USS Lafayette SSBN 616


USS Lafayette SSBN 616

Photos and information courtesy of:
  • Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
  • NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08616.htm
  • Navigation Information Bulletin (NIB), A US Navy Special Projects Office Publication.
  • David Barth, ETR2(SS), Plank Owner, USS Lafayette SSBN 616, Blue Crew.
Edited by David Barth 19 May 2012.

Eleventh FBM Ordered of the 41 for Freedom
USS Lafayette (SSBN-616) was the eleventh Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) submarine to be built by the United States, the lead ship of her class, and the third ship of the United States Navy to be named to honor Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834), a French military hero who fought with and significantly aided the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.

Lafayette became one of the 41 for Freedom, FBM boats that would protect the United States through some of the most challenging events of the Cold War, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs disaster, and the murder of President Kennedy.

Keel Laying
Lafayette's keel was laid down on 17 January 1961 by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics in Groton, Connecticut. Electrical power was supplied by nuclear submarine Nautilus (SSN 571), specifically for the keel-laying ceremony. French Ambassador to the United States, Herve Alphand, was present.

Launching:
Jacqueline Kennedy christening Lafayette
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, attired in a chartreuse Oleg Cassini coat and matching Breton hat, breaks the ceremonial bottle of champagne on a skeg beneath the bow of Lafayette (SSBN-616) during the launching ceremony at Groton on 8 May 1962, while Capt. Tazewell T. Shepard, Jr., (Naval Aide to the President) and Roger Lewis, President and Chief Executive Officer of General Dynamics Corp., look on. Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, the wife of President John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, said first in English, "I christen thee Lafayette", and then, in French, "Je te baptise Lafayette".
[USN photo # BN 1061173 courtesy of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia].


Commissioning: Lafayette was commissioned 23 April 1963 at Groton, Connecticut, with Commander P. J. Hannifin in command of the Blue Crew and Commander James T. Strong in command of the Gold Crew.

Captain Patrick J. Hannifin Blue Crew Commander
Captain Patrick J. Hannifin, USS Lafayette SSBN 616, Blue Crew.
[Photograph taken around 1965 by David Barth, ETR2(SS), Plank Owner, USS Lafayette SSBN 616, Blue Crew, on a flight from Rota, Spain back to the U.S. following a patrol] [Please send corrections/updates to dvbarth@aol.com].


Of the five classes of FBM, the George Washington Class, built from modified nuclear attack submarine (SSN) components, was different from the following four classes because of the SSN design influence. The SSN mission profile was much different from that of an FBM boat.

Attack submarine hulls were used for the fore and aft sections with a new, more robust missile compartment added in the middle. The missile compartments were designed and built to withstand higher pressures at deeper depths to accomodate future, purpose-built articles (the boats of the following four classes) than the fore and aft sections of the SSNs which were limited to a published test depth of 700 feet.

Drawings made from photographs of the interior machinery space of the USS Robert E. Lee (SSBN-601) show some of the attack submarine features retained from SSN design:
  • Diesel Engine to charge batteries (assumes that a snorkel was also part of the design to enable the boat to run the engine while submerged). The hold-over of a diesel engine may have been a fear that the relatively new nuclear power plant design might not be as reliable as it turned out to be.
  • Conning Tower above the operations area of the boat (a traditional arrangement that goes back to the very early diesel boats).
  • More emphasis on electronic counter measures (ECM) equipment and training because SSNs tend to go in close to enemy shores and ships to snoop and have a need to counter enemy detection means.
  • Six torpedo tubes in the forward room compared to only four for purpose-built FBMs.

SSN Mission:
In essence, SSNs went "looking for trouble," trying to acquire as much intellignece as possilble from an enemy land mass (radar signatures, port operations, ship arrivals and departures, coastal defences, communications, etc.) as well as from a enemy surface ships and submarines (their noise signatures, areas of operations, operational techniques, etc.). In addition, they kept track of enemy ships and submarines so that those could be neutralized in the event of war.

FBM Mission:
The FBMs were meant to stay out of the way, to maintain stealth, and to be ready to launch at a moment's notice, without any outside entaglements or encumbrances, when ordered to do so by the National Command Authority (NCA), normally, the President. After all of the missile tubes were empty, an FBM would revert to an SSN role, and due to the 1972 SALT 1 Treaty, as FBMs aged, many were converted to the fulfill the SSN mission.

The 1972 SALT I Treaty (Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty) limited the number of submarine-launched ballistic missiles to 656, which could fit aboard forty-one FBM submarines, which became known as the "41 for Freedom".

