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USS James K. Polk (SSBN 645)

- later SSN 645 -
- decommissioned -

Commissioned as a ballistic missile submarine in April 1966, the USS JAMES K. POLK was converted to a special purpose, brown water attack submarine between 1992 and 1993. This conversion installed modifications including a deck shelter to support the surfaced and submerged deployment of Special Operations Forces. After the conversion the JAMES K. POLK was redesignated SSN 645. Both decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list on July 8, 1999, the JAMES K. POLK subsequently entered the Navy’s Nuclear Powered Ship and Recycling Program at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash. Recycling was completed on April 26, 2000.

General Characteristics:Awarded: November 1, 1962
Keel laid: November 23, 1963
Launched: May 22, 1965
Commissioned: April 16, 1966
Decommissioned: July 8, 1999
Builder: Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corp., Groton, CT.
Propulsion system: one S5W nuclear reactor
Propellers: one
Length: 425 feet (129.6 meters)
Beam: 33 feet (10 meters)
Draft: 31.5 feet (9.6 meters)
Displacement: Surfaced: approx. 7,250 tons; Submerged: approx. 8,250 tons
Speed: Surfaced: 16 - 20 knots;Submerged: 22 - 25 knots
Armament as SSBN: 16 vertical tubes for Polaris or Poseidon missiles, four 21" torpedo tubes for Mk-48 torpedoes, Mk-14/16 torpedoes, Mk-37 torpedoes and Mk-45 nuclear torpedoes
Armament as SSN: four 21" torpedo tubes for Mk-48 torpedoes
Crew as SSBN: 13 Officers and 130 Enlisted (two crews)
Crew as SSN: 14 Officers, 15 Chief Petty Officers, 121 Enlisted + about 70 special forces personnel

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Crew List:

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

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About the Submarine's Name:

James K. Polk, 11th President of the United States, was born 2 November 1795, in Mecklenburg County, N.C. A leading Jacksonian Democrat in the Tennessee State Legislature, he was not yet 50 years old when inaugurated President of the United States 4 March 1845. He ably conducted the Mexican War following the annexation of Texas. The "Four Great Measures" he announced for his administration were all achieved: the reduction of tariff; the reestablishment of the Independent Treasury System; the settlement of the Oregon dispute with Great Britain; and the acquisition of California. More territory was added to the United States under Polk than any other President except Jefferson. Few presidents worked harder. His arduous and conscientious labor during his term so undermined his health that he died 15 June 1894, some 3 months after he left the White House..

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Accidents aboard USS JAMES K. POLK:

December 27, 1996La Maddalena, ItalyOne of USS SIMON LAKE's (AS 33) mooring chains breaks during a storm with 90 to 100 knot wind gusts resulting in SIMON LAKE hitting the USS JAMES K. POLK, a LCM and a YFNB. All involved vessels experienced some scrapes to their hulls. Additional damage was caused to the pier and a light pole.

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