USS Jimmy Carter serves as tribute to 39th president’s Naval career

The nuclear-powered fast attack submarine is the last of its Seawolf class
The USS Jimmy Carter, the most heavily armed attack submarine built, is docked in Groton,...
The USS Jimmy Carter, the most heavily armed attack submarine built, is docked in Groton, Conn., Saturday, Feb. 19, 2005. The Navy welcomed the $3.2 billion submarine, the first named after a living ex-president, at a commissioning ceremony Saturday.((AP Photo/Jack Sauer))
Published: Feb. 19, 2023 at 2:38 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Jimmy Carter is the only living former president to have a nuclear submarine christened in his honor.

The USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23), according to, is the third and last Seawolf-class submarine. The boat was named in honor of Carter, the nation’s 39th president and, thus far, the only submarine-qualified man who went on to become the nation’s chief executive.


The contract to build SSN 23 was awarded to the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut, on June 29, 1996.

Carter himself was the nuclear engineer office on the USS Seawolf (SSN 575) during his Naval career. He served under the legendary - and temperamentally demanding - Admiral Hyman Rickover, considered to be the father of today’s nuclear-powered Navy.

Here, from the Jimmy Carter Library, is Carter’s Naval service record:

  • 05 JUN 1946 - 8 AUG 1946—Commissioned Ensign, USN. Routine post-USNA graduation assignments- indoctrinational training with service type aircraft - leave and transit to first duty station.
  • 8 AUG 1946 - 23 JUL 1947—Duty aboard USS Wyoming (E-AG17). Billets Held: Deck Division Officer, Radar Officer, CIC Officer Qualifications: OOD in Port, JOOD underway. Remarks: Detached from Wyoming at ship’s decommissioning.
  • 23 JUL 1947 - 14 JUN 1948—Duty aboard USS Mississippi (E-AG128). Billets Held: Training and Education Officer Qualifications: OOD underway and in port, CIC watch Officer Remarks: During this tour of duty, Carter was a candidate for a Rhodes Scholarship.
  • 14 JUN 1948 - 17 DEC 1948—Duty under instruction at the Officer’s course, USN Submarine School, Submarine Base, New London
  • 17? DEC 1948 - 01 FEB 1951—Duty aboard USS Pomfret (SS-391) Billets Held: Communications Officer, Electronics Officer, Sonar Officer, Gunnery Officer, First Lieutenant, Electrical Officer, Supply Officer Qualifications: 4 Feb 1950 Qualified in Submarine
  • 05 JUNE 1949—Promoted to Lieutenant (j.g.)
  • 01 FEB 1951 - 10 NOV 1951—Duty with Shipbuilding and Naval Inspector of Ordnance, Groton, CT as prospective Engineering Officer of the USS K-1 during precommissioning fitting out of the submarine.
  • 10 NOV 1951 - 16 OCT 1952—Duty aboard USS K-1(SSK-1) Billets Held: Executive Officer, Engineering Officer, Operations Officer, Gunnery Officer, Electronics Repair Officer Qualifications: Qualified for Command of Submarine Remarks: Submarine was new construction, first vessel of its class
  • 01 JUNE 1952—Promoted to Lieutenant
  • 16 OCT 1952 - 08 OCT 1953—Duty with US Atomic Energy Commission (Division of Reactor Development, Schenectady Operations Office) From 3 NOV 1952 to 1 MAR 1953 he served on temporary duty with Naval Reactors Branch, US Atomic Energy Commission, Washington, D.C. “assisting in the design and development of nuclear propulsion plants for naval vessels.” From 1 MAR 1953 to 8 OCT 1953 he was under instruction to become an engineering officer for a nuclear power plant. He also assisted in setting up on-the-job training for the enlisted men being instructed in nuclear propulsion for the USS Seawolf (SSN575).
  • 9 OCT 1953—Honorably discharged at Headquarters, 3rd Naval District. Discharge was at Carter’s request. Total service: 7 years, 4 months, 8 days
  • 10 OCT 1953—Appointed to US Naval Reserve and placed on inactive duty.
  • 7 DEC 1961—Transferred to retired reserve with rank of Lieutenant at his own request, but without pay and allowances in accordance with Title X, U.S.C. section 1376 (a).