USS Stonewall Jackson was a James Madison-class fleet ballistic missile submarine. She was commissioned on August 26, 1964 with Commander John H. Nicholson in command of the Blue Crew and Commander Richard A. Frost in command of the Gold Crew. The James Madison-class subs were specifically designed to carry the Polaris A-3 missile.
Following her shakedown cruise Stonewall Jackson’s two crews were instructed to complete Polaris ballistic missile firing, of which both were successful. Final preparations for overseas deployment were completed at Bangor, Washington, and in April 1965 Stonewall Jackson began her first strategic deterrent patrol.
During the spring of 1970, Stonewall Jackson was reassigned to the United States Atlantic Fleet under which she sailed to Pearl Harbor in order to conduct a special operation, which she completed again in 1970. Her operational control was transferred from Submarine Flotilla 5 to Submarine Flotilla 6 in May. Upon officially joining the Atlantic Fleet the sub was put in at New London, Connecticut. She also participated in midshipman indoctrination tours at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.
In July of 1970, Stonewall Jackson entered the shipyard of the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics in Groton, Connecticut where she was converted in order to carry the Poseidon C-3 ballistic missile system. Between October 1971 and March 1972 both the Blue and Gold Crew were able to conduct their shakedown cruises along the southeastern coast of the United States, equipped with the new armor. She also completed deterrent patrols in the Atlantic during her service years.
Stonewall Jackson was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on February 9, 1995. Her scrapping was completed in October of that same year as part of the Nuclear-Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at Bremerton, Washington.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, especially throughout conflicts of the last century, submarines also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. However, these risks extend beyond the inherent dangers that existed while operating the vessels during military conflicts. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were also common aboard submarines because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Furthermore, the enclosed environment of submarines put servicemen at an even higher risk of exposure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with or served on submarines should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.