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USS Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657)
USS Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657) turning to port.jpg
USS Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657) commencing a hard turn to starboard, possibly during her sea trials off the United States East Coast sometime before December 1966.
Career (US)
Namesake: Francis Scott Key (1779–1843), author of the words to the United States' national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner"
Ordered: 29 July 1963
Builder: General Dynamics Electric Boat, Groton, Connecticut
Laid down: 5 December 1964
Launched: 23 April 1966
Sponsored by: Mrs. Marjory Key Thorne and Mrs. William T. Jarvis
Commissioned: 3 December 1966
Decommissioned: 2 September 1993
Struck: 2 September 1993
Fate: Scrapping via Ship and Submarine Recycling Program completed 1 September 1995
General characteristics
Class & type: Benjamin Franklin-class fleet ballistic missile submarine
Displacement: 7,300 long tons (7,417 t) surfaced
8,250 long tons (8,382 t) submerged
Length: 425 ft (130 m)
Beam: 33 ft (10 m)
Draft: 31 ft (9.4 m)
Installed power: 15,000 shp (11,185 kW)
Propulsion: One S5W pressurized-water nuclear reactor, two geared steam turbines, one shaft
Speed: Over 20 knots
Test depth: 1,300 feet (400 m)
Complement: Two crews (Blue Crew and Gold Crew) of 120 men each
Armament: 16 × ballistic missile tubes
4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes (all forward)

USS Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657), a Benjamin Franklin-class ballistic missile submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Francis Scott Key (1779–1843), an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet who wrote the poem "The Defense of Fort McHenry", which became the words to the United States' national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner".

Construction and commissioning[]

Francis Scott Key is waterborne for the first time at the end of the launching ways at the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation at Groton, Connecticut, during her launching on 23 April 1965.

The contract to build Francis Scott Key was awarded to the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut on 29 July 1963 and her keel was laid down there on 5 December 1964. She was launched on 23 April 1965, sponsored by Mrs. Marjory Key Thorne and Mrs. William T. Jarvis, and commissioned on 3 December 1966, with Captain Frank W. Graham in command of the Blue Crew and Lieutenant Commander Joseph B. Logan in command of the Gold Crew.

Service history[]

The Submarine was part of SUBRON 16 and based in Rota, Spain. It then moved to Kings Bay, Georgia.

A montage of a Trident I (C4) missile and its reentry vehicles launched from Francis Scott Key

Decommissioning and disposal[]

Francis Scott Key was decommissioned on 2 September 1993 with Commander Carl D. Olson in command, and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register the same day. Her scrapping via the U.S. Navy's Nuclear-Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at Bremerton, Washington, was completed on 1 September 1995.


  • This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain. The entry can be found here.
  • Photo gallery of USS Francis Scott Key at NavSource Naval History

External links[]

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