James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr., is the only U.S. President to ever serve in the Submarine Service. A veteran of both World War II and the Korean War, became the fifth consecutive President with prior Navy service in 1976. He was born in Plains, Georgia on 1 October 1924, to Lillian Gordy and James Earle Carter. Jimmy Carter, who rarely used his full name, grew up in a rural atmosphere and attended public schools. Graduating from Plains High School in 1941, he attended Georgia Southwestern College in Americus, Georgia. After a year there, Carter transferred to Georgia Institute of Technology to study mathematics for a year in order to qualify for the U.S. Naval Academy.
In 1943, Carter received an appointment to the U.S. Navy Academy and became a member of the Class of 1947. After completing the accelerated wartime program, he graduated on 5 June 1946 with distinction and obtained his commission as ensign.
After having graduated, Carter was stationed at Norfolk and assigned to USS WYOMING (E-AG 17), an older battleship that had been converted into a floating laboratory for testing new electronics and gunnery equipment. While on WYOMING, Carter served as radar officer and CIC officer. Detached when WYOMING was decommissioned on 23 July 1947, he was assigned that day to another similarly used battleship, USS MISSISSIPPI (E-AG 128) as Training and Education Officer. After completing two years of surface ship duty, Carter chose to apply for submarine duty. Accepted, he began the six-month course at the U.S. Navy Submarine School, Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut from 14 June to 17 December 1948.
Upon completion of the course, Carter was assigned to USS POMFRET (SS 391) based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where he reported on board on 29 December. POMFRET left on a simulated war patrol to the western Pacific and the Chinese coast on 4 January 1949. While serving on board POMFRET, Carter became Qualified in Submarines on 4 February, and served as Communications Officer, Sonar Officer, Electronics Officer, Gunnery Officer and Supply Officer. On 9 March, he served as the approach officer for a simulated torpedo firing at target ships, and scored a "hit." The submarine returned to Pearl Harbor on 25 March. Soon after Carter's promotion to Lieutenant (Junior Grade) on 5 June 1949, POMFRET was sent in July to San Diego where the submarine operated along the California coast.
Detached from POMFRET on 1 February 1951, Carter was assigned to duty with Shipbuilding and Naval Inspector of Ordnance, Groton, Connecticut, as prospective Engineering Officer for the precommissioning and fitting out of USS K-1 [BARRACUDA] (SSK 1/SST-3). K-1, the first postwar submarine built, which was under construction by Electric Boat Division, General Dynamics Corporation, Groton, Connecticut. Known as "Killer" submarines, this class of submarine was designed with only one purpose: to detect and kill members of the formidable and ubiquitous Soviety undersea fleet. Carter played a important role in development of key operating systems for this submarine. Carter prepared most of the diving and operating instructions, including lists of food and other supplies adequate for voyages of different lengths. After K-1's commissioning on 10 November 1951, with LCDR Frank Andrews as its skipper, Carter served as Executive Officer, Engineering Officer, Operations Officer, Gunnery Officer and Electronics Repair Officer. During this tour he also qualified: "Command of Submarine". Equipped with the most advanced sonar, fire control, and torpedoes, K-1's massive sonar array on the ship's bow could detect sounds at great distances, allowing the crew to analyze propeller noices to identify each target. Jimmy Carter's later dissertation would describe a new technique for determining the range of a target just by analysis of passive sonar information.
When Admiral Hyman G. Rickover (then a captain) started his program to create nuclear powered submarines, Carter was interviewed by Rickover and accepted for the new program. On 1 June 1952, Carter was promoted to Lieutenant. Carter was detached on 16 October 1952 from K-1 for duty with the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission, Division of Reactor Development in Schenectady, New York. From 3 November 1952 to 1 March 1953, he served on temporary duty with the Naval Reactors Branch, U. S. Atomic Energy Commission, Washington, DC to assist "in the design and development of nuclear propulsion plants for naval vessels." From 1 March to 8 October, Carter was preparing to become the engineering officer for the USS SEAWOLF (SSN 575). Contemporary with the USS NAUTILUS (SSN 571), the Navy's first submarine to operate on atomic power, SEAWOLF was built to test a "sodium cooled" nuclear reactor while NAUTILUS tested a pressurized water cooled reactor. He assisted in setting up training for the enlisted men who would serve on SEAWOLF. During this time his father became very sick and died in July 1953. Following his father's death in 1953, After 7 years, 4 months and 8 days of Naval service, Carter resigned from the U.S. Navy to return to Georgia to manage the family interests. Carter was honorably discharged on 9 October 1953 at Headquarters, Third Naval District in New York City. On 7 December 1961, he transferred to the retired reserve with the rank of Lieutenant at his own request.
