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USS Thomas A. Edison (SSBN-610)
USS Thomas A. Edison (SSBN-610)
Name: USS Thomas A. Edison
Namesake: Thomas Edison (1847–1931)
Ordered: 1 July 1959
Builder: Electric Boat Division of the General Dynamics Corporation
Laid down: 15 March 1960
Launched: 15 June 1961
Sponsored by: Mrs. Madeleine Edison Sloane
Commissioned: 10 March 1962
Decommissioned: 1 December 1983
Struck: 30 April 1986
Motto: Potentia Tenebras Repellendi
(Power to Repel the Darkness)
Fate: Recycling via Ship and Submarine Recycling Program completed 1 December 1997
General characteristics
Class & type: Ethan Allen-class submarine
Type: Ballistic Missile Submarine
Displacement: 6,900 tons surfaced 7,900 tons submerged
Length: 410 feet 4 inches (125.07 m)
Beam: 33.1 feet (10.1 m)
Draft: 27 feet 5 inches (8.36 m)
Propulsion: S5W reactor - two geared steam turbines - one shaft
Speed: 16 knots surfaced, 21 knots (24 mph; 39 km/h) submerged
Test depth: 1,300 feet (400 m)
Complement: 12 Officers and 128 Enlisted (two crews Blue and Gold)
Armament: 16 fleet ballistic missiles, 4 x 21 inches (530 mm) torpedo tubes

USS Thomas A. Edison (SSBN-610), an Ethan Allen class ballistic-missile submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the inventor, Thomas Edison (1847–1931).

Construction and commissioning

Thomas A. Edison's keel was laid down on 15 March 1960 by the Electric Boat Division of the General Dynamics Corporation of Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 15 June 1961 sponsored by Mrs. Madeleine Edison Sloane, and commissioned on 10 March 1962 with Captain Charles M. Young commanding the Blue Crew and Captain Walter Dedrick commanding the Gold Crew.

Service history

On 9 April 1962, during shakedown training off the eastern coast of the United States, Thomas A. Edison collided with the destroyer USS Wadleigh (DD-689).

File:USS Thomas Edison (SSBN-610) underway.jpg

Thomas A. Edison underway in the Atlantic Ocean in 1962.

Thomas A. Edison loaded Polaris missiles at Charleston, South Carolina, and embarked upon her first deterrent patrol on 7 November 1962. She concluded that patrol at the base at Holy Loch, Scotland, from which she operated for the next four years and conducted 17 deterrent patrols. In September 1966, her official home port was changed from New London, Connecticut, to Charleston, South Carolina, in preparation for her first major overhaul. She ended her 17th patrol at Charleston on 15 October 1966 and began her overhaul on 28 October 1966. She completed repairs on 9 May 1968; and, after post-overhaul sea trials and shakedown, she embarked upon her 18th deterrent patrol on 22 September 1968.

After a shortened 19th patrol, she conducted a "Follow On Target" (FOT) test launch. For this test, four missiles were selected at random, their warheads were removed, and telemetry packages were fitted in place of the warheads. Thomas A. Edison then proceeded to a location just off the Canary Islands and fired these missiles into the Caribbean. Due to the accuracy and timeliness of these successful launches, the members of that Blue Crew were awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation.

Through June 1973, Thomas A. Edison operated out of New London and Rota, Spain, from which ports she conducted another 19 deterrent patrols in the Mediterranean Sea.

In June 1973, she was transferred to the United States Pacific Fleet, arriving in San Diego, California, on 11 July 1973. After a short period of operations with Submarine Group 5, she moved to Vallejo, California, on 6 August 1973 to begin another overhaul, this time at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard at Vallejo, California. On 30 November 1974, she completed repairs and, following shakedown in January and February 1975, she transited the Panama Canal again in March 1975 to fire test missiles near Cape Canaveral, Florida. She concluded that mission in July and retransited the Canal on 8 August 1975. Thomas A. Edison carried out operations along the United States West Coast until December 1975, at which time she headed for her new home port, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Although her home port was Pearl Harbor, the Edison conducted deterrent patrols out of Apra Harbor in Guam until about 1980. During these patrols, she made several port visits to Chin Hae, South Korea. Also, during the late 70s, she conducted a second FOT launch of four ballistic missiles. It was during this FOT operation that she headed south across the equator in order to launch, successfully, back north of the equator. In 1980, the Edison arrived in Guam for the last time at which time the Blue and Gold crews were consolidated.

In 1981, in compliance with the SALT I treaty, Thomas A. Edison's missile compartment was deactivated. Concrete blocks were placed in the missile tubes, and the missile launcher and fire-control systems as well as one of the ship's inertial navigation systems were removed. The ship was reclassified an attack submarine, given hull number SSN-610 on 6 October 1980, and retained primarily for training, antisubmarine warfare exercises, and other secondary duties.

Decommissioned on 1 December 1983, Thomas A. Edison was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 30 April 1986. She went through the Navy's Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington, beginning on 1 October 1996 and on 1 December 1997 ceased to exist as the recycling was completed.

Steinway piano

During the construction of Thomas A. Edision, the construction captain requested that a Steinway piano be placed aboard.[1] This piano remained on board the submarine for 22 years (1961–1983) up through her decommissioning. The Steinway piano is the only example of a full-sized piano ever installed on a U.S. submarine conducting nuclear deterrent patrols.[2]


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