USS John C. Calhoun (SSBN-630), a James Madison Class fleet ballistic missile submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for John C. Calhoun (1782–1850), the distinguished legislator.The contract to build her was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Newport News, Virginia on 20 July 1961. The John C. Calhoun was sponsored by Miss Rosalie J. Calhoun, the great great grandaughter of the ship’s namesake. Commander Deane L. Axene was in command of the Blue Crew and Commander Frank A. Thurtell was in command of the Gold Crew. John C. Calhoun began operational patrols 22 March 1965.
Rosalie J. Calhoun, the great-great grandaughter of John C. Calhoun, is the ship’s sponsor. At age 14, Rosalie, christened the ship. Rosalie is the JCCVA’s only Honorary member! She has been involved with JCCVA from the early days and she faithfully attends our reunions. We are grateful for her continued association and support of our organization. Her presence at our functions is one of the highlights of every reunion.
|Awarded: 20 July 1961
|Keel Laid: 4 June 1962
|Launched: 22 June 1963
|Delivered: 8 September 1964
|Commissioned: 15 September 1964
|Deactivated: 9 July 1994
|Decommissioned: 28 March 1994
|Disposed: 18 November 1994
|Sponsor: Rosalie J. Calhoun
|Length: 425 feet
|Beam: 33 feet
|Draft: 31½ feet
|Displacement Surfaced: 7325 tons
|Displacement Submerged: 8251 tons
|Speed Surfaced: 16 knots
|Speed Submerged: 21 knots
|Test Depth: 1,300 feet
|16 Ballistic Missile Tubes
|4 21″ Torpedo Tubes
|One S5W Nuclear Reactor
John C. Calhoun Operational History
(this is incomplete and will be updated when more information comes in)
4 August 1969 – USS John C. Calhoun (SSBN-630) commenced overhaul and conversion to Poseidon capability at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California.
22 February 1971 – USS John C. Calhoun (SSBN-630) completed yard availability for conversion to Poseidon capability at Mare Island Naval Shipyard.
19 April 1971 – The Blue Crew of USS John C. Calhoun (SSBN-630) successfully launched a Poseidon C-3 missile in support of the ship’s Demonstration and Shakedown Operations.
7 June 1971 – The Gold Crew of USS John C. Calhoun (SSBN-630) successfully launched a Poseidon C-3 missile in support of the ship’s Demonstration and Shakedown Operations.
16 September 1971 – USS John C. Calhoun (SSBN-630), the fifth Poseidon-carrying SSBN, deployed from Charleston, S.C., for operational patrol.
16 MAY 1972 – With the return of USS John C. Calhoun (SSBN-630) from Poseidon patrol at Holy Loch, Scotland, a total of 1,000 Polaris/Poseidon deterrent patrols had been successfully completed (975 Polaris/25 Poseidon).
2 NOVEMBER 1973 – The Blue Crew of USS John C. Calhoun (SSBN-630) launched four C-3 missiles in the third Poseidon operational test.
USS John C. Calhoun was the fourth of ten ships to be constructed in the series of submarines known as the James Madison class. This class succeeded the Lafayette class and its ships differed from those of its predecessors in only one way—the inclusion of an improved missile system which was capable of carrying Polaris A-3 missiles and exhibited enhancements in the ships’ missile guidance, navigation, and launcher systems.
The James Madison class was the fourth of five classes of submarines comprising the US Navy’s fleet of ballistic missile submarines known as the “41 for Freedom.” This collection of submarines had a primary function to serve as a deterrent force against the threat of nuclear war in an effort to preserve peace with the Soviet Union during the time period of political conflict known as the Cold War. The motto of the USS John C. Calhoun embodied this mission—For Peace, Ready.
Subsequent to her shakedown training, which took place along the East Coast of the United States, John C. Calhoun began her career as a member of Submarine Squadron 18 and initiated her deterrent patrols, the majority of which were classified, on March 22, 1965.
Throughout the course of her career, John C. Calhoun was the recipient of two Navy Meritorious Unit Citations in addition to a National Defense Service Medal and underwent two upgrades to her missile systems being refitted with Poseidon missiles (1969-1978) and later Trident I missiles (1979-1982).
On March 28, 1994, USS John C. Calhoun was concurrently decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register. Her scrapping took place in Bremerton, Washington via the Nuclear- Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program and was completed by November 18, 1994.
Polaris Missile A1 Had a length of 32.3 feet and a diameter of 54 inches. The missile had a pre-launch weight of 28000 pounds and was powered by a 2-stage solid rocket motor with a range of 1200 miles and carried a singel EC47 (W47) Nuclear Weapon warhead. A Mk 80 Mod 2 fire control system was used by the missile and launch platform. This was the first sea-launched ICBM. Fitted on the first five Polaris boats (598 class above). These boats were refitted to fire Polaris A3 starting in 1964. The George Washington fired the first missile at sea. The Patrick Henry was the first go on a Deterrent Patrol.
Polaris Missile A2 Had a length of 32.2 feet and a diameter of 54 inches. The missile had a pre-launch weight of 30000 pounds and was powered by a 2-stage solid rocket motor with a range of 1500 miles and carried three W47 Nuclear Weapon warheads of 200 kilo-tons each. Fitted on the five Ethan Allen-class boats plus the first 13 Lafayette-Class boats. These boats were refitted with A3s starting in 1968.
Polaris Missile A3 Had a length of 32.2 feet and a diameter of 54 inches. The missile had a pre-launch weight of 35000 pounds and was powered by a 2-stage solid rocket motor with a range of 2000+ miles and carried a W58 Nuclear Weapon warhead. A Mk 80 Mod 2 (in 598 Class), Mk 80 Mod 3 in 608 Class, and Mk 84 in 616 Class fire control system used by missile and launch platforms. Fitted on the last 18 Lafayette and Benjamin Franklin-class boats.
15 February 1965.USS John C. Calhoun SSBN-630 at Cape Canaveral, Florida, celebrated the successful launch of a Polaris A-3 missile by Blue Crew of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine 4 Aug 1969AUG 16 1965;USS JOHN C. CALHOUN SSBN-630, the Nuclear Powered Ballistic Missile Submarine FIRST POLARIS MISSILE PATROL Oct 15th, 1965 First Gold Crew Patrol.