The first of the "41 for Freedom" submarines was the USS George Washington (SSBN-598), commissioned on 30 December 1959. The last submarine commissioned for the "41 for Freedom" submarines was the USS Will Rogers (SSBN-659) commissioned 1 April 1967. The Will Rigers was formally decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 12 April 1993, though she was not the last FBM submarine decommissioned.

In July 1992, USS Kamehameha (SSBN-642) was converted to a SEAL [Sea, Air, and Land] special warfare platform and was outfitted with a drydeck shelter/swimmer delivery platform. Kamehameha was decommissioned on 2 April 2002, the last ship of the original "41 for Freedom" and the oldest submarine in the United States Navy. Almost 37 years old, she held the record for the longest service lifetime of any nuclear powered submarine.

Other FBMs that were too old to fit newer missiles, such as the Poseidon or Trident, had their missile tubes disabled and assumed the designation and role of SSN, attack submarines.

This is a list of the five Nuclear Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines classes that made up the "41 for Freedom:"


  • George Washington class
    • USS George Washington (SSBN-598)
    • USS Patrick Henry (SSBN-599)
    • USS Theodore Roosevelt (SSBN-600)
    • USS Robert E. Lee (SSBN-601)
    • USS Abraham Lincoln (SSBN-602)

  • Ethan Allen class
    • USS Ethan Allen (SSBN-608)
    • USS Sam Houston (SSBN-609)
    • USS Thomas A. Edison (SSBN-610)
    • USS John Marshall (SSBN-611)
    • USS Thomas Jefferson (SSBN-618)

  • Lafayette class
    • USS Lafayette (SSBN-616)
    • USS Alexander Hamilton (SSBN-617)
    • USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619)
    • USS John Adams (SSBN-620)
    • USS James Monroe (SSBN-622)
    • USS Nathan Hale (SSBN-623)
    • USS Woodrow Wilson (SSBN-624)
    • USS Henry Clay (SSBN-625)
    • USS Daniel Webster (SSBN-626)

  • James Madison class
    • USS James Madison (SSBN-627)
    • USS Tecumseh (SSBN-628)
    • USS Daniel Boone (SSBN-629)
    • USS John C. Calhoun (SSBN-630)
    • USS Ulysses S. Grant (SSBN-631)
    • USS Von Steuben (SSBN-632)
    • USS Casimir Pulaski (SSBN-633)
    • USS Stonewall Jackson (SSBN-634)
    • USS Sam Rayburn (SSBN-635)
    • USS Nathanael Greene (SSBN-636)

  • Benjamin Franklin class
    • USS Benjamin Franklin (SSBN-640) converted to carry the Trident C-4 ballistic missile
    • USS Simon Bolivar (SSBN-641) converted to carry the Trident C-4 ballistic missile
    • USS Kamehameha (SSBN-642)
    • USS George Bancroft (SSBN-643) converted to carry the Trident C-4 ballistic missile
    • USS Lewis and Clark (SSBN-644)
    • USS James K. Polk (SSBN-645)
    • USS George C. Marshall (SSBN-654)
    • USS Henry L. Stimson (SSBN-655) converted to carry the Trident C-4 ballistic missile
    • USS George Washington Carver (SSBN-656)
    • USS Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657) converted to carry the Trident C-4 ballistic missile
    • USS Mariano G. Vallejo (SSBN-658) converted to carry the Trident C-4 ballistic missile
    • USS Will Rogers (SSBN-659)
Badge:
USS Lafayette SSBN 616 Badge
USS Lafayette SSBN 616 Badge
[Photograph provided by David Barth, ETR2(SS), Plank Owner, USS Lafayette SSBN 616, Blue Crew].


25 Year Anniversary Badge:
USS Lafayette SSBN 616 25 Year Anniversary Badge
USS Lafayette SSBN 616 25 Year Anniversary Badge.
[Photograph provided by David Barth, ETR2(SS), Plank Owner, USS Lafayette SSBN 616, Blue Crew].


Stainless Steel Belt Buckle, a gift to Lafayette Plank Owners from the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation during outfitting of Lafayette prior to sea trials in 1963.
USS Lafayette SSBN 616 Buckle made by the yard at Electric Boat
USS Lafayette SSBN 616 Buckle presented to Plank Owners by Electric Boat.
[Photograph provided by David Barth, ETR2(SS), Plank Owner, USS Lafayette SSBN 616, Blue Crew].


616 Lafayette Commemorative Letter dated 30 Novmeber 1964
Commemorative postal cover issued on the occasion of the Lafayette's (SSBN-616) launching at the Electric Boat Div. of General Dynamics, Corp., Groton, CT., 8 May 1962.
[Courtesy of Jack Treutle].


