USS Ohio

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Ohio Picture 1    SSGN 726 Coat of Arms    Ohio Picture 2


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.

General Characteristics: 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
Propellers: one
Length: 560 feet (171 meters)
Beam: 42 feet (12.8 meters)
Draft: 36,5 feet (11.1 meters)
Displacement: Surfaced: approx. 16,765 tons
Submerged: approx. 18,750 tons
Speed: 20+ knots
Armament: Tomahawk missiles, Mk-48 torpedoes, four torpedo tubes
Homeport: Bangor, Wash.
Crew: 17 Officers, 15 Chief Petty Officers and 122 Enlisted


More information on the OHIO-class submarines can be found here.


SSBN726 Coat of ArmsI 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 South America.

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).


SSGN726 Coat of Arms

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 been had.

So, with that said, I next went to Nuclear Power Training Unit Charleston, also known as Charleston prototype.