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USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23)
US Navy 050812-N-1550W-019 The Sea Wolf-class attack submarine USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23) departs Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay for a one-night underway that included an embark by former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosa
Jimmy Carter departs NSB Kings Bay, 11 August 2005.
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Name: USS Jimmy Carter
Namesake: Jimmy Carter
Ordered: 29 June 1996
Builder: General Dynamics Electric Boat
Laid down: 5 December 1998
Launched: 13 May 2004
Christened: 5 June 2004
Commissioned: 19 February 2005
Homeport: Bangor Annex of Naval Base Kitsap, Washington
Motto: Semper Optima ("Always the Best")
Status: in active service
Badge: USS Jimmy Carter SSN-23 Crest
General characteristics
Class & type: Seawolf-class submarine
Displacement: 7,568 tons light, 12,139 tons full, 1,569 tons dead
Length: 138 m (453 ft) overall,
128.5 m (419 ft) waterline
Beam: 12.1 m (40 ft)
Draft: 10.9 m (36 ft)
Propulsion: One S6W reactor
Speed: 25+ knots (45+ km/h)
Test depth: 320 m (1,049 ft)
Complement: 15 officers, 126 enlisted
Armament: 8 × 26-inch torpedo tubes; Harpoon missiles; Tomahawk missiles; Mk-48 torpedoes; ability to lay mines

USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23), the third and last Seawolf-class submarine, is the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, who served in the United States Navy as a Communications Officer, Sonar Officer, Electronics Officer, Weapons Officer, and Supply Officer while on board USS Pomfret (SS-391).[1] Jimmy Carter is one of the few ships of the United States Navy (and only the third submarine) to have been named for a person who was alive at the time of the ship's naming, and the first submarine to be named for a living former president; Jimmy Carter is the only U.S. President to qualify in submarines.

Ship historyEdit

The contract to build Carter was awarded to the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut, on 29 June 1996, and her keel was laid on 5 December 1998. Original schedules called for Carter to be commissioned in late 2001 or early 2002, but on 10 December 1999, Electric Boat was awarded a US$887 million extension to the Carter contract to modify the boat for highly classified missions and testing of new submarine systems, missions previously carried out by USS Parche (SSN-683).[2] Jimmy Carter was christened on 5 June 2004. The ship sponsor was former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

Carter is roughly 100 feet (30 m) longer than the other two ships of her class. This is due to the insertion of a plug (additional section) known as the Multi-Mission Platform (MMP), which allows launch and recovery of ROVs and Navy SEAL forces. The plug features a fairing over a wasp-waist shaped passageway allowing crew to pass between the fore and aft sections of the hull while providing a space to store ROVs and special equipment that may need to launch and recover from the submarine.[3] Carter has additional maneuvering devices fitted fore and aft that will allow her to keep station over selected targets in odd currents.[citation needed] Past submarines outfitted this way[citation needed] were used to tap undersea cables, to intercept communications of foreign countries. Intelligence experts speculate that the MMP may find use in similar missions as an underwater splicing chamber for fiber optic cables.[4][5][6][7]

On 24 January 2004, Commander David Bartholomew, Jr., commanding officer of PCU (Pre-Commissioning Unit) Jimmy Carter was relieved of command because of a "loss of confidence" in his ability "pending further administrative or disciplinary action as appropriate." Captain Robert D. Kelso, deputy chief of staff of Submarine Development Squadron 12 at Naval Submarine Base New London, took temporary command of the PCU until a new commanding officer could be named.

On 19 November 2004, Jimmy Carter completed alpha sea trials, her first voyage in the open seas. On 22 December, Electric Boat delivered Jimmy Carter to the Navy, and she was commissioned 19 February 2005 at NSB New London.

Jimmy Carter began a transit from NSB New London to its new homeport at the Bangor Annex of Naval Base Kitsap, Washington on 14 October 2005 but was forced to return when an unusually high wave caused damage while the submarine was running on the surface. The damage was repaired and Carter left New London the following day, arriving at Bangor the afternoon of 9 November 2005.

On 16 June 2006, Commander David Honabach took command from Captain Kelso.[8]

On 17 January 2008, Jimmy Carter was awarded the 2007 Battle Efficiency Award, commonly known as a "Battle E".[9]

In June 2009, Commander Brian Davies took command from Captain David Honabach.

In November 2010, the Jimmy Carter was revealed to have been the first US asset to provide intelligence after the North Korean bombardment of Yeonpyeong. Reports indicated that a UAV from the boat was used shortly after the incident.[10]



  1. "Lieutenant James Earle Carter, Jr., USN". Naval History & Heritage Command. United States Navy. 19 October 1997. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  2. Zimmerman, W. Frederick (2008). SSN-23 Jimmy Carter: U.S. Navy Submarine (Seawolf Class). Nimble Books. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-934840-30-6. 
  3. Davis, USN, RADM John P. (Fall 1999). "USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23): Expanding Future SSN Missions". U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  4. "New Nuclear Sub Is Said to Have Special Eavesdropping Ability". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. 20 February 2005. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  5. Zorpette, Glenn (Jan 2002). "Making Intelligence Smarter". IEEE. pp. 38–43. Digital object identifier:10.1109/6.975021. ISSN 0018-9235. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  6. Neil Jr. (23 May 2001). "Spy agency taps into undersea cable". ZDNet News. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  7. "Jimmy Carter: Super Spy?". 21 February 2005. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  8. Popejoy, MC1 Mary (16 June 2006). "USS Jimmy Carter gets a new boss". The Northwest Navigator. Sound Publishing, Inc. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  9. Rowley, Eric (22 January 2008). "Pacific Northwest Sub Crews Win Battle "E"". Retrieved 2009-06-30. 

External linksEdit

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