USS Patrick Henry (SSBN-599)

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Two crews (Blue/Gold) each consisting of

  • 12 officers
  • 100 men

USS Patrick Henry (SSBN-599), named for the American Revolutionary War figure Patrick Henry (1736–1799), was a George Washington-class nuclear-powered fleet ballistic missile submarine of the United States Navy. She was later converted into an attack submarine and redesignated SSN-599.



Patrick Henry's keel was laid down by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation, in Groton, Connecticut, on 26 May 1958. She was launched on 22 September 1959, sponsored by Mrs. Leslie E. Arends and was commissioned on 9 April 1960, with Commander Harold E. Shear in command of the Blue crew and Commander Robert L. J. Long commanding the Gold crew.

Manned alternately by two crews, Blue and Gold, like all US Navy ballistic missile submarines, to maximize her submerged operations, Patrick Henry underwent shakedown with the Blue crew until 16 September 1960, when the Gold crew took over. The second fleet ballistic missile (FBM) submarine, she commenced her first deterrent patrol in December 1960 with her Blue Crew on board. When she surfaced off Holy Loch, Scotland, on 8 March 1961, she had set a record for her type, cruising submerged 66 days and 22 hours. Patrick Henry was the first ballistic missile submarine to enter Holy Loch, and the first to go alongside the submarine tender USS Proteus for replenishment and routine repair.

Patrick Henry conducted 17 deterrent patrols from Holy Loch until December 1964 when she returned to Electric Boat. For 18 months she received complete and extensive overhaul and repair operations, including refueling of the S5W reactor plant and modifications to permit the handling of the Polaris A-3 missiles. After shakedown in mid-1966 off Puerto Rico and Cape Canaveral, Florida, Patrick Henry departed Charleston, South Carolina, in December for her eighteenth patrol, equipped with A-3 Polaris missiles and assigned to Submarine Squadron 14. On 1 March 1968, Patrick Henry completed her 22nd patrol at Holy Loch.

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