The USS Jimmy Carter is one of a kind.
The unit makes no mention of intelligence gathering. But while the name implies a solely experimental function, the sailing branch routinely uses these types of monikers for special or elite groups. The near legendary terrorist-hunting SEAL Team Six is officially called the Naval Special Warfare Development Group. The service describes the spy ships it runs together with the U.S. Air Force as “missile range instrumentation ships.” The squadron responsible for flying around the president and his staff is now simply called Marine Helicopter Squadron One, but still uses the acronym HMX-1—a nod to its “experimental” origins.
On January 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.
(This first appeared in 2016.)
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.