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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

Patch on left contributed by Tad Dillhoff, in center by Mike Smolinski, Decal on right by
Radio Call Sign: November - Romeo - Romeo - Mike

Sam Houston (SSBN / SSN-609)

Ethan Allen Class Ballistic Missile Submarine: Laid down, 28 December 1959, at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, VA; Launched, 2 February 1961; Commissioned, USS Sam Houston (SSBN-609), 6 March 1962; Reclassified (SSN-609), 10 November 1980; Decommissioned and struck from the Naval Register, 6 September 1991; Disposed of through Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program, 3 February 1992 at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, WA.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 6,946 t., Submerged: 7, 884 t.; Length 410' ; Beam 33'; Draft 32'; Speed, Surfaced/Submerged 20+ kts; Complement 110; Test depth 1,300'; Armament, 16 Polaris missile tubes; four 21" torpedo tubes, Propulsion, S5W Pressurized Water Nuclear Reactor, two geared turbines at 15,000 shp, one propeller.
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Sam Houston137k Samuel Houston, generally known as Sam Houston, was born on 2 March 1793 at Timber Ridge Plantation in Rockbridge County, Va. After the death of his father in 1807, Sam's mother took him to eastern Tennessee where he learned the ways of the Cherokee Indians and became deeply committed to furthering Indian rights; a cause he served throughout his life. Houston enlisted in the 7th Infantry on 24 March 1813 for service in the war with England. He fought under General Andrew Jackson and, although severely wounded during the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, remained in the Army after the end of hostilities. He had attained the rank of First Lieutenant before he resigned on 1 March 1818 to study law.
Soon after being admitted to the Tennessee bar, Houston was appointed prosecuting attorney for the Nashville District. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1823 to 1827. In the latter year, he was elected state governor and served as head of the Tennessee government until 1829 when he relinquished office and became a trader in Indian Territory (Oklahoma). Much of his time in the next few years was devoted to securing fair treatment of Indians by the Federal Government and to promoting peace among various Indian tribes.
He visited Texas in 1832 to negotiate with the Comanche tribe on behalf of the Cherokees and, thereafter, became increasingly involved in that region. Soon after the outbreak of the Texas War for Independence, Houston was chosen Commander in Chief of the Texas Army. On 21 April 1836, his badly outnumbered force, which had been retreating before the Mexican Army, turned and decisively defeated their pursuers at San Jacinto. They captured the Mexican commander, Santa Anna, and his entire army, thereby winning independence for Texas.
On 22 October 1836, Houston was inaugurated President of the Republic of Texas and held the office until December 1838. He then stepped down but again headed the new government from 1841 to 1844.
When Texas was annexed to the United States, Houston was elected as one of the state's United States senators, and he served in the Senate until 1859, when displeasure over his loyalty to the Union prompted the Texas Legislature to replace him. However, his enduring popularity among the electorate won him the office of governor which he held until he was deposed on 18 March 1861 for refusing to swear allegiance to the Confederacy. He then retired to his farm where he died on 26 July 1863.
Photo from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540, courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
Submarine Silhouettes 1960179kSubmarine Silhouettes of 1960:
Nautilus (SSN-571), Seawolf (SSN-575), Skate (SSN-578), Skipjack (SS-585), Triton (SSRN-586), Halibut (SSGN-587), Thresher (SSN-593), Tullibee (SSN-597), George Washington (SSBN-598), & Ethan Allen (SSBN-608) classes.
USN photo submitted by Ron Titus, courtesy of Ingersoll-Rand. Corp.
Nuclear Submarine Profiles187kNuclear Submarine Profiles 1960:
Nautilus (SSN-571),
Seawolf (SSN-575),
Triton (SSRN-586),
Skate (SSN-578) & Skipjack (SS-585) classes,
Halibut (SSGN-587) & Tullibee (SSN-597) classes,
George Washington (SSBN-598) &
Thresher (SSN-593) classes.
