(SSBN-624) was laid down on 16 September 1961 at Vallejo,
Calif., by the Mare Island Naval Shipyard; launched on 22
February 1963; sponsored by Miss Eleanor A. Sayre, the
granddaughter of President Wilson; and commissioned on 27
December 1963, Comdr. C. N. Mitchell and Comdr. W. N.
Dietzen in command of the Blue and Gold crews, respectively.
WOODROW WILSON departed Vallejo,
Calif., on 9 January 1964, bound for the east coast on a
route which would take her through the Panama Canal. After
stopping briefly at San Diego, the submarine proceeded on to
Panama arriving on 19 January at the west coast end of the
canal. Violent anti-American demonstrations and riots over a
recent flag-displaying incident had resulted in an extremely
tense atmosphere. As a result, the submarine transited the
canal in a record seven hours and ten minutes while
combat-ready marines and soldiers guarded the locks.
Making port at Charleston, S.C., on
5 February, the WOODROW WILSON conducted shakedown off the
lower eastern seaboard into March and underwent her
postshakedown availability into April. She put to sea at the
end of May upon the conclusion of these repairs and
alterations and commenced her first deterrent patrol out of
Charleston in June.
WOODROW WILSON subsequently
operated in the Atlantic until the autumn of 1969,
conducting her patrols from forward bases at Rota, Spain,
and Holy Loch, Scotland. She was then transferred to the
Pacific and arrived at Pearl Harbor on 19 November, via
Charleston and the Panama Canal. The fleet ballistic missile
submarine continued toward the western Pacific to be based
at Guam. She conducted deterrent patrols from Apra Harbor
through 1972. In that year, she shifted back to the Atlantic
and served with the Atlantic Fleet into 1978. Between 1964
and 1977, the ship performed 37 deterrent patrols.
Deactivated while still in
commission on 11 January 1993, WOODROW WILSON was both
decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register
on 1 September 1994. She entered the Navy’s Nuclear
Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at Bremerton,
Washington on 26 September 1997 and finished it on 27
October 1998. When she emerged from the program, the former
ballistic missile submarine no longer existed as a complete
ship and was classed as scrapped.