USS ALABAMA (SSBN 731) is the sixth TRIDENT class nuclear-powered fleet ballistic missile submarine, and the fifth United States ship to bear the name.
The keel was laid 14 October 1980, and the crew was formed in July 1983. On 19 May 1984, Mrs. Barbara Dickinson, wife of The Honorable William L. Dickinson, United States Representative from Alabama, christened ALABAMA during launching ceremonies held in Groton, Connecticut.
Builders Sea Trials were conducted between February and April 1985. Each sea trial set a record for efficiency and the ship was delivered sixty-eight days early.
On 25 May 1985, USS ALABAMA was commissioned at Naval Underwater Systems Center, New London, Connecticut. Vice Admiral B. M. Kauderer, USN, was the Commissioning Officer. The principal speakers included Congressman Dickinson; The Honorable Jeremiah Denton, United States Senator from Alabama; Admiral Kinnaird R. McKee, USN; and Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, USN (Ret.), a native Alabamian and former Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
ALABAMA then commenced shakedown operations and underwent a series of ship-wide inspections. The Blue crew completed a Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) and launched the ship's first TRIDENT (C-4) missile. In July 1985, the Gold crew relieved the Blue crew and completed the shakedown schedule. In October 1985 the Blue crew relieved the Gold crew to take USS ALABAMA back into the shipyard at Electric Boat for Post Shakedown Availability (PSA). Following PSA, USS ALABAMA transited to Mobile in February 1986 to participate in Mardi Gras festivities. The Gold crew relieved the Blue crew in Mobile and commenced the voyage to their new homeport in Bangor, Washington.
In April 1986, both crews completed the first refit at Submarine Base, Bangor, and the Blue crew subsequently conducted ALABAMA's first Strategic Deterrent Patrol. The Gold crew conducted its first patrol in the Summer/Fall of 1986.
In May 1988, the Gold crew conducted a highly successful Fleet Operational Test Missile firing, launching two TRIDENT I (C-4) missiles. On 1 September 1988, USS ALABAMA moored at Bangor, Washington, to complete the ship's 9th patrol and the 100th Strategic Deterrent Patrol by a TRIDENT submarine. An official ceremony commemorating the event was held pierside with then Under Secretary of the Navy, H. Lawrence Garrett III, heading the official greeting party.