The Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine
There was a time when all the children
of our Country were aware of "duck and cover".
All were fearful in those
times, of radiation, and blast effect, there seemed little chance we would
The bombs we faced, or felt we faced, became more menacing each
Many citizens built their fallout shelters, and it mattered not what
they said, it was out of fear.
The future in those days, from all
points of view, was bleak at best, none at worst, with most folks in-between.
This went on from year-to-year, and life went on despite the fear, would
that huge flash be our last scene?
In time the powers that be, said they
had the answer, if there was an answer to be had.
They would combine our
mighty military force; Navy, Air Force and Army into an effort known as
The Air Force had Strategic Bombers,
the Army developed impressive ICBMs.
The Navy built, manned and trained the
crews for the Submarines that were known as FBMs.
All these Warriors
combined performed the jobs they were assigned, and due to their efforts over
numerous years, the people of the great United States were beginning to lose
their all our fears.
I have no real knowledge of those B 52s
that carried the bombs, which would protect our Land.
Soviet SAMs could
defeat them before they reached their goal, the latest MIG fighter would be
their very last stand.
Land based ICBMs, with their mighty power were
probably targeted before they were ever on line.
This made them a first
strike target, they could not hide, they could not move, and were far away from
our cities by design.
Then there was the Fleet Ballistic
Missile Submarine and She became the ultimate answer to the problem of the
She went to sea on nuclear power with missiles at the ready, Her
crews trained and in their prime.
The plan to launch and man these
Submarines was Admiral Rayburn's plan and was something to behold.
of the best enlisted men were picked to man these boats, and that plan was
The ol' Diesel Boats were the main
source of the officers and crew to staff each Man-of-War.
earned, they knew Trim, Drain and Depth Control and every ship system to its
The FBM was huge, compared to that Diesel Boat; no man had to hot
bunk, no smell of diesel in the air.
These Submariner's, forward Sailors
and Nucs, took the Boat to sea and brought Her home, they always did their
These great Submarines, these FBMs,
each had a famous name, well known in our great land;
JOHN ADAMS, PATRICK HENRY and TECUMSEH each had made their stand.
Boats did their job, in full, but could never make that claim. They could
neither confirm nor deny.
That was the order of the day. And these
patriotic Submariners would never question why.
They were 41 in number and
patrolled the oceans that encompassed all the enemy's land.
They kept our
enemies in range and insured they always would receive the orders from the
I must list a few more Boats; each
Polaris Boat played such a vital role, as our nation certainly must have seen;
EDISON, JAMES MADISON, LAFAYETTE, SAM RAYBURN, GRANT, JEFFERSON, NATHANEAL GREEN,
BEN FRANKLIN, SAM HOUSTON, KAMEHAMEHA, SIMON
BOLIVER and JOHN C. CALHOUN,
ETHAN ALLEN, LEWIS AND CLARK, ALEXANDER
HAMILTON, JAMES K. POLK and the DANIEL BOONE.
The COs and the XOs of these Boats,
were the best officers that Admiral Rickover could deploy.
was their Boat. They made it so. They used all the skill and knowledge, each
one could employ.
We, the men of this Submarine, and all FBMs, had to be
together. There could be no other way.
Our COs and our XOs were masters
that provided the guidance and the course that we would stay.
Machines, even magnificent machines, as
were these 41, must eventually meet their end.
They were replaced by new
FBMs that had more missiles, more power, and later technology on which they
These Trident Submarines relied on the skills of those that
manned the original 41.
The names of the Boats may have changed, and the
weapons too, but the same mission still was to be done.
These new proud Boats mostly took the
names of states, and each was proud to represent a state of this great land;
ALABAMA, ALASKA, MICHIGAN, TENNESSEE, RHODE ISLAND, NEBRASKA, MARYLAND, OHIO, NEVADA, LOUSIANA, PENNSYLVANIA, WEST
VIRGINIA, KENTUCKY and MAINE.
They took Battleship names, they are the
Battleships of new, and in the minds of Sailors young and old they will
Many of these Fleet Ballistic Missile
Submarines are still engrossed in doing upkeeps and patrols,
and even to
this day there are many that do not comprehend these FBMs, let alone their
I must state this fact: these FBMs saved the world from nuclear war,
because they did the job intended.
No other force could belay the records
of these FBMs. The Soviets tried but their efforts were upended.
Sailor that I am, or rather that I was, is proud to have played a minor part in
this effort that won that long Cold War,
It is my hope that my
Grandchildren's Children will never understand "duck and cover "or even what
those words were for.
Contributed by: E. A. Hughes, FTCM (SS)