USS John C. Calhoun was the fourth of ten ships
to be constructed in the series of submarines known as the James Madison class. This class succeeded the Lafayette class and
its ships differed from those of its predecessors in only one way—the inclusion of an improved missile system which
was capable of carrying Polaris A-3 missiles and exhibited enhancements in the ships’ missile guidance, navigation,
and launcher systems.
The James Madison class was the fourth
of five classes of submarines comprising the US Navy’s fleet of ballistic missile submarines known as the “41
for Freedom.” This collection of submarines had a primary function to serve as a deterrent force against the threat
of nuclear war in an effort to preserve peace with the Soviet Union during the time period of political conflict known as
the Cold War. The motto of the USS John C. Calhoun embodied this mission—For Peace, Ready.
Subsequent to her shakedown training, which took place along the East Coast of the United
States, John C. Calhoun began her career as a member of Submarine Squadron 18 and initiated her deterrent patrols, the majority
of which were classified, on March 22, 1965.
Throughout the course of her career, John C. Calhoun was the recipient of two Navy Meritorious
Unit Citations in addition to a National Defense Service Medal and underwent two upgrades to her missile systems being refitted
with Poseidon missiles (1969-1978) and later Trident I missiles (1979-1982).
March 28, 1994, USS John C. Calhoun was concurrently decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register. Her scrapping
took place in Bremerton, Washington via the Nuclear- Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program and was completed by November
18, 1994. ·
Polaris Missile A1 Had a length of
32.3 feet and a diameter of 54 inches. The missile had a pre-launch weight of 28000 pounds and was powered by a 2-stage solid
rocket motor with a range of 1200 miles and carried a singel EC47 (W47) Nuclear Weapon warhead. A Mk 80 Mod 2 fire control
system was used by the missile and launch platform. This was the first sea-launched ICBM. Fitted on the first five Polaris
boats (598 class above). These boats were refitted to fire Polaris A3 starting in 1964. The George Washington fired the first
missile at sea. The Patrick Henry was the first go on a Deterrent Patrol. ·
Polaris Missile A2 Had a length of 32.2 feet and a diameter of 54 inches. The missile
had a pre-launch weight of 30000 pounds and was powered by a 2-stage solid rocket motor with a range of 1500 miles and carried
three W47 Nuclear Weapon warheads of 200 kilo-tons each. Fitted on the five Ethan Allen-class boats plus the first 13 Lafayette-Class
boats. These boats were refitted with A3s starting in 1968. ·
Polaris Missile A3 Had a length of 32.2 feet and a diameter of 54 inches. The missile had a pre-launch weight
of 35000 pounds and was powered by a 2-stage solid rocket motor with a range of 2000+ miles and carried a W58 Nuclear Weapon
warhead. A Mk 80 Mod 2 (in 598 Class), Mk 80 Mod 3 in 608 Class, and Mk 84 in 616 Class fire control system used by missile
and launch platforms. Fitted on the last 18 Lafayette and Benjamin Franklin-class boats.
15 February 1965.USS John C. Calhoun SSBN-630 at Cape Canaveral, Florida, celebrated
the successful launch of a Polaris A-3 missile by Blue Crew of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine
4 Aug 1969AUG 16 1965;USS JOHN C. CALHOUN SSBN-630,
the Nuclear Powered Ballistic Missile Submarine FIRST POLARIS MISSILE PATROL Oct
15th, 1965 First Gold Crew Patrol