616 Lafayette Commemorative Letter dated 30 Novmeber 1964
616 Lafayette Commemorative Letter dated 30 Novmeber 1964, mailed to crewmembers and VIPs from the USS Holland AS-32 Submarine Tender.
[Photograph provided by David Barth, ETR2(SS), Plank Owner, USS Lafayette SSBN 616, Blue Crew].


616 Lafayette Commemorative Letter dated 30 Novmeber 1964
616 Lafayette Commemorative Letter dated 30 Novmeber 1964, mailed to crewmembers and VIPs from the USS Holland AS-32 Submarine Tender.
[Photograph provided by David Barth, ETR2(SS), Plank Owner, USS Lafayette SSBN 616, Blue Crew].


616 Lafayette Commemorative Letter dated 30 Novmeber 1964
616 Lafayette Commemorative Letter dated 30 Novmeber 1964, mailed to crewmembers and VIPs from the USS Holland AS-32 Submarine Tender.
[Photograph provided by David Barth, ETR2(SS), Plank Owner, USS Lafayette SSBN 616, Blue Crew].


616 Lafayette Commemorative Letter dated 30 Novmeber 1964
616 Lafayette Commemorative Letter dated 30 Novmeber 1964, mailed to crewmembers and VIPs from the USS Holland AS-32 Submarine Tender.
[Photograph provided by David Barth, ETR2(SS), Plank Owner, USS Lafayette SSBN 616, Blue Crew].


616 Lafayette Commemorative Stamp on Letter dated 30 Novmeber 1964
616 Lafayette Commemorative Stamp on Letter dated 30 Novmeber 1964, mailed to crewmembers and VIPs from the USS Holland AS-32 Submarine Tender.
[Photograph provided by David Barth, ETR2(SS), Plank Owner, USS Lafayette SSBN 616, Blue Crew].


616 Lafayette Commemorative Stamp on Letter dated 30 Novmeber 1964
616 Lafayette Commemorative Stamp on Letter dated 30 Novmeber 1964, mailed to crewmembers and VIPs from the USS Holland AS-32 Submarine Tender.
[Photograph provided by David Barth, ETR2(SS), Plank Owner, USS Lafayette SSBN 616, Blue Crew].


Ballistic Missile Launches
Lafayette departed Groton for shakedown training and missile trials off Cape Canaveral, Florida. After a shakedown in the Caribbean Sea, Lafayette loaded Polaris ballistic missiles at Charleston, South Carolina, and during June 1963 sailed to Cape Canaveral, Florida, for ballistic missile maneuvers.

On 2 July 1963, the new ballistic missile submarine fired four A-2 Polaris missiles, two fired by the Blue Crew and two by the Gold. Of those four evolutions, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of the Navy Fred Korth, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Maxwell D. Taylor, accompanied by Rear Admiral Ignatius J. "Pete" Galantin, Director of Special Projects, witnessed two. "I was very impressed by the high degree of training and morale of the crew of the Lafayette," Secretary MacNamara declared upon his return to Washington later that day. He added, "I was also favorably impressed by the high degree of perfection in the mechanism involved in the Polaris weapon system."

Returning to Groton on 2 August 1963, Lafayette underwent post-shakedown availability where the two crews alternately took her through a series of exercises before she took her place in the Navy's expanding fleet ballistic missile submarines.

Operational history:
Following post shakedown, Lafayette loaded out for her maiden Strategic Deterrent patrol with the blue crew led by Captain Patrick J. Hannifin.

Captain Patrick J. Hannifin, USS Lafayette SSBN 616
Captain Patrick J. Hannifin, USS Lafayette SSBN 616 Blue Crew, at the airport in Rota, Spain with the Blue Crew, preparing for the flight back to the U.S. It is beleived that this photo was taken just after Hannifin had been promoted to Captain. Subsequently, he attended the Naval War College and was assigned to the Pentagon. He later was promoted to Vice Admiral and retired after 35 years in the Navy. [Please send corrections/updates to dvbarth@aol.com].
[Photograph taken around 1965 by David Barth, ETR2(SS), Plank Owner, USS Lafayette SSBN 616, Blue Crew].


Lafayette departed Charleston on 4 January 1964 for her first deterrent patrol in the Atlantic Ocean. During the next four years, Lafayette made 16 deterrent patrols out of Rota, Spain. Her 15th patrol, the 400th of the Polaris submarine fleet, won Lafayette special commendation from Secretary of the Navy Paul Nitze. She returned to Charleston from her 16th patrol on 23 August 1967. A week later, she arrived at Newport News, Virginia, for a major overhaul by Newport News Shipbuilding to prepare for future service. On 28 December 1968, Lafayette's overhaul officially ended and in January 1969, she once again took up her position with the fleet.

