Key point: A mission that earned sailors a Presidential Unit Citation.
On Jan. 20, 2013, the Seawolf-class attack submarine USS Jimmy Carter left her home port in Bangor, Washington. Less than two months later, the submarine appeared at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii for repairs.
It was all quite mysterious. During her time at sea, we don’t know where Jimmy Carter was or what her crew of nearly 150 were precisely doing. The Seawolf class is one of the most secretive weapons in America’s arsenal, and information about the Navy’s “Silent Service” is difficult to discover … by design.
We know Jimmy Carter was on some kind of mission, which the ship’s official annual history vaguely referred to as Mission 7. “Performed under a wide range of adverse and extremely stressful conditions without external support, this deployment continued USS Jimmy Carter‘s tradition of excellence in pursuit of vital national security goals,” the history stated
In this vessel’s official chronology, the mission warrants as much mention as a picnic in July and the crew’s Halloween party three months later. But Mission 7 was enough to earn the sailors a Presidential Unit Citation, which rewards “extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy,” according to an official Navy description.
As the last of the Seawolf-class attack submarines, Jimmy Carter is unique. During her construction, the Pentagon added a special 100-foot-long, 2,500-ton module called the Multi-Mission Platform. By the sailing branch’s own admission, this space can accommodate undersea drones, SEALs and much more.
More importantly, the hourglass-shaped section might allow specially trained teams to find and tap undersea communications lines and plant listening devices on the ocean floor. It’s more than likely that the submarine is one of the Pentagon’s most stealthy spies.