USS Ethan Allen, (SSBN-608) operating in the Pacific as a
unit of Joint Task Force 8 Operation Frigate-Bird,"
fired the only nuclear-armed POLARIS missile ever launched
on 6 May 1962. A POLARIS A1 missile was launched from the
USS Ethan Allen (SSBN-608) while submerged in the Pacific,
and its nuclear warhead was detonated over the South Pacific
at the end of its programmed flight. The shot was made
during the 1962 atomic tests and hit "right in the
pickle barrel." The captain of the 608 was Paul Lacy,
and ADM Levering Smith was aboard. To date, this is the only
complete proof test of a U.S. strategic missile. With the
ban on atmospheric testing, the chances of another similar
test are remote.
USS John Marshall (SSBN-611) became the last submarine to
give up her POLARIS A2's for POLARIS A3 capability when she
went into overhaul on 1 November 1974.
of these submarines were later reclassified as attack
submarines under the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT)
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