USN photo courtesy of Ron Titus courtesy of Ingersoll-Rand. Corp. Photo i.d. courtesy of David Johnston
200k The Shark (SSN-591) shortly before her launching, 16 March 1960. The Polaris submarine Sam Houston (SSBN-609) is under construction on the right. Photo courtesy of Dale Hargrave.
Shark 206k Shark (SSN-591) on Shipway 5 a few days before her launching on 16 March 1960. The Sam Houston (SSBN-609) is under the canvas cover to Shark's right. Photo courtesy of Dale Hargrave.
Shark & Sam 154k The Shark (SSN-591) shortly before her launching, 16 March 1960. The Polaris submarine Sam Houston (SSBN-609) is completely enclosed in the background. Photo from Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. magazine March 1961, Volume XX, # II.
Courtesy of John Shane, whose grandmother, Mrs. Louis Shane sponsored the boat and was the wife of the late Lieutenant Commander Louis Shane, Jr. who was K.I.A. while commanding the Shark (SSN-591), approximately 11 February 1942.
Sam Houston959k1 February 1961: At the White House in Washington, D.C., Naval Aide to the President Commander Tazewell Shepard, Jr. holds a plaque presented by President John F. Kennedy to the Sam Houston (SSBN-609). Inscription reads: "Sam Houston 'He loved his country. He was a patriot. He was devoted to the Union.'Photo # JFKWHP-AR6313-A & text courtesy of
Sam Houston62kPhoto & inset of the Sam Houston's (SSBN-609) Sponsor, Mrs. John B. Connally at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, VA., 2 February 1961; while the boat gets her first taste of liquid other than the salt sea. Photo from Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. magazine March 1961, Volume XX, # II.
Photo courtesy of John Shane, from Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. magazine March 1961, Volume XX, # II.
Sam Houston94kView of the Sam Houston (SSBN-609) during her christening ceremony on 2 February 1961. A sister ship, the John Marshall (SSBN-611), is under construction on the next shipway and would be launched on 15 July 1961. Photo courtesy of John Shane, from Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. magazine March 1961, Volume XX, # II.
Sam Houston283kCover of the launching program of the Sam Houston (SSBN-609) on 2 February 1961.Photo courtesy of Dale Hargrave.
The new nuclear submarine Sam Houston (SSBN-609) equipped to carry Polaris missiles, takes a direct hit of champagne on the bow as Mrs. John B. Connally, Jr., wife of the new Secretary of the Navy, does the christening at Newport News, Va., yesterday.
PDF Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo from Evening Star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, 03 February 1961, Image 2 via
Sam Houston 527k (Original Caption) Newport News, VA.: Mrs. John Connally, wife of the former Secy. of Navy, and sponsor of the nuclear submarine Sam Houston (SSBN-609), presents an oil painting depicting The Surrender of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna to Gen. Sam Houston, San Jacento, Texas, 22 April 1826, to Commander Jack H. Hawkins, USN, Standing at bar left. Presentation took place during commissioning ceremonies of the Sam Houston. Photo by Bettmann via Getty Images courtesy of
Sam Houston118kThe officers and crew of the Sam Houston (SSBN-609) stand at attention as she slides down the shipway at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, VA., 2 February 1961. Photo courtesy of John Shane, from Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. magazine March 1961, Volume XX, # II.
Sam Houston24kCommemorative postal cover issued on the occasion of the Sam Houston's (SSBN-609) first day in commission, 25 January 1962. Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Sam Houston69kPort quarter view of the Sam Houston (SSBN-609) underway, probably in the Chesapeake Bay, 30 January 1962. USNI photo.
Sam Houston475kCommissioning day crowd around the Sam Houston (SSBN-609), 6 March 1962. Photo courtesy of UPI via David Wright.
Sam Houston297kSam Houston (SSBN-609) in March 1962. Photo from the files of the Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum via Darryl L. Baker.
