USS Theodore Roosevelt was a George-Washington-class submarine that was originally unnamed but assigned the hull classification symbol SSGN-600 as a guided-missile submarine. She was first assembled using components for the Skipjack-class nuclear attack submarine USS Scamp SSN-588, but ended up with the name Theodore Roosevelt when she was re-designated as a fleet ballistic missile submarine on November 6, 1958. She was commissioned on February 13, 1961 with Commander William E. Sims commanding the Blue Crew, and Commander Oliver H. Perry, Jr. commanding the Gold Crew.
Prior to her first deployment, Theodore Roosevelt became the first fleet ballistic missile submarine to transit the Panama Canal. She successfully fired her first Polaris A1 missile before being bound for Charleston, South Carolina. She was loaded with Polaris missiles at the Naval Ammunition Depot in Charleston from July 7th to the 19th before being sent out on her first deterrent patrol. Over the course of the next three and a half years, Theodore Roosevelt completed 17 deployments that required her to depart from the fleet ballistic missile submarine base at Holy Loch, Scotland. Following these patrols she entered into a period of overhaul, sea trials, and refresher training. Upon successfully firing a Polaris A3 missile at the Cape Canaveral missile range, she returned to Charleston to load missiles in order to begin another series of deterrent patrols out of Holy Loch.
During the 1970s Theodore Roosevelt completed her patrols out of Holy Loch, as well as undergoing refitting and sailing out to sea to conduct special operations. Upon completion of an overhaul in January 1974, the sub conducted sea trials out of Charleston before completing shakedown training and nuclear weapons certification preparations. During June of that same year she conducted a one-week United States Naval Academy midshipman familiarization cruise before undergoing nuclear propulsion safety training. In mid June Theodore Roosevelt was reassigned to the United States Pacific Fleet, with a new home port at Pearl Harbor. Along with conducting another midshipman training cruise and a nine-day missile load out, Theodore Roosevelt was refitted in Guam and began deterrent patrols of the Pacific.
Post Service and Disposal
On December 1, 1982, Theodore Roosevelt was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register and her hulk was stored in Bremerton, Washington, awaiting entrance into the Nuclear Power Ship and Submarine Recycling Program. Her recycling was completed on March 24, 1995.
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.