USS ALABAMA SSBN 731
USS Alabama (SSBN 731) is the sixth Ohio-class nuclear-powered fleet ballistic-missile submarine, and the fifth United States ship to bear the name.
The keel was laid October 14, 1980, and the crew was formed in July 1983. On May 19, 1984, Mrs. Barbara Dickinson, wife of The Honorable William L. Dickinson, United States Representative from Alabama, christened the ship during launching ceremonies held in Groton, Connecticut.
May 25, 1985 USS Alabama was commissioned at Naval Underwater Systems Center, New London, Conn.
March 28, 1986 USS Alabama completed her first strategic loadout at Strategic Weapons Facility, Pacific, Bremerton, Wa. First patrol began May 10 and ended July 28.
May 16, 1988 SSBN 731 successfully launched four Trident I missiles, May 14-16, in support of the 31st Trident I (C4) Follow-on Operational Test.
September 1, USS Alabama (Blue) completed the 100th Trident patrol at Bangor. On board to mark this milestone was Under Secretary of the Navy H. Lawrence Garrett III. Completion of this patrol equated to 19 patrol years for Trident.
August 18, 1989 The Alabama successfully launched four Trident I missiles during the 33rd Trident I (C4) Follow-on Operational Test.
After completing 47 strategic deterrent patrols, she underwent an Extended Refit Period in 1999 and returned to service with numerous tactical and survivability upgrades. In the spring of 2000, she celebrated its 50th Strategic Deterrent Patrol and its 15th birthday.
July 26, 2005 Twenty-five Midshipmen from universities across the country embarked USS Alabama, commanded by Cmdr. Melvin E. Lee, July 18 as part of the Navy’s Career Orientation Training for Midshipmen (CORTRAMID) program. During the 26-hour embark, Alabama’s crew provided in-depth tours of the submarine, detailed discussions about the operation of a Trident, and hands-on training on a variety of systems and gear.
September 2, The crew of SSBN 731 (Gold) was awarded the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Afloat Safety Award for 2005 in Silverdale, Washington. The award was presented to the crew upon their return to port following an historic 67th deterrent patrol marked by two successful torpedo hits that sank a decommissioned destroyer. USS Alabama will soon be heading to dry dock to convert the boat to carry the D5 missile system. She was the last fleet ballistic missile submarine to carry the C4 system, which will now be retired from service.
September 7, The Blue and Gold crews of USS Alabama combined to one "Green" crew, under the command of Cmdr. Melvin E. Lee, during a combined retirement/change of command/crew combination ceremony at Deterrent Park on Naval Base Kitsap, Bangor. The fleet ballistic-missile submarine will head to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for conversion to carry the Trident II D5 missile system.
November 5, Distinguished visitors and the crew of USS Alabama came together to witness the decommissioning of the C4 Trident I Weapons System at the Explosive Handling Wharf on Naval Base Kitsap in late October. The sub crew had just completed offloading the final 24 rounds of Trident I C4 missiles to go to sea, the last ever. The Trident I C4 is a submarine-launched ballistic missile that was developed to replace the Poseidon missile in existing strategic missile submarines and to arm the Ohio-class SSBNs. The first C4 missile was deployed in 1979.
January 4, 2006 SSBN 731 moved to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to undergo a conversion to carry the Tridend II D5 missile. The Trident II D5 missile is more sophisticated than the Trident I C4, with a significantly greater payload capability. All three stages of the Trident II are made of lighter, stronger, stiffer graphite epoxy, whose integrated structure means considerable weight savings. The missile’s range is increased by the aerospike, a telescoping outward extension that reduces frontal drag by about 50 percent.
August 30, 2007 USS Alabama, commanded by Cmdr. Todd Massidda, officialy ended its 20-month dry-dock period on Aug. 21. Overall maintenance is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2008, which means the Alabama should be ready to start sea trials, finish the recertification process and return to the Navy as an operational unit.
May 29, 2008 The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine returned to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, May 14, after successfully completing their first at-sea period in two-and-a-half years, recertifying the ship during their sea trials. The Alabama will undergo more system upgrades and certifications to be ready for a full patrol in about one year.
July 31, 2009 USS Alabama returned to homeport from a strategic deterrent patrol.
September 29, 2010 SSBN 731 returned to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor from a strategic deterrent patrol.
January 27, 2011 USS Alabama (Gold) returned to Bangor following an 86-day strategic deterrent patrol.
April 22, Cmdr. Kevin P. Schultz relieved Cmdr. James E. Crosley as CO of the Alabama (Gold) during a change-of-command ceremony at the Naval Undersea Warfare Museum in Keyport, Wash.
May 10, USS Alabama (Blue) returned to homeport after completing a 45-day strategic deterrent patrol.
February 24, 2012 USS Alabama (Blue) returned to Bangor after completing a 73-day strategic deterrent patrol.
May 24, Cmdr. Bradley B. Terry relieved Cmdr. Christopher F. Kline as CO of the SSBN 731 (Blue) during a change-of-command ceremony at the Naval Undersea Warfare Museum in Keyport, Wash.
June 8, SSBN 731 (Gold) returned to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor following a strategic deterrent patrol.
October 11, USS Alabama (Blue) returned to homeport after completing a strategic deterrent patrol.
April 3, 2013 USS Alabama (Gold) returned to Bangor after completing a 107-day strategic deterrent patrol.
May 24, Cmdr. Brody L. Frailey relieved Cmdr. Kevin P. Schultz as CO of the Alabama (Gold) during a change-of-command ceremony at the Naval Undersea Warfare Museum.
August 29, USS Alabama (Blue) returned to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor after completing a 98-day strategic deterrent patrol.
March 26, 2014 SSBN 731 (Blue) returned to Bangor after completing a strategic deterrent patrol.