The Honorable Henry M. Jackson (1912-1983)
Henry M. Jackson served on Capitol Hill for 42 years, the last 31 of
which he spent in the Senate. As a dominant member of the Senate Armed
Services Committee, he led an important faction within the Democratic
party in his support of a more aggressive role in world affairs.
Senator Jackson was a strong proponent of the TRIDENT submarine
program, a watchdog over U.S.-U.S.S.R. relations, and a critic of SALT.
Held in the ship's library and dating back to 1955 is a set of point
papers, newspaper articles, and speeches which give clear testimony to
his firm commitment to rapid development of nuclear submarines and the
POLARIS program (vessels which he often called "underwater
satellites"); a greatly expanded attack submarine program to counter a
rapidly growing Soviet fleet; emphasis upon arctic operations; and most
recently, the TRIDENT program. In 1959, after riding the USS SKIPJACK
(SSN 585) at sea with (then) VADM Rickover, Senator Jackson called for
the establishment of a Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Undersea
Warfare because he believed submarines were "lost in a welter of naval
Senator Jackson was lauded as a true "Defender of Freedom" in a speech
given on the Senate floor shortly after his death. These words are now,
appropriately, found in the ship's insignia.
In a September 1973 Senate speech, Senator Jackson stated the
"If we choose the prudent course - to proceed without delay with the
TRIDENT program - we can at least be certain that we will have done
what we can do to support the effort of our negotiators to obtain an
equitable SALT agreement if we can - and to protect our national
security if we cannot. "
This submarine bearing his name is a fitting tribute to the man who so
labored to keep America strong and free.