quiet holes in the ocean. During that time, I
qualified Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOOW), so I stood a lot of watch in
Maneuvering making sure the nuclear reactor, and the associated watchstanders,
were behaving properly. At the end of the patrol, we had an ORSE
(Operational Reactor Safeguards Evaluation), in which members of the Navy
version of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, known as Naval Reactors, made sure
we could effectively handle the reactor and any casualties that might happen to
it. Luckily, I did not have to participate in the ORSE, with the exception
of taking the written test. I am glad, maybe even proud, that I have not
been an ORSE EOOW.
It was after the second patrol that we went into the shipyard at Puget Sound
Naval Shipyard, located in Bremerton, Washington, in order to convert the boat
from a Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN) to a Guided Missile Submarine (SSGN).
During the shipyard conversion, I went TAD to the USS Georgia (SSBN 729) to
qualify Officer of the Deck (OOD), and Submarines. I then went TAD to the
USS Henry M Jackson (SSBN 730) as a post-OOD proficiency patrol, bringing my
total number of Junior Officer (JO) patrols to 4.
The shipyard period started in November of 2002. When I left the boat to
go to the Charleston prototype in January 2005, it was about 6 months from sea
trials. I would say that being in the shipyard is the greatest thing when
attached to a submarine, but that would be lying. I hated the shipyard.
Yeah, you go home every night (except when you have duty), but the arduous
torment of dealing with the shipyard extinguished all good times that could have
So, with that said, I next went to Nuclear Power Training Unit Charleston, also
known as Charleston prototype.