In 1958 Congress authorized the construction of Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines. These Polaris missile launching platforms were the result of extensive and imaginative development in such fields as environmental control, nuclear engineering, inertial navigation, and solid propellant rocketry.
HENRY L. STIMSON is the thirty-seventh member of the Polaris/Poseidon fleet of forty-one nuclear powered Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines. Her keep was laid on April 4, 1964, at the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics in Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on November 13, 1965, after being christened HENRY L. STIMSON by Mrs. Thomas Dodd, the wife of Connecticut’s senior senator, and commissioned August 20, 1966 with Captain Richard E. Jortberg (commanding the Blue Crew) and Commander Robert H. Weeks (commanding the Gold Crew). HENRY L. STIMSON is the first ship of the fleet to be named in honor of the American attorney, soldier, diplomat and statesman. The crossed swords in the insignia of the USS HENRY L. STIMSON represent his belief that to keep peace you must be strong to resist aggression. During shakedown, both crews successfully fired two A-3 Polaris missiles in the Atlantic Missile Test Range. After final sea trials and torpedo fire control systems testing Henry L. Stimson was assigned to Submarine Squadron 16 and began her first operational deterrent patrol, departing Charleston, South Carolina, on 23 February 1967.
STIMSON received a Meritorious Unit Citation (MUC) for meritorious service during the period from 19 August to 9 September 1970, while participating in an operation of great importance to the United States. Through the operation the STIMSON demonstrated conclusively the effectiveness and dependability of the Fleet Ballistic Missile System.
In November 1971, Henry L. Stimson commenced her first major overhaul period, at Newport News Shipyard and Drydock. Here HENRY L. STIMSON was converted to the more advanced and sophisticated Poseidon Weapons System. On completion of the Conversion Overhaul period in March 1973, two crews were once more reestablished on HENRY L. STIMSON.
In June 1973, both crews successfully completed their Demonstration and Shakedown Operations (DASO). After Post Conversion Availability and final sea trials, HENRY L. STIMSON returned to perform as a major force in the prevention of nuclear war.
Starting in June 1973, HENRY L. STIMSON made 24 Poseidon patrols out of Rota, Spain until Submarine Squadron SIXTEEN moved to Kings Bay, Georgia in June 1979. Thereafter HENRY L. STIMSON made two patrols out of Charleston, South Carolina.
During the period from November 1979 to March 1980, STIMSON’s weapon system was again upgraded to support the TRIDENT-1 missile. The conversion was accomplished pier side at Port Canaveral, Florida. Successful Demonstration and Shakedown Operations (DASO) by both crews after the ship conversion were climaxed by the launching of a TRIDENT C-4 missile. Following that conversion, the boat changed homeports to Kings Bay, Georgia, where she was based for the rest of her career. The ship deployed on her first TRIDENT-1 strategic deterrent patrol in May 1980.
In May 1982, HENRY L. STIMSON began its second major overhaul at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Newport News, Virginia. Two crews were reestablished on HENRY L. STIMSON on completion of the overhaul period in August 1984. Since completion of the pos-overhaul period, USS HENRY L. STIMSON has completed twenty-eight TRIDENT strategic deterrent patrols.
STIMSON received her SECOND Meritorious Unit Citation (MUC) for meritorious service during the period 25 April to 6 August 1988, for her participation in LANTCOOPEX 1-88, the first SSBN remote-site, rapid re-deployment, continuity of operations exercise.
STIMSON combined crews in May 1992 as a precursor to inactivation and was both decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Registry at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard on 5 May 1993. Henry L. Stimson went through the Navy's Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program in Bremerton, Washington, and ceased to exist on 12 August 1994.