On 18 May 1969, Lafayette departed Charleston, S.C., for her 17th Polaris patrol, and before the year was out, logged two more such evolutions. During 1970, she conducted four more (Patrols 20-23 inclusive). Lafayette, her Gold Crew on board, departed on Patrol 24 in January 1971, returning in March to Rota whereupon the Blue Crew prepared for Patrol 25, departing in April and returning in June. Subsequently, the Gold Crew conducted Patrol 26 from July until September. On 1 September, Lafayette launched five Polaris A-2 missiles; the boat's performance during the ensuing "operation of great importance to the United States Government [1-30 September 1971]," during which time she "maintained an impressively high state of readiness and demonstrated conclusively the effectiveness and dependability of the Fleet Ballistic Missile System...attested to the professional competence, technical skill and sustained team effort" of Lafayette's Gold Crew, earning them a Meritorious Unit Commendation (awarded 11 May 1973). Soon thereafter, the Blue Crew carried out Patrol 27. Upon Lafayette's return in October, the Gold Crew made ready for Patrol 28, departing in December.

During the first few months of 1972, Lafayette successfully completed and undertook three Polaris patrols, as well as transited from Rota to New London, Connecticut. Following her arrival at the latter port, she performed weekly operations in support of Commander Submarine Force, Atlantic's, Second-Class Midshipmen Submarine Summer Indoctrination, continuing until September, during which time she provided underway training for over 1,000 midshipmen. Rear Admiral Paul J. Early, Commander Submarine Flotilla 2, later commended Lafayette for her "careful preparation and superb execution which characterized your participating in this vital program. Midshipmen reaction was consistently favorable. Such a response is clear evidence of a sustained, dedicated effort on the part of the Commanding Officer and Crew and reflects admirable standards of leadership and performance."

Dr. Franklin B. Lincoln Jr., a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, toured Lafayette on 27 June and received a briefing "on the operations and conditions aboard [sic] a Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine." On 23 August, the boat hosted a large group of students from the Naval War College, Newport, R.I., "for the purpose of [their] obtaining insight into the operational capabilities and limitations, manning and habitability of the modern FBM submarine." Mr. Leif Leifland, Minister Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary to the Royal Swedish Embassy embarked for a tour on 2 October; Rear Admiral Edwin E. McMorries (SC), Commanding Officer, Ships Parts Control Center, Mechanicsburg, Pa., visited the boat on 3 October; two days later, author Joseph M. Duckert visited Lafayette in the course of gathering information "for his latest book, Nuclear Ships of the World."

Having completed sound trials, Lafayette conducted a weapons off-load to prepare for entrance into the Electric Boat yard for what was slated to be an 18-month overhaul and conversion to enable her to employ the new Poseidon missile. Following that, the Blue and Gold Crews combined into a single overhaul crew on 6 October 1972, Lafayette entering the shipyard on the 13th.

Lafayette lay in the yard for the remainder of 1972 and all of 1973, and ultimately emerged from her conversion work at Electric Boat ("schedule slippage [due to] work force dilution at these yards [Electric Boat and Newport News] which have high current and projected workload") on 7 November 1974.

She then embarked Vice Admiral Joe Williams, Jr., Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, who observed post-overhaul shakedown training (24-29 November).

On 16 December, while operating out of Port Canaveral, Lafayette's Blue Crew conducted the successful launch of a Poseidon C-3 missile as part of her post-availability shakedown, making Lafayette the first of her class to fire one of those weapons. Rear Admiral Levering Smith, Director, Strategic Systems Project Office, Rear Admiral Albert L. Kelln, Commander, Submarine Group 6, and Brig. Gen. J. H. Ahmann, Commander, Air Force Eastern Test Range, witnessed the test.

A Poseidon C-3 (UGM-73A) missile is launched from the nuclear-powered strategic missile submarine Lafayette 
(SSBN-616) on 2 Sep 1983.
A Poseidon C-3 (UGM-73A) missile is launched from the nuclear-powered strategic missile submarine Lafayette (SSBN-616) on 2 Sep 1983.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08616.htm. USN photo # DF-SC-84-08113 & text from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil].


The Blue Crew completed post-overhaul shakedown training on 21 January 1975 having visited Charleston, S.C., Port Canaveral, Fla., and Exuma Sound, Bahamas, during the course of those evolutions; relieved by the Gold Crew at Charleston, the latter conducted their post-overhaul shakedown training, conducting Weapons System Accuracy Trials (WSAT) at St. Croix, Virgin Islands, and Mk. 48 Torpedo Certification in Exuma Sound.

