USS John Marshall (SSBN-611) was an Ethan Allen-class submarine, the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for John Marshall (1755–1835), the Chief Justice of the United States. Originally a fleet ballistic missile submarine designated SSBN-611, she later was reclassified as an attack submarine and redesignated SSN-611.
Construction and Commissioning
John Marshall's keel was laid down on 4 April 1960 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company of Newport News, Virginia. She was launched on 15 July 1961 sponsored by Mrs.. Robert F. Kennedy, wife of the Attorney General of the United States, and commissioned on 21 May 1962 with Commander Robert W. Stecher commanding the Blue Crew and Commander Robert D. Donavan commanding the Gold Crew.
Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine
USS John Marshall (SSBN 611) became the ninth operational Fleet Ballistic Missile submarine on 31 December,1962 when she deployed on her first deterrent patrol from Holy Loch, Scotland.
After completing 17 patrols, John Marshall began her first overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding, completing overhaul in April 1968. She then returned to Holy Loch until June, 1970 and was then transferred to Submarine Squadron 16 out of Rota, Spain.
While operating out of Rota, John Marshall was awarded her first Meritorious Unit Commendation as a result of an operation conducted in March 1971 that demonstrated the effectiveness and dependability of the fleet ballistic missile system. In June 1973, she returned to New London, Connecticut, for a dependents cruise, then conducted two deterrent patrols from Charleston, South Carolina.
John Marshall began her second major overhaul and refueling at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California in November 1974, undergoing conversion to the Polaris A-3 missile system. Overhaul was completed May 1976 and she transferred to Submarine Squadron 15 out of Apra Harbor, Guam. She completed her 54th and final deterrent patrol with her arrival at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in December, 1980.
In January, 1981, John Marshall was reclassified as SSN 611. The last Polaris missile was off loaded and she began operations out of Submarine Squadron 4, Charleston, SC.
SSN 611 began her first deployment to the Mediterranean Sea in December, 1981, visiting many ports of call. She returned to Charleston, SC from her first SSN deployment, 20 years to the day after her commissioning.
September 1983 again saw John Marshall transferred to the West Coast to begin her third overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to add new berthing areas and Dry Deck Shelters in support of US Special Forces.
Upon overhaul completion, SSN 611 transferred to Norfolk, VA., and commenced her second deployment to the Mediterranean, returning to Norfolk in May, 1987.
Acoustic trials, shelter operations, and other operations continued through 1988, with John Marshall making her 1000th dive on 25 October, 1988.John Marshall conducted two more deployments to the Mediterranean and various Special Forces exercises throughout the remainder of her service life,as well as directly supporting forces during Operation Desert Storm
John Marshall transited to the Pacific for decommissioning and was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 22 July, 1992.