USS Chicago (SSN-721)
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USS Chicago SSN-721

USS Chicago (SSN-721) returns from Desert Storm.jpg
USS Chicago returning from Desert Storm
United States
Name: Chicago
Namesake: The City of Chicago, Illinois
Ordered: 13 August 1981
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Virginia
Laid down: 5 January 1983
Launched: 13 October 1984
Commissioned: 27 September 1986[1]
Homeport: Naval Station Pearl Harbor
Motto: We Will[2]
Status: in active service
Badge: USS Chicago SSN-721 Crest.png
General characteristics
Class and type: Los Angeles-class submarine
  • 5,759 tons light,
  • 6,162 tons full,
  • 403 tons dead
Length: 362 ft (110 m)
Beam: 33 ft (10 m)
Draft: 31 ft (9.4 m)
Propulsion: one S6G reactor
  • Surfaced:20 knots (23 mph; 37 km/h)
  • Submerged: +20 knots (23 mph; 37 km/h) (official)
Complement: 12 officers, 98 men
Sensors and
processing systems:
BQQ-5 passive sonar, BQS-15 detecting and ranging sonar, WLR-8 fire control radar receiver, WLR-9 acoustic receiver for detection of active search sonar and acoustic homing torpedoes, BRD-7 radio direction finder
Armament: 4 × 21 in (533 mm) bow tubes, 12x Vertical Launching System tubes, 27 Mk48 ADCAP torpedo reloads, Tomahawk land attack missile block 3 SLCM range 1,700 nautical miles (3,100 km), Harpoon anti-surface ship missile range 70 nautical miles (130 km), mine laying Mk67 mobile Mk60 captor mines

USS Chicago (SSN-721) is a Los Angeles-class submarine, the fourth ship of the United States Navy to be named for the city of Chicago, Illinois. The contract to build her was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, Virginia on 13 August 1981 and her keel was laid down on 5 January 1983. She was launched on 13 October 1984 sponsored by Mrs. Vicki Ann Paisley, wife of Melvyn R. Paisley assistant Secretary of the Navy, and commissioned on 27 September 1986.


Early in 1996, an RQ-1 Predator aerial reconnaissance drone was successfully controlled from Chicago. The drone reached altitudes up to 6,000 meters (20,000 ft) and ranged up to 185 kilometers (100 nmi.) from the submarine, which was operating at periscope depth.

In the summer of 2005, Chicago tested the virtual periscope, a system that would allow submerged submarines to observe the surface above them without having to come to a shallower depth, as is required by traditional periscopes.

After completing a two-year maintenance and upgrade period at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in October 2011, Chicago arrived in April 2012 at her new homeport, assigned to Submarine Squadron 15, based at Joint Region Marianas on the island of Guam.[3]

In keeping with a tradition that dates back to World War II, The Richard O'Kane's Cribbage Board was transferred from the Olympia's Wardroom to the Chicago's when the Olympia was Decommissioned on 31 October 2019. The USS Chicago (SSN-721) thus became the "Oldest Fast Attack in the Fleet" and The O'Kane Board now resides in her Wardroom.


Chicago has earned multiple awards in her service life. Chicago has been awarded many unit awards, including the Navy Unit Commendation, three Meritorious Unit Commendations and four Navy "E" Ribbon Submarine Squadron Battle "E"s.

Chicago has also been awarded several campaign and service awards, including the Navy Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, two Southwest Asia Service Medals, three Sea Service Ribbons, Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia), and the Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait).

One of the barracks buildings at the US Navy's Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes is named "USS Chicago".

In fiction

Chicago plays a prominent role in Tom Clancy's novel Red Storm Rising.

Chicago is also featured prominently in the 2008 naval thriller, Black Sea Affair, by Don Brown.[4]


  1. ^ "USS Chicago (SSN 721) history".
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Guam Welcomes USS Chicago". United States Navy. Retrieved 2012.
  4. ^ Google Books reference to USS Chicago in novel Black Sea Affair

Further reading

  • Chicago (Submarine (nuclear-powered) : SSN-721), and Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. Chicago Launching of SSN721, October 13, 1984. Newport News, Va: Newport News Shipbuilding, Tenneco Co, 1984. OCLC 690001032
  • Chicago (Submarine (nuclear-powered) : SSN-721). Welcome Aboard, USS Chicago SSN 721. United States: s.n, 1993. OCLC 689994981
  • Genat, Robin and Genat, Robert. Modern U.S. Naval Submarines. Osceola, WI: MBI Publishing Company, 1997. ISBN 0-7603-0276-6 OCLC 36713050

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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