Sam Houston98kSam Houston (SSBN-609) is soon to be delightful. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Sam Houston772kDifferent sources of energy appear here as the Sam Houston (SSBN-609) passes a sailing vessel. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Sam Houston678kSam Houston (SSBN-609) returns to Holy Loch in Scotland on 9 July 1963 after her first Polaris patrol in the Mediterranean. During her cruise, Sam Houston visited Izmir, Turkey, becoming the first SSBN to visit that nation.Text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Since 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman & James L. Christley. Naval Institute Press.
USN photo # NPC 711325 courtesy of Scott Koen &
437k Six photo PDF of Sam Houston (SSBN-609) crosses the line, `early 1960's. Photos courtesy of Michael Steve Petraline (of blessed memory) courtesy of his daughter Angela.
Sam Houston7.75kPOLARIS - THE US NAVY'S FLEET BALLISTIC MISSILE WEAPON SYSTEM-Featuring Sam Houston (SSBN-609), among others.PDF courtesy of Arnold Putnam.
Sam Houston70k Sam Houston (SSBN-609) loads a Polaris A-2 missile while pier side in 1965. The missile is in a protective loading shell designed to protect the soft sides of the missile during loading & unloading. Courtesy of NARA.
Sam Houston1.83kEighteen page Welcome Aboard PDF for the Sam Houston (SSBN-609), 1969. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Sam Houston429kOn 27 November 1972 the Sam Houston (SSBN-609) entered Charleston Naval Shipyard and began an extended in-port period, which included regular overhaul and the updating of her weapons and propulsion systems. In May 1974, when this photo was released for publication, she was in port at Charleston, S.C.Text courtesy of DANFS.
USN photo # NPC 1158725 courtesy of Scott Koen &
Sam Houston900kSomething they could have used at the siege of the Alamo.
Sam Houston (SSBN-609) going ballistic on 26 April 1975.
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Sam Houston89k Sam Houston (SSBN-609) in drydock in Apra Harbor, Guam circa 1978.Photo courtesy of Tad Dillhoff.
Sam Houston171kADM. William A. (Bill) Owens was the Commanding Officer of the ballistic missile submarine Sam Houston (SSBN-609) from January 1977 to January 1979. He also had the command of the pre-commissioning unit PCU City of Corpus Christi (SSN-705). He turned the command over to her first Commanding Officer CDR. Winford Gerald (Jerry) Ellis. USN photo courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
Sam Houston83kThe Sam Houston (SSBN-609) silhouetted against the sun, circa late 1970's.Photo courtesy of Tad Dillhoff.
Sam Houston130k Sam Houston (SSBN-609) blue in the Pacific. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Sam Houston342kA starboard beam view of the nuclear-powered attack submarine Sam Houston (SSBN-609) underway in the Hood Canal, 1 April 1981. Official USN photo # DN-SC-83-09038, by Gregory P. White-Wiegnad, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of & submitted by Bill Gonyo.
Guitarro & Sam Houston202kThe Guitarro (SSN-665) Change of Command is seen in progress on 18 July 1981 at Ballast Point San Diego, Calif. The Sam Houston (SSBN-609) is alongside the Dixon (AS-37) aft of Guitarro. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Sam Houston471kA starboard beam view of the nuclear-powered attack submarine Sam Houston (SSN-609) entering the Pearl Harbor on 1 March 1986. Official USN photo # DN-SC-86-05313, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of & submitted by Bill Gonyo.
Sam Houston77kThe Sam Houston (SSBN-609) heads out to sea on a deterrent patrol in this undated photo.USN photo courtesy of
Sam Houston120kUndated photo of the Sam Houston (SSBN-609) underway, probably out on Dabob Bay Range off the Naval Submarine base at Bangor, Washington. The Olympic mountain range is in the background. USN photo courtesy of Wendell Royce McLaughlin Jr.