Following another crew exchange at Charleston, the Blue Crew carried out Mk. 48 Torpedo Certification in Exuma Sound, and took Lafayette to Groton for an eight-month post-conversion availability. Returning to Charleston to exchange crews, Lafayette conducted two more patrols, 31 and 32, to round out the year.

During the first half of 1976, Lafayette carried out Patrols 33 (Gold) and 34 (Blue) from Holy Loch; her Gold Crew conducted Patrol 35, carrying out evolutions in the eastern Atlantic, after which time the boat fired a Mk. 48 torpedo proficiency in the Tongue of the Ocean, Bahamas. Following the Blue Crew's conducting the next refit at Charleston, Lafayette conducted torpedo proficiency work in the Tongue of the Ocean, and local operations off the eastern seaboard, then Patrol 36. The Gold Crew relieved the Blue at Holy Loch in January 1977, and the two crews alternated conducting Poseidon deterrent patrols (37-40) from that site. In June of that year (1977), Lafayette, to demonstrate "the continuing effectiveness of the Fleet Ballistic Missile weapon system," launched two Poseidon missiles in an operational test.

Lafayette completed Patrols 41 and 42 in the first half of 1978. Patrol 41 included operations in the Eastern Atlantic followed by an Mk. 48 torpedo proficiency firing period at the AUTEC range near Bermuda. Subsequently, the Blue Crew conducted refit at Charleston, after which Lafayette performed Mk. 48 torpedo proficiency firings at the AUTEC range and midshipman training out of New London and Charleston.

Relieving the Blue Crew at Holy Loch, the Gold Crew conducted a refit there, thereafter carrying out Patrol 43. Following that, the Blue Crew relieved the Gold Crew in December. The New Year 1979 saw the crews completing Patrols 44 and 45. Thereafter, refit periods took place in Holy Loch. Patrols 46 and 47 took place in the second half of the year; 46 included operations in the Eastern Atlantic followed by an Mk. 48 torpedo proficiency firing period at the AUTEC range near Bermuda, with the Gold Crew conducting a subsequent refit in King's Bay, Georgia. Upon completion of the refit, the Gold Crew again conducted an Mk. 48 torpedo proficiency firing at the AUTEC range near Bermuda, after which they enjoyed a port call at Port Canaveral, Florida.

For the first eleven months of 1980, Lafayette conducted Patrols 48, 49 and 50, interspersed with refits at Holy Loch. In December, the combined crew refitted the boat at Groton. In the early January 1981, she hosted a dependents cruise from New London to Norfolk, Virginia. Subsequently, Lafayette got underway for Patrol 51. In February, she completed a missile offload in Charleston in preparation for arriving at the shipyard on 2 March, and on the 6th, entered the newly constructed dry dock at Newport News for an extended refuelling overhaul. She then spent the rest of 1982 in Newport News.

On 23 April 1983, Lafayette celebrated the 20th anniversary of her commissioning. Although the ship had already completed Alpha and Bravo sea trials while in the shipyard, a change of command ceremony held on 20 May officially welcomed her back into the operational fleet. Both crews subsequently completed a shakedown period consisting of an Operational Reactor Safeguards Examination (ORSE), a Mk. 48 torpedo certification, a demonstration and shakedown operation and a Nuclear Weapons Acceptance Inspection. Following this, on 28 December, the Gold crew began a post-overhaul upkeep in Charleston, awaiting deployment for Patrol 52. Throughout 1984, she participated in operations in conjunction with Submarine Squadron 14 (to which she had been reassigned), based at Holy Loch.

Lafayette began 1985 with a refit at Holy Loch in preparation for Patrol 56, after which the Gold Crew achieved superior results on the ORSE. Subsequently, the Blue Crew completed a refit and Patrol 57, which included a Tactical Readiness Evaluation and a Navy Technical Proficiency Inspection at its conclusion. The Gold Crew relieved the Blue in June, refitting the ship and thereafter conducting Patrol 58, at the end of which they passed a Defense Nuclear Surety Inspection, a Navy Technical Proficiency Inspection and a Tactical Readiness Evaluation. Following that, the Blue Crew refitted the boat and executed Patrol 59.

