A Sailor’s Touch


ETHAN ALLEN

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Chief Meadows Meadows

A Moment and A Model of the ‘60s Dangerous ‘ColdWar’


A Model Influencing the Cold War

Being Restored by Chief Meadows


USS Ethan Allen (SSBN-608), lead ship of her class, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for American Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen.


Ethan Allen's keel was laid down by the Electric Boat Corporation of Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 22 November 1960, sponsored by Mrs. Robert H. Hopkins, great-great-great-granddaughter of Ethan Allen. The ship was commissioned on 8 August 1961, with Captain Paul L. Lacy, Jr., commanding Blue Crew and Commander W. W. Behrens, Jr., commanding the Gold Crew.


Ethan Allen (Navy hull design SCB-180) was the first submarine designed as a ballistic missile launch platform.[2] (The earlier George Washington class were converted attack submarines.) She was constructed from HY80 steel (high yield, 80,000 psi (550,000 kPa) yield strength),[2] and was fitted with the Mark 2 Mod 3 Ships Inertial Navigation System (SINS).[2] At launch, she was outfitted with Polaris A-2 (UGM-27B) submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and Mark 16 Mod 6 torpedoes; the torpedo fire control system was the Mark 112 Mod 2.[2] The A-2s would be replaced with Polaris A-3s and their gas/steam ejection launch gear and Mark 80 fire control systems during 1965,[2] while in the 1970s these would be replaced with Polaris A-3Ts.[2] In addition, Ethan Allen was updated with Mark 37 and (later) Mark 48 torpedoes during her operational lifetime.[2]

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This picture of the model box is important. Revell models made that kit and it caused a panic at the Pentagon as a lot of the details were too accurate. The Russians ordered over 100 of the kits and the US Navy tried to buy the rest. It led to a line in the security clearance paperwork that mentions models along with taped, written, or drawn items. It was a huge stink.

-- Chief Meadows
Author: ”OF ICE AND STEEL” and “EPITAPH”


The Mission to Restore

Ethan Allen Is Accepted

(Early Summer 2018)


This year at the Hog Roast in the Swamp, our Northern Brothers of the Phin, presented the After Battery with a large scale (nearly 7’) model of SSBN 608.  We much appreciate it as a great Submarine item to display in the After Battery.  

Over the years, probably since the very early 1960s, this model has led a varied life and we decided to offer it a yard period, as it likely never has had one.  Shipmate Don Meadows does this kind of stuff for models as a hobby and volunteered to provide the needed services.  His note on the subject and pictures are below.

 

Please note that while Don is volunteering his services, there will be significant expenses associated with materiel for his effort – expected to take around 6 months and $1,500.  


A jar has been placed on the bar at the After Battery to accept donations expressly for the Ethan Allen scale model yard period.  If you feel motivated to help with the cost, please contribute

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Before President Kennedy approved operation "Frigate Bird," he wanted to be sure he understood exactly what the launching sub looked like.


This model was built to show him the lead ship of the new ETHAN ALLEN class of SSBN.

 

Operation "Frigate Bird," would be the worlds first and only launching of a fully armed nuclear-tipped ballistic missile. Upon studying the model Kennedy decided he needed to see the ship in person. Due to his back injuries climbing the ladders into the ship was not an option. Electric Boat fabricated a  special cage that lowered the President into the submarine.

 The launch went off as planned. The warhead detonated over the Pacific with a force 15 times greater than the weapon used on Hiroshima.  Kennedy approved the operation.

 

What happened to this model is really unknown. It appears that for security reasons at the time large portions of the interior were removed.

Now that the class is no longer in commission and the technology is declassified, I can rebuild the interior to what it should have looked like. However, I can still only do the unclassified version of the Engineering spaces.

Even the Nautilus Engineering Spaces are still classified. The exterior will be detailed and repainted as it would have appeared in the 1960s. This model is almost 7 feet long!! This will be a fun project for SUBVETS and all who served on the nations SSBNs. 

– Chief D. Clayton Meadows

Author: “Ice and Steel” and “Epitaph”