U.S. Navy Ballistic Missile Submarine USS Maine Returns to Service

The U.S. Navy Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Maine (SSBN 741) officially returned to strategic service, when it was recently deployed on the first patrol in more than three years.

This year marks USS Maine’s 25th anniversary since commissioning and it is also the state of Maine’s bicentennial.

The boat, homeported at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, is now operated by its gold crew. Each SSBN has two crews, blue and gold, which alternate manning and deploying the submarine.

Since the 1960s, strategic deterrence has been the SSBN’s sole mission, providing the United States with its most survivable and enduring nuclear strike capability. Having two crews maximizes the SSBN’s strategic availability and allows for proper crew training, readiness and morale.

USS Maine (SSBN 741)
SILVERDALE, Wash. (May 2, 2020) The U.S. Navy Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Maine (SSBN 741). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Andrea Perez/Released)

Maine’s three-year break in service involved an engineered refueling overhaul (ERO), estimated to extend the life of the ship by 20 years.

Several exercises and inspections, including a successful missile test launch in February 2020, known as Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) 30, all led up to Maine’s official return to the fleet and her mission of supporting the sea-based leg of the U.S. nuclear triad.

USS Maine Launches Trident II D5LE SLBM
An unarmed Trident II (D5LE) missile launches from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Maine (SSBN 741), Feb. 12, 2020. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Thomas Gooley)

Restoring Maine did not come without its challenges, especially since a majority of the crew had only operated the submarine in the dry dock, in addition to having to teach crew members to operate entirely new systems. Leading up to the deployment, Maine’s crew was required to be tested and quarantined as a mitigation measure to Coronavirus Disease 2019.

“Congratulations to the officers and crews of USS Maine on your highly successful return to strategic service,” said Adm. Charles Richard, United States Strategic Command. “Bringing an SSBN through an engineered refueling overhaul and returning her to strategic service is one of the most challenging tasks we ask of any of our crews. You should be immensely proud of what you have achieved and we will all sleep more soundly knowing Maine is once again standing the watch. Bravo Zulu, Maine!”

USS Maine (SSBN-741) is a U.S. Navy Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine in commission since 1995. She is the fourth U.S. Navy ship authorized, and the third commissioned, to be named in honor of the state of Maine. She has the capability to carry 24 nuclear-armed Trident submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

Maine’s keel was laid July 3, 1990, she was christened July 16, 1994, and was commissioned in Groton, Connecticut July 25, 1995.

Maine has been homeported at Naval Base Kitsap, Bangor, Washington since December 2005. Prior to this, she was homeported at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.

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