On 30 January 1986, while moored alongside the large auxiliary floating dry dock Los Alamos (AFDB-7), Lafayette suffered serious damage during high winds. Docked in Los Alamos with less than 24-hour notice (for which the dry dock received a letter of appreciation), Lafayette underwent repairs (1-25 February) which delayed the start of her patrol. After completion of the necessary work, the Gold Crew took the boat out for Patrol 60, with the crew passing an ORSE. The Blue Crew then completed a refit and got underway for Patrol 61, and following this, completed a Tactical Readiness Evaluation and a Navy Technical Proficiency Inspection. By July, the Gold Crew was again on board, undertaking Patrol 62, and thereafter, conducted an unscheduled ORSE and a Tactical Readiness Evaluation. Relieving them in November, the Blue Crew, after completion of a refit, commenced Patrol 63.

Upon completion of Patrol 63, Lafayette transited to Charleston Weapons Station on 20 February 1987 and, after shipyard maintenance, departed Charleston for Patrol 64. While egressing the port, she was slightly off course and technically ran aground, even though it was just dragging the rudder through the mud. She was ordered to moor at Charleston Navy Base pending a Board of Inquiry. Three days later, she set sail and performed Patrols 64 to 66, (20 February-27 May, 28 May-5 September, 6 September-15 December respectively) returning to Holy Loch to refit. Subsequently, she got underway on 16 December for Patrol 67, during which she enjoyed a port visit in Lisbon, Portugal, from 24-29 February 1988. Underway on 25 March for Patrol 68, she returned to Holy Loch on 1 July. The following day, she commenced Patrol 69, returning on 11 October for refit, venturing out on 12 October to begin Patrol 70.

Subsequent to her completion of Patrol 70 on 19 January 1989, Lafayette stood out again on the 20th for Patrol 71 returning on 28 April. Following this, she commenced Patrol 72 on the 29th, during which she made the first port visit of an American submarine to Brest, France, where she participated in the Bastille Day celebrations. Following her return to Holy Loch on 6 August, the boat commenced Patrol 73 the next day. Completing Patrol 73 on 8 November, and Patrol 74 on 22 February 1990, Lafayette conducted a warm water refit at King's Bay, then conducted Patrol 75, during the course of which she celebrated the 27th anniversary of her commissioning. Competing Patrol 75 on 12 May 1990, she completed her 76th, and last, patrol on 20 September 1990.

During a change of command ceremony at Groton on 5 October 1990, Lafayette became a one-crew submarine with the combination/transfer of the Blue and Gold Crews. Exhibiting her ability to continue to be "an exceptionally quiet and capable platform," she subsequently exercised with attack submarine Boston, and ultimately returned to Groton on 19 December 1990 to prepare for her interfleet transfer to Bremerton, Washington, under the operational control of Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, under the administrative control of Commander Submarine Group 9 for inactivation.

Deactivation, decommissioning, and disposal
Deactivated while still in commission on 1 March 1991, Lafayette was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 12 August 1991. She entered the Navy's Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at Bremerton, Washington, the day she was stricken. On 25 February 1992, with recycling complete, Lafayette no longer existed as an entity and was classed as scrapped.

Career:
Name: USS Lafayette
Namesake: Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette (1757-1834), a French hero of the American Revolutionary War
Ordered: 22 July 1960
Builder: General Dynamics Electric Boat
Laid down: 17 January 1961
Launched: 8 May 1962
Sponsored by: Jacqueline Kennedy (1929-1994)
Commissioned: 23 April 1963
Decommissioned: 12 August 1991
Struck: 12 August 1991
Fate: Entered Ship-Submarine Recycling Program 12 August 1991; recycling completed 25 February 1992

General characteristics:
Class and type: Lafayette-class submarine
Type: Ballistic missile submarine (hull design SCB-216)
Displacement: 7,250 long tons (7,370 t) surfaced; 8,250 long tons (8,380 t) submerged
Length: 425 ft (130 m)
Beam: 33 ft (10 m)
Draft: 31 ft 6 in (9.60 m)
Propulsion:
  • 1 x S5W reactor
  • 2xGeneral Electric geared turbines=15,000 shp (11,000 kW)
Speed:
  • 20 knots (37 km/h) surfaced
  • 25 knots (46 km/h) submerged
Complement: Two crews (Blue Crew and Gold), 13 officers and 130 enlisted men, each Sensors and processing systems: BQS-4 sonar Armament:
  • 4 x 21 in (530 mm) Mark 65 torpedo tubes with Mark 113 firecontrol system, for Mark 48 torpedoes
  • 16 x vertical tubes for Polaris or Poseidon ballistic missiles
Commander Patrick J. Hannifin and Commander Lando W. Zech, Jr.
Commander Patrick J. Hannifin and Commander Lando W. Zech, Jr., look at paperwork while standing on the Polaris submarine Lafayette (SSBN-616), under construction.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08616.htm. U.S. Navy Photo courtesy of Bill Gonyo].


