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USS Henry Clay (SSBN-625)
USS Henry Clay
USS Henry Clay (SSBN-625) on 6 December 1967.
Name: USS Henry Clay
Namesake: Henry Clay (1777–1852), an American statesman and orator
Ordered: 3 February 1961
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company
Laid down: 23 October 1961
Launched: 30 November 1962
Sponsored by: Mrs. Green B. Gibson
Commissioned: 20 February 1964
Decommissioned: 5 November 1990
Struck: 5 November 1990
Motto: Preservation of the Nation
Fate: Scrapping via Ship-Submarine Recycling Program completed 30 September 1997
General characteristics
Class & type: Lafayette-class submarine
Type: Ballistic missile submarine (hull design SCB-216)[1]
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 × S5W reactor
•2xWestinghouse geared turbines=15,000 shp (11,000 kW)[1]
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h) surfaced
25 knots (46 km/h) submerged
Complement: Two crews (Blue and Gold), 13 officers and 130 enlisted men each
Sensors and
processing systems:
BQS-4 sonar[1]
Armament: • 4 × 21 in (530 mm) Mark 65 torpedo tubes with Mark 113 firecontrol system,[1] for Mark 48 torpedoes
• 16 × vertical tubes for Polaris or Poseidon ballistic missiles

USS Henry Clay (SSBN-625), a Lafayette class ballistic missile submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Henry Clay (1777–1852), the American statesman and orator.

Construction and commissioning

The contract to build Henry Clay was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, Virginia on 3 February 1961 and her keel was laid down there on 23 October 1961. She was launched on 30 November 1962 sponsored by Mrs. Green B. Gibson, and commissioned on 20 February 1964, with Commander Thomas A Bryce in command of the Blue Crew and Commander John C. Lewis in command of the Gold Crew.

Operational history

Henry Clay conducted shakedown off the coast of Florida beginning on 28 February 1964. She completed her first submerged Polaris missile firing on 6 April 1964 and returned to Newport News on 29 May 1964. She then moved to her new home port, Charleston, South Carolina, and departed for her first deterrent patrol on 17 August 1964.

By January 1967, Henry Clay had completed 11 deterrent patrols. As of mid-1967, she was assigned to Submarine Squadron 14.

During December 1986, Henry Clay made a port call at Plymouth, England, while being operated by her Blue crew, the only port call her Blue Crew made between April 1985 and October 1987.

In 1987, Henry Clay's Gold Crew underwent an unannounced Operational Reactor Safeguards Examination (ORSE). She received an EXCELLENT grade, the only submarine in the United States Atlantic Fleet other than the attack submarine USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN-709) up to that date to receive an EXCELLENT on an unannounced ORSE.

Decommissioning and disposal

Henry Clay was decommissioned on 5 November 1990 and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register the same day. She entered the Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program in Bremerton, Washington, for scrapping, which was completed on 30 September 1997.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Adcock, Al. (1993). "U.S. Ballistic Missile Submarines". Squadron Signal. p. 22. 

External links

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