Sam Houston80kA Sam Houston (SSBN-609) insignia. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Reactor Compartments83kTrench 94, Hanford Site, Washington, 1994. Hull sections containing defueled reactor compartments of decommissioned nuclear-powered submarines are put in disposal trenches. Once full, the trench will be filled with dirt and buried. The compartments are expected to retain their integrity for more than 600 years. USN photo submitted by Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Spent Fuel569kSealed reactor compartments are shipped by barge out of Puget Sound Naval Base down the coast and along the Columbia River to the port of Benton. There the radioactively-contaminated hull sections are transferred to special multiwheeled high-load trailers for transport to the Hanford Reservation in Washington State. Pictured below is the burial ground for spent fuel of the following 77 nuclear reactor submarines as of March 2003:
Patrick Henry (SSBN-599),
Snook (SSN-592),
George Washington (SSBN-598),
Scamp (SSN-588),
Robert E. Lee (SSBN-601),
Thomas Jefferson (SSBN-618),
Theodore Roosevelt (SSBN-600),
Dace (SSN-607),
John Adams (SSBN-620),
Abraham Lincoln (SSBN-602),
Barb (SSN-596),
Ethan Allen (SSBN-608),
Thomas A. Edison (SSBN-610),
Pollack (SSN-603),
Glenard P. Lipscomb (SSN-685),
James Monroe (SSBN-622),
Skipjack (SS-585),
Nathan Hale (SSBN-623),
Plunger (SSN-595),
Shark (SSN-591),
Lafayette (SSBN-616),
Sam Houston (SSBN-609),
Jack (SSN-605),
Haddo (SSN-604),
Tinosa (SSN-606),
Guardfish (SSN-612),
Permit (SSN-594),
Queenfish (SSN-651),
Ulysses S. Grant (SSBN-631),
John Marshall (SSBN-611),
George C. Marshall (SSBN-654),
Flasher (SSN-613),
Guitarro (SSN-665),
Alexander Hamilton (SSBN-617),
George Washington Carver (SSBN-656),
Tecumseh (SSBN-628),
Halibut (SSGN-587),
Will Rogers (SSBN-659),
Henry L. Stimson (SSBN-655),
Daniel Boone (SSBN-629),
Greenling (SSN-614),
John C. Calhoun (SSBN-630),
Casimir Pulaski (SSBN-633),
Skate (SSN-578),
Sargo (SSN-583),
Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657),
Sturgeon (SSN-637),
Benjamin Franklin (SSBN-640),
Swordfish (SSN-579),
Seadragon (SSN-584),
Stonewall Jackson (SSBN-634),
Simon Bolivar (SSBN-641),
Hammerhead (SSN-663),
Mariano G. Vallejo (SSBN-658) ,
Tullibee (SSN-597),
Lewis & Clark (SSBN-644),
Pargo (SSN-650),
Seahorse (SSN-669),
Gurnard (SSN-662),
Flying Fish (SSN-673),
Gato (SSN-615),
Puffer (SSN-652),
Seawolf (SSN-575),
Baton Rouge (SSN-689),
Bergall (SSN-667),
Whale (SSN-638),
Henry Clay (SSBN-625),
James Madison (SSBN-627),
Finback (SSN-670),
Spadefish (SSN-668),
Sunfish (SSN-649),
George Bancroft (SSBN-643),
Grayling (SSN-646),
Pintado (SSN-672),
Tunny (SSN-682),
Archerfish (SSN-678),
& Woodrow Wilson (SSBN-624).
As time passes & more boats are retired from service and their reactors are brought here, so the numbers rise. In this photo dated November 2009, 98 nuclear submarines and six nuclear cruisers have been recycled. For an up to date view, click here
USN photo submitted by Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Insert link courtesy of

View the Sam Houston (SSBN 609)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site.
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation
Fleet Reserve Association

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
USS Sam Houston SS(B)N 609
FAS - SSBN-608 Ethan Allen Class FBM Submarines

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