The USS New York City (SSN-696) was a Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered fast attack submarine built for the U.S. Navy in the early 1970s. The only Navy ship to be named after the Big Apple, she served for two decades based out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
The contract to build the USS New York City was awarded on January 24, 1972 to the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation – a Groton, Connecticut-based shipbuilder that has been the leading submarine-maker for the Navy since the early 1900s. The ship’s keel was laid down on December 15, 1973, and she was launched on June 18, 1977, sponsored by Mrs. James R. Schlesinger, the wife of then-Secretary of Energy and former Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger.
The New York City was commissioned on March 3, 1979, under the leadership of Commander James A. Ross. The vessel measured 361 feet in length and weighed more than 6,000 tons full. She carried a complement of 12 officers and 98 enlisted men, and was loaded with several types of weaponry: the UGM-84 Harpoon, Tomahawk missiles and Mark 48 torpedoes.
The USS New York City was the ninth member of the Los Angeles class, also known as the “LA class” or “688 class.” Members of this class were named after U.S. cities, breaking a longtime tradition of naming Navy vessels after sea creatures. With a total of 43 submarines on active duty and 19 retired, the Los Angeles class remains today the most numerous nuclear-powered submarine class in the world.
The $900 million USS New York City had a moment in pop culture fame on the television show JAG; on the show, baseball caps worn by the crew of the fictional USS Watertown indicated “SSN-696.”
The New York City was decommissioned on April 30, 1997 after a two-decade career. She was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on the same day, and entered the Nuclear-Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington for recycling.
Asbestos Risk on the USS New York City (SSN-696)
Veterans who served aboard the USS New York City bravely defended our nation during the Cold War and involvements in the Middle East. It is a tragic fact that years later, these same brave men face another threat: asbestos-related diseases.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used aboard Navy ships from the 1920s through the 1970s. Drawn to the substance for its durability, strength, fire-resistance and for its relatively low price tag, the Navy ordered shipyards to use asbestos in insulation, gaskets, adhesives, fabrics and other materials throughout its submarines. The mineral was used extensively below deck in the mechanical areas of ships, but it was also put to use in control rooms, sleeping quarters and mess halls. Therefore, it was not just shipyard workers and sailors assigned to mechanical duties that were exposed to asbestos; virtually anyone who spent time aboard a Navy ship was likely exposed.
Exposure generally occurred when materials made with asbestos – such as insulation – were installed or torn out, or when they aged and began to break down. When that occurred, asbestos dust was released into the air. When these particles were inhaled, they could become embedded in a person’s lung tissue, planting the seed for asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma cancer. To learn more about the disease, its symptoms and its treatments, request a mesothelioma information packet today.Sources
Wikipedia – USS New York City (SSN-696)
Navy Site – USS New York City (SSN-696)
Wikipedia – Los Angeles-Class Submarine