USS Florida (SSGN 728)
Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat
Fortune Favors the Brave
USS Florida (SSBN-728/SSGN-728), an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, was the sixth ship of the United States Navy to be named for the 27th state. She was commissioned with the hull designation of SSBN-728; with her conversion to a cruise missile submarine, she was re-designated SSGN-728.
The contract to build her was awarded to the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut on 28 February 1975 and her keel was laid down on the bicentennial of the United States's independence, 4 July 1976. The boat was unnamed at the keel-laying ceremony.
The initial ship's crew formed the precommissioning unit on 8 July 1980. The first shipboard watches were stationed on 14 February 1981 to support the operational control transfer of engineering systems to ship's force control. The Secretary of the Navy finally named her on 19 January 1981.
Florida was launched on 14 November 1981 sponsored by Mrs. Jarcia M. Carlucci. Her reactor was initially taken critical on 13 November 1982 and she went into service and the crew moved onboard on 21 January 1983. Florida commenced initial builders' sea trials on 21 February 1983 and was subsequently delivered to the Navy on 17 May 1983 – 43 days ahead of schedule. She was commissioned on 18 June 1983, with Captain William L. Powell in command of the Blue Crew and Captain G.R. Sterner in command of the Gold Crew.
Both crews successfully completed the demonstration and shakedown operations, each culminated by the successful launch of a Trident C-4 missile. Florida transited the Panama Canal in February and arrived in Bangor, Washington on 25 March 1984. She completed her first strategic deterrent patrol on 25 July 1984.
As of November 2002, Florida had successfully completed 61 strategic deterrent patrols. She won the Battle E in 1989, 1991, 1994, 1999, and 2002. In 1991, she won the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award. In 1997, Florida's skipper, Commander Michael J. Alfonso, was relieved of command for "browbeating his crew, ignoring his executive officer and chief of the boat, and acting as a tyrant."
Florida entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard in July 2003 to undergo a refueling and conversion from an SSBN to an SSGN. Florida completed her conversion in April 2006 and is homeported in Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia. On 25 May 2006 she had a return to service ceremony at Naval Station Mayport, Florida. Ms. Carlucci was the ship's sponsor for her recommissioning in Mayport, Florida in May 2006.
Facts and Figures
Builders: Electric Boat Division, General Dynamics Corp., Groton, Ct.
Powerplant: One nuclear reactor, one shaft
Length: 560 feet (109.73 meters)
Beam: 42 feet
Displacement: Approx. 18,750 tons (17,010 metric tons)
Submerged Speed: 20+ knots (23+ MPH; 36,8+ KPH)
Crew: 15 officers, 150 enlisted
Armament: 154 Tomahawk Missiles, 4 Torpedo tubes