USS Lafayette II

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Lafayette II SSBN-616

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Lafayette II

(SSBN-616, dp. 7,250 (surf.), 8,250 (subm.), 1. 425', b. 33'; s. over 20 k.,cpl.

The second Lafayette (SSBN-616) was laid down 17 January l961 by Electric Boat Co., Division of General Dynamics, Groton, Conn., Launched 8 May 1962 - sponsored by Mrs. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, wife of the 35th President of the United States; and commissioned 23 April 1963 at Groton, Con, Comdr. P. J. Hannifln in command of the Blue Crew and Comdr. James T. Strong in command of the Gold Crew.

After a Caribbean shakedown Lafayette loaded missiles at Charleston and during June sailed to Cape Canaveral for ballistic missile maneuvers. Four missiles were flred, two by each crew, after which the nuclear submarine steamed to Groton, arriving there 2 August. For the rest of the year her two crews alternately took her through a series of exercises before she took her place in the Navy's expanding "Polaris Fleet.''

Lafayette departed Charleston 4 January 1964 for her first deterrent patrol in the Atlantic. During the next 4 years, Lafayette, as part of America's most effective weapon system, made 16 deterrent patrols out of Rota, Spain, and played an important role in the maintenance of peace and freedom throughout the world. Her 15th patrol, the 400th of the Polaris submarine fleet, won Lafayette Special commendation from Secretary of the Navy Paul Nitze. She returned to Charleston from her 16th patrol 23 August 1967. A week later she arrived Newport News for a major overhaul by Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. to prepare for future service. On 28 December 1968, Lafayette's overhaul officially ended and in January 1969, she once again took up her vital position with the fleet.