USS Lafayette SSBN 616
Dock workers adorned with hard hats watch as the Lafayette's (SSBN-616) officers salute the national ensign as she slides down the launching ramp at the Electric Boat Div. of General Dynamics, Corp., Groton, CT., 8 May 1962.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08616.htm. USN photo courtesy of pelicanharborsubvets.com].


USS Lafayette SSBN 616
Lafayette (SSBN-616) sliding down the building ways at the Elrctric Boat yard moments after being christened by Mrs. John F. Kennedy.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08616.htmGeneral Dynamics/Electric Boat photo from The American Submarine, by Norman Polmar, submitted by Robert Hurst].


USS Lafayette SSBN 616
A Sailor Reports for Duty to the USS Lafayette SSBN 616.
[Courtesy of the Navigation Information Bulletin (NIB), A US Navy Special Projects Office Publication].


USS Lafayette SSBN 616
Lafayette (SSBN-616) is pictured here undergoing an extended refit before patrol in 1969 while in the floating dry dock at Holy Loch, Scotland.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08616.htm. US Navy Photo and text submitted by Roy Grossinger, former ELT].


USS Lafayette SSBN 616
1974/5 photo of the Lafayette (SSBN-616) leaving Port Canaveral for a missile launch following its Poseidon conversion in the early seventies. That huge mast on top of the sail was called the T.I. mast (for telemetry indicating) and the tip of it would be visible above the sea's surface during launch. It was of course welded on for the sole purpose of the test.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08616.htm. Photo courtesy of Randall McCabe].


USS Lafayette SSBN 616
The Lafayette (SSBN-616) with bunting attached to her bow. The date is 6 March 1981 and the occasion is Lafayette being the first vessel to enter the brand new Dry Dock 4 at Newport News Shipbuilding to begin a refueling overhaul.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08616.htm. U.S. Navy Photo courtesy of dr-self.com & submitted by Bill Gonyo. Photo i.d. courtesy of Philip D. Tuckey].


USS Lafayette SSBN 616
Lafayette (SSBN-616) underway.
[Courtesy of the Navigation Information Bulletin (NIB), A US Navy Special Projects Office Publication].


USS Lafayette SSBN 616
A starboard bow view of the nuclear-powered strategic missile submarine Lafayette (SSBN-616) underway, 1 Feb 1991.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08616.htm. USN photo # DN-ST-91-05221 by PH2 Klenkefus, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil].


USS Lafayette SSBN 616
Lafayette (SSBN-616), underway, date and place unknown.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08616.htm. US Navy Photo].


USS Lafayette SSBN 616
The sun goes down on the Lafayette (SSBN-616) in this photo believed to have been taken during sea trials in 1963.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08616.htm. Official US Navy photo courtesy of Wendell Royce McLaughlin Jr.].


USS Lafayette SSBN 616
An overhead bow view of the nuclear-powered strategic missile submarine Lafayette (SSBN-616) underway off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii on 1 Feb 1991.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08616.htm. Official U.S. Navy Photograph # DN-ST-91-05229 from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil & submitted by Bill Gonyo].


USS Lafayette SSBN 616
An aerial view of four Lafayette class (SSBN-616) nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines in the early stages of being scrapped out in a graving dock at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Washington, 17 May 1993.

The Lafayette (SSBN-616) and Ulysses S. Grant (SSBN-631) are most likely the two on the port side. They were the first two boats of this class to be decommissioned. The next two boats to be decommissioned were the John Adams (SSBN-620) and Tecumseh (SSBN-628), and they might be the two on the starboard side.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08618.htm. USN photo # DN-ST-95-01860 by Calvin Larsen, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil].


The Other Members of the Lafayette Class:
USS Alexander Hamilton SSBN 617
USS Alexander Hamilton SSBN 617.
[Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia].


USS Andrew Jackson SSBN 619
USS Andrew Jackson SSBN 619.
[Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia].


USS John Adams SSBN 620
USS John Adams SSBN 620.

[Courtesy Navigation Information Bulletin (NIB), A US Navy Special Projects Office Publication]. (See a separate web page for USS John Adams SSBN 620).


USS James Monroe SSBN 622
A starboard bow view of the nuclear-powered strategic missile submarine James Monroe (SSBN-622) underway, 1 Feb 1991.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08622.htm.
Defense Visual Information Center photo # DN-ST-91-05223, by L. S. Ever, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil].


