USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23)

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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 Rosalynn. 11 Aug. 2005.
Jimmy Carter departs NSB Kings Bay, 11 August 2005.
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, as of 2024
Badge: 150px
General characteristics
Class and 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
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 former President 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 the USS Pomfret (SS-391).[1] Jimmy Carter is one of the few ships of the United States Navy 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 history

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, and sponsored by 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] According to figures published by Electric Boat, the MMP increased Carter's displacement by about 33%, her navigation draft by over a foot (300 mm), and made her louder by two dB at 20 knots (37 km/h). It reduced her speed by two knots (4 km/h).[citation needed]

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-Commissioned 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 turn back when an unusually high wave caused damage while the submarine was still running on the surface. The damage was quickly 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 the media

  • On May 12, 2009, during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, President Carter noted that "the finest warship on Earth now is named the U.S.S. Jimmy Carter."[10]
  • USS Jimmy Carter was destroyed in the spy-novel Madame Terror, written by Swedish author Jan Guillou.
  • The Jimmy Carter was featured in the second season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. First mentioned in the episode "Alpine Fields", the Jimmy Carter was used to transport Australian human Resistance soldiers to post-apocalyptic Los Angeles to obtain supplies, captained by a reprogrammed Terminator. In the episodes "Today is the Day Part 1" and "Today is the Day Part 2", the submarine was scuttled by its own crew after a mission to retrieve a T-1000 liquid-metal Terminator had gone awry.
  • Jimmy Carter was depicted in the Sci-Fi channel original movie Deep Shock.
  • Jimmy Carter was the centerpiece of a JAG episode in 2002 regarding an officer selling the underwater tonal signature data to the Chinese.
  • USS Jimmy Carter was mentioned by Joe Buff in his novel Tidal Rip, and was a center piece in his novel Seas of Crisis.


  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 9781934840306. 
  3. Davis, USN, RADM John P. (Fall 1999). "USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23): Expanding Future SSN Missions". Undersea Warfare (U.S. Government Printing Office) 2 (1). Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  4. "New Nuclear Sub Is Said to Have Special Eavesdropping Ability". The New York Times. Associated Press (The New York Times Company). 2005-02-20. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  5. Zorpette, Glenn (Jan 2002). "Making Intelligence Smarter". IEEE Spectrum (IEEE) 39 (1): 38–43. doi:10.1109/6.975021. ISSN 0018-9235. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  6. Neil Jr. (2001-05-23). "Spy agency taps into undersea cable". ZDNet News. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  7. "Jimmy Carter: Super Spy?". 2005-02-21. 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 (2008-01-22). "Pacific Northwest Sub Crews Win Battle "E"". Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  10. Milbank, Dana (2009-05-13). "The Man From Plains, With Lessons From the '70s". The Washington Post (Washington D.C.: Katharine Weymouth). 

External links

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See also

de:USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) fr:USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) ja:ジミー・カーター (原子力潜水艦) pl:USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) ru:Джимми Картер (подводная лодка) sv:USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23)