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USS Ethan Allen (SSBN 608)

- later SSN 608 -
- decommissioned -

USS ETHAN ALLEN was the first ship of the Navy's second generation of nuclear powered fleet ballistic missile submarines and the second ship in the Navy to bear the name.

While operating in the Pacific as a unit of Joint Task Force 8 Operation Frigate-Bird, the ETHAN ALLEN fired the only nuclear-armed POLARIS missile ever launched on May 6, 1962. The Polaris A1 missile was launched while the ETHAN ALLEN submerged in the Pacific, and the missile's nuclear warhead was detonated over the South Pacific at the end of its programmed flight. The shot was made during the 1962 atomic tests and hit "right in the pickle barrel." The captain of the ETHAN ALLEN was Paul Lacy, and admiral Levering Smith was aboard. To date, this is the only complete proof test of a U.S. strategic missile. With the ban on atmospheric testing, the chances of another similar test are remote.

After 19 years of service, the ETHAN ALLEN was redesignated as SSN 608, but only served for 3 years in her new role. Decommissioned on March 31, 1983, and stricken from the Navy list on April 2, 1983, the ETHAN ALLEN spent the next years at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash., awaiting to be disposed of through the Navy's Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program. Recycling of the ETHAN ALLEN was finished on July 30, 1999.

General Characteristics:Awarded: July 17, 1958
Keel laid: September 14, 1959
Launched: November 22, 1960
Commissioned: August 8, 1961
Decommissioned: March 31, 1983
Builder: Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn.
Propulsion system: one S5W nuclear reactor
Propellers: one
Length: 410.4 feet (125.1 meters)
Beam: 33.1 feet (10.1 meters)
Draft: 29.9 feet (9.1 meters)
Displacement: approx. 7,900 tons submerged
Speed: Surfaced: 15 knots, Submerged: 20 knots
Armament: 16 vertical tubes for Polaris missiles, four 21" torpedo tubes
Crew: 12 Officers and 128 Enlisted (two crews)

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Crew List:

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS ETHAN ALLEN. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.

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Accidents aboard USS ETHAN ALLEN:

January 9, 1965eastern MediterraneanUSS ETHAN ALLEN collides with the Norwegian freighter OCTAVIAN while at periscope depth. The Navy says "damage was negligible", no casualties occurred, and both the submarine and the freighter continued on their way after exchanging identification.

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About the Submarine's Name:

Ethan Allen, born 10 January 1737 or 1738 in Litchfield, Conn., is known chiefly for his leading role in securing the recognition of Vermont as a separate State. He served in the French and Indian War; organized and led the "Green Mountain Boys" in the controversy between New Hampshire and New York over the settlement of the area now Vermont; and in concert with a Massachusetts force commanded by Benedict Arnold took Fort Ticonderoga without bloodshed 10 May 1775. He died in Burlington, Vermont, 12 February 1789.

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