USS James Monroe SSBN 622
James Monroe (SSBN-622) during her alpha trials off the Atlantic coast, taken on 4 November 1963.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08622.htm.
USN photo # USN 1111912 courtesy of Charles Lamm via Gary Priolo].


USS James Monroe SSBN 622
Commissioning of the James Monroe (SSBN-622), 7 December 1963, at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Virginia.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08622.htm.
USN photo # NPC 1136988, courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com].


USS Nathan Hale SSBN 623
USS Nathan Hale (SSBN-623) at AUTEC [Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center] around 1981.
[Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia].


USS Woodrow Wilson SSBN 624
USS Woodrow Wilson SSBN 624 with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, 3 January 1964.
[Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia].


USS Woodrow Wilson SSBN 624
RADM L. V. Honsinger, USN, Shipyard Commander of Mare Island Naval Shipyard, authenticates the keel of Woodrow Wilson (SSBN-624) on 13 September 1961.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08624.htm.
U.S. Navy photo # NY9 52476-9-61, courtesy of Darryl Baker].


USS Woodrow Wilson SSBN 624
The sail of the Woodrow Wilson (SSBN-624) is gift-wrapped for her commissioning at Mare Island on 27 December 1963.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08624.htm.
U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Darryl Baker].


USS Woodrow Wilson SSBN 624
Woodrow Wilson (SSBN-624) departs the Golden Gate on her maiden voyage after her commissioning at Mare Island on 27 December 1963.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08624.htm.
U.S. Navy photo # MSA 61946-1-64, courtesy of Darryl Baker].


USS Woodrow Wilson SSBN 624
This oil-on-canvas painting by artist James E. Mitchell entitled "DASO [Demonstration and Shakedown Operation] off Cape Kennedy Florida" pictures an A-3 Polaris fired from Woodrow Wilson (SSBN-624) on October 15, 1969 with ships Lowery (DD-770) and Observation Island (AG-154) in the background.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08624.htm.
Painting # 70-731-B. Courtesy of the USNHC].


USS Woodrow Wilson SSBN 624
Woodrow Wilson (SSBN-624), underway, during sea trials off the coast of Virginia following installation of Posiden C-3 missile capability at Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Newport News, Virginia, October 1975.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08624.htm.
Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock photo by Lloyd Everton, Supervisor of Photography at Newport News Shipbuilding, courtesy of Eric Dahlstrom.


USS Henry Clay SSBN 625
The Henry Clay (SSBN-625) underway 6 Dec 1967.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08625.htm.
Official US Navy Photograph # USN-1122741 from the US Naval Photographic Center, submitted by Robert M. Cieri].


USS Henry Clay SSBN 625
Henry Clay (SSBN-625) moored alongside Hunley (AS-31) in Holy Loch, Scotland, circa 1983.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08625.htm. Courtesy of boomer.user-services.com (Gerald A. Pollack), photo submitted by Mike Scheppke].


USS Henry Clay SSBN 625
Henry Clay (SSBN-625), date and place unknown.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08625.htm.
US Navy Photo].


USS Daniel Webster SSBN 626
Bow on view of the Daniel Webster (SSBN-626) during tests of her diving planes in April 1964. The idea behind the bow planes was to reduce the effect of porpoising, but they increased water resistance and lowered her overall speed. They were subsequently removed during a refit between 1976-78.
[Courtesy Navigation Information Bulletin (NIB), A US Navy Special Projects Office Publication.


USS Daniel Webster SSBN 626
Bow on view of the Daniel Webster (SSBN-626) during tests of her diving planes in April 1964. The idea behind the bow planes was to reduce the effect of porpoising, but they increased water resistance and lowered her overall speed. They were subsequently removed during a refit between 1976-78.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08626.htm. Partial text courtesy of Bill Roberts CDR, USN (Ret). US Navy photo # NPC 711453 courtesy Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com].


USS Daniel Webster SSBN 626
A port quarter view of the nuclear-powered strategic missile submarine Daniel Webster (SSBN-626) underway on 2 Aug 1985.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08626.htm.
Defense Visual Information Center photo # DN-SC-85-09576, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil].


USS Daniel Webster SSBN 626
Daniel Webster (SSBN-626) in dry dock.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08626.htm.
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com].


USS Daniel Webster SSBN 626
The Daniel Webster (SSBN-626) slides down the launching ways 27 April 1963. She was launched with sailplanes and modified with bowplanes prior to commissioning.
[Courtesy NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive: http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/08626.htm.
US Navy photo courtesy of USS Bowfin Submarine Museum archives / members.aol.com. Photo i.d. courtesy of Dave Johnston].