"41 for Freedom" refers to United States Navy Fleet Ballistic Missile
(FBM) submarines, built from 1 November 1958 to 20 March 1965, that
comprise the following five classes.
These five classes of
ballistic missile submarines were limited by the 1972 SALT I Treaty
which limited the number of submarine-launched ballistic missiles to
656 missiles, thus totaled forty-one subs, hence the nickname "41 for
The "41 for Freedom"
nuclear-powered submarines were armed with long-range SLBMs to create a
deterrent force against the threat of nuclear war with the Soviet Union
during the Cold War.
The United States Navy
created a new hull classification symbol for this type of submarine,
the SSBN. The first of the "41 for Freedom" submarines was the USS
George Washington (SSBN-598) commissioned on 30 December 1959. The last
submarine commissioned for the "41 for Freedom" submarines was the USS
Will Rogers (SSBN-659) which was formally decommissioned and stricken
from the Naval Vessel Register on 12 April 1993, though she was not the
last FBM submarine decommissioned.
In July 1992, USS
Kamehameha (SSBN-642) was converted to a SEAL special warfare platform
and was outfitted with a drydeck shelter/swimmer delivery platform.
Kamehameha was decommissioned on 2 April 2002, the last ship of the
original "41 for Freedom" and the oldest submarine in the United States
Navy. Almost 37 years old, she held the record for the longest service
lifetime of any nuclear powered submarine.