In 1962 he entered state politics, and eight years later he was elected Georgia's 76th governor. While governor, on October 1, 1973, (on his birthday) Carter received the commissioning pennant from the USS K-1 [BARRACUDA] (SSK-1/SST-3) when the ship was retired from service.
Carter announced his candidacy for President in December 1974 and began a two-year campaign that gradually gained momentum. At the Democratic Convention, he was nominated on the first ballot. Carter campaigned hard against President Gerald R. Ford, debating him three times. Carter won by 297 electoral votes to Ford's 241, becoming this nation's 39th President. Jimmy Carter served as President from January 20, 1977 to January 20, 1981.
As President of the United States, on May 27, 1977 the former submariner was treated to an at-sea tour of the Navy's newest class of submarine: USS LOS ANGELES (SSN-688). His mission was to conduct a first-hand inspection of the "capabilities and limitation of our nations strategic force." His mentor, the father of the modern nuclear Navy, Admiral Hyman G. Rickover and his wife, First Lady Rosalynn Carter, accompanied him. (Also See: DAILY DIARY) Three years later, in 1980, Carter would present the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest non-military honor, to Admiral Rickover. In 1981, in a ceremony at the Old State House, President Carter officially turned the USS NAUTILUS (SSN-571) over to the State of Connecticut as a Museum Ship (designated a National Historic Landmark) which is permanently berthed next to the Submarine Force Library and Museum at Goss Cove in Groton.
While in office, President Carter was deeply committed to social justice and basic human rights. Among his noteworthy foreign policy accomplishments included the Panama Canal treaties, the Camp David Accords, the treaty of peace between Egypt and Isreal, the SALT II treaty with the Soviet Union, and the establishment of diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. His foreign policy, however, in 1980, was dominated by Carter's efforts to secure the release of the U.S. citizens taken hostage by Iranian militants on November 4, 1979, and by the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan the following month. Carter responded to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan with a limited trade embargo and a U.S. boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. On the diplomatic side, his achievements included a comprehensive energy program, deregulation in the areas of finance, communications, energy and transportation as well as major educational programs under a new Department of Education. In the last months of the Carter administration, negotiations with Iran finally produced freedom for the hostages in Tehran. They were released on January 20, 1981, minutes after the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan.
Upon leaving the Presidency, Carter became the University Distinguished Professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and, in partnership with the university, founded The Carter Center. In addition to promoting peace and human rights through the Carter Center, his continuing interest in foreign affairs is exemplified by his unofficial diplomatic missions to such countries as Ethiopia (1989), Somalia (1993), North Korea, Haiti, and Bosnia (1994), and Sudan and Rwanda (1995); and by his monitoring of elections throughout the world. On December 14, 1999, he represented the United States at the official ceremonies marking the turnover of the Panama Canal to Panama.
In 1999, President Bill Clinton awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation's highest civilian honor to both Presidents Ford and Carter. Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 "for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development."
President Carter has received many honors, but one of his most cherrished was bestowed upon him in April 1998 when Secretary of the Navy, John Dalton, announced that the name of the third SEAWOLF-class submarine would be named USS JIMMY CARTER (SSN-23) in honor of the only U.S. President to ever serve in submarines.
Plains, Georgia, October 1, 1924, the son of James Earl and Lillian (Gordy) Carter
Rosalynn Smith, July 7, 1946
John William, James Earl III, Donnel Jeffrey, Amy Lynn
Georgia Southwestern College, 1941 - 42
Georgia Institute of Technology, 1942 - 43
B.S., US Naval Academny, 1946 (class of 1947).
