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USS Richard B. Russell (SSN-687)
USS Richard B. Russell
USS Richard B. Russell (SSN-687) in January 1984. Note the antenna buoy housing, or "bustle", behind her sail, which had been installed in August 1977.
Name: USS Richard B. Russell (SSN-687)
Namesake: Richard B. Russell, Jr. (1897-1971), United States Senator from Georgia (1933-1971)
Awarded: 25 July 1969
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Virginia
Laid down: 19 October 1971
Launched: 12 January 1974
Sponsored by: Mrs. Herman E. Talmadge
Commissioned: 16 August 1975
Decommissioned: 24 June 1994
Struck: 24 June 1994
Motto: "They Saved The Best For Last"
Nickname: "Dickey B."
Honors and
Presidential Unit Citation
6 Navy Unit Commendations
Meritorious Unit Commendation 1981
7 Battle Effectiveness Awards
Fate: Scrapping via Ship and Submarine Recycling Program begun 1 October 2001, completed 3 January 2003
Badge: SSN687 patch ship.jpg
General characteristics
Class & type: Sturgeon-class attack submarine
Displacement: 3,978 long tons (4,042 t) light
4,270 long tons (4,339 t) full
292 long tons (297 t) dead
Length: 302 ft 3 in (92.13 m)
Beam: 31 ft 8 in (9.65 m)
Draft: 28 ft 8 in (8.74 m)
Installed power: 15,000 shaft horsepower (11.2 megawatts)
Propulsion: One S5W nuclear reactor, two steam turbines, one screw
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) surfaced
25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph) submerged
Test depth: 1,300 feet (396 meters)
Complement: 126 (14 officers, 112 enlisted men)
Armament: 4 × 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes
UUM-44A SUBROC missiles

USS Richard B. Russell (SSN-687), a Sturgeon-class attack submarine, has been the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Richard B. Russell, Jr. (1897–1971), United States Senator from Georgia (1933–1971).

Construction and commissioning

The contract for Richard B. Russell's construction was awarded on 25 July 1969 and her keel was laid down 19 October 1971 by Newport News Shipbuilding at Newport News, Virginia, authenticated by Mrs. Ina Russell Stacey, sister and official hostess for Senator Russell. Richard B. Russell was launched at Newport News on 12 January 1974, sponsored by Mrs. Herman E. Talmadge, wife of Herman E. Talmadge (1913–2002), U.S. Senator from Georgia (1957–1981), and commissioned on 16 August 1975.

Service history

In August 1977, Richard B. Russell was fitted with a large housing attached to her hull just aft of her sail, containing a tethered antenna buoy that was under development. The housing, called a "bustle" (and particularly the "Russell bustle"), gave her a unique profile and her nickname became "Dickey "B"." Later submarine classes would have their antenna buoy housings built into their hull fairings. In 1978, the Richard B. Russell completed a three-month deployment in the North Atlantic Ocean for which she received a Navy Unit Commendation and an Expeditionary Medal.

In 1980, Richard B. Russell completed a five-month deployment in the Mediterranean Sea. In 1981 she completed a deployment in the North Atlantic Ocean for which she received a Meritorious Unit Commendation.

In 1982, Richard B. Russell went through the Panama Canal and arrived at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California, for an extended overhaul. During her time at Mare Island, it was decided that she would become a special projects submarine. After a short period of post-overhaul testing and sea trials, she underwent extensive ocean engineering modifications prior to commencing operations as a unit of Submarine Development Group 1. As a member of Sub Dev Group 1, she spearheaded a testing program for submarine rescue technology.

Richard B. Russell's role as a fast attack submarine as well as a development and testing platform earned her the Presidential Unit Citation, the highest award any naval unit can be given. She also earned six Navy Unit Commendations, and seven Battle Effectiveness Awards (formerly the Battle Efficiency Award), commonly known as the Battle "E" during her career. The ship’s motto says it all: “We Saved The Best 'Til Last". Most of the major contributions made by USS RICHARD B. RUSSELL, (SSN-687) came as she neared her last years of service, so even she, saved her best 'til last!

Richard B. Russell was placed in reserve while still in commission on 1 July 1993.

Decommissioning and disposal

Richard B. Russell was both decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 24 June 1994. She was stored at Bremerton, Washington, until 1 October 2001, when she entered the Nuclear-Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton for scrapping. Her scrapping was completed on 3 January 2003.


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