Union College, 1952 - 53
LL.D. (hon.), Morehouse College, 1972; Morris Brown College, 1972; University of Notre Dame, 1977; Emory University, 1979; Kwansei Gakuin University, 1981; Georgia Southwestern College, 1981; New York Law School, 1985; Bates College, 1985; Centre College, 1987; Creighton University, 1987; University of Pennsylvania, 1998
D.E. (hon.), Georgia Institute of Technology, 1979
Ph.D. (hon.), Weizmann Institute of Science, 1980; Tel Aviv University, 1983; Haifa University, 1987
D.H.L. (hon.), Central Connecticut State University, 1985; Trinity College, 1998
Doctor (hon.), G.O.C. Universite, 1995
US Navy to rank of lieutenant, 1946 - 53
Farmer, warehouseman, Plains, GA 1953 -77
Georgia Senate, 1963 - 67
Governor of Georgia, 1971 - 75
President of the United Statees, 1977 - 81
University Distiniguished Professor, Emory University, 1982 - .
Why Not the Best?, 1975
A Government as Good as Its People, 1977Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President, 1982
Negotiation: The Alternative to Hostility, 1984
The Blood of Abraham, 1985
(with Rosalynn Carter) Everything to Gain: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life, 1987
An Outdoor Journal, 1988
Turning Point: A Candidate, a State, and a Nation Come of Age, 1992
Talking Peace: A Vision for the Next Generation, 1993
Always a Reckoning, 1994
The Little Baby Snoogle-Fleejer, 1995
Living Faith, 1996
Sources of Strength: Meditations on Scripture for a Living Faith, 1997
The Virtues of Aging, 1998
An Hour before Daylight: Memoir of a Rural Boyhood, 2001
Member, Sumter County (GA) School Board, 1955 - 62, chair, 1960 - 62
Member, Americus and Sumter County Hospital Authority, 1956 - 70
Member, Sumter County Library Boar, 1961
President, Georgia Planning Association, 1968
District Governor, Lions Clubs Internation, 1968 - 69
Chair, congressional campaign committe, Democratic National Committe, 1973 - 73
Founder, The Carter Center, 1982
Board of Directors, Habitat for Humanity, 1984 - 87
Chair, board of trustees, The Carter Center, Inc., 1986 - .
Chair, Council of Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Americas, 1986 - .
Chair, Council of the Internation Negotiation Network, 1991 - .
Co-chair, Commission on Radio and Television Policy, 1991 - .
Chair, Internation Human Rights Council, 1994 - .
Member, United States Submarine Veterans Inc., (Los Angeles-Pasadena Base) 1998 - .
Gold medal, International Institute for Human Rights, 1979
International Mediation medal, American Arbitration Association, 1979
Martin Luther King, Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize, 1979
International Human Rights Award, Synagogue Council of America, 1979
Conservationist of the Year Award, 1979
Harry S. Truman Public Service Award, 1981
Ansel Adams Conservation Award, Wilderness Society, 1982
Distiniguished Service Award, Southern Baptist Convention, 1982
Human Rights Award, Internation League for Human Rights, 1983
World Methodist Peace Award, 1985
Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism, 1987
Edwin C. Whitehead Award, National Center for Health Education, 1989
Jefferson Award, American Institute of Public Service, 1990
Philadelphia Liberty Medal, 1990
Spirit of America Award, National Council for the Social Studies, 1990
Physicians for Social Responsibility Award, 1991Aristotle Prize, Alexander S. Onassis Foundation, 1991
W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, 1992
Spark M. Matsunaga Medal of Peace, US Institute of Peace, 1993
Humanitarian Award, CARE International, 1993
Conservationist of the Year Medal, National Wildlife Federation, 1993
Rotary Award for World Understanding, 1994
J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding, 1994
National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award, 1994
UNESCO Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize, 1994
Great Cross of the Order of Vasco Nunéz de Balboa, 1995
Bishop John T. Walker Distiniguished Humanitarian Award, Africare, 1996
Humanitarian of the Year, GQ Awards, 1996
Kiwanis International Humanitarian Award, 1996
Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development, 1997
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Awards for Humanitarian Contributions to the Health of Humankind, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, 1997
United Nations Human Rights Award, 1998
The Hoover Medal, 1998
International Child Survival Award, UNICEF Atlanta, 1999
Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1999
William Penn Mott, Jr., Park Leadership Award, National parks Conservation Association, 2000
Nobel Peace Prize,