USS Ohio (SSBN-726/SSGN-726), the lead ship of her class of nuclear-powered fleet ballistic missile submarines, was the fourth ship of the United States Navy to be named for the 17th state. She was commissioned with the hull designation of SSBN-726, and with her conversion to a guided missile submarine she was re-designated SSGN-726.
The contract to build her was awarded to the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut on 1 July 1974 and her keel was laid down on 10 April 1976 by Mrs. Robert Taft, wife of Senator Taft. On 2 February 1978, the Precommissioning Unit was formed with Commander A. K. Thompson as its Commanding Officer. Ohio was launched on 7 April 1979 sponsored by Mrs. Annie Glenn, wife of Senator John H. Glenn.
In the summer of 1981, sea trials were held to test the equipment and systems, and the submarine was delivered to the U.S. Navy on 28 October 1981. On 11 November 1981, Ohio was commissioned. The principal speaker, Vice President George H. W. Bush, remarked to the 8000 assembled guests that the ship introduced a "new dimension in our nation's strategic deterrence," and Admiral Hyman G. Rickover noted that the Ohio should "strike fear in the hearts of our enemies." On that day, command of the two crews (designated Blue and Gold) of the USS Ohio was assumed by Captain A. K. Thompson (SSBN-726) (Blue) and Captain A. F. Campbell (SSBN-726) (Gold).
Following Post Shakedown Availability at Electric Boat Division, Ohio left the Atlantic and transited to her new home port, Bangor, Washington, by way of Cape Canaveral - where she tested her missile launch systems - and the Panama Canal, arriving on 12 August 1982. During August and September 1982, the first loadout of Trident C-4 missiles and a predeployment refit were conducted. Ohio and her Blue Crew departed on the first Trident Submarine Strategic Deterrent Patrol in October 1982.
From June 1993 to June 1994 Ohio underwent overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington, receiving extensive upgrades to sonar, fire control, and navigation systems. Ohio resumed strategic deterrent patrols in January 1995 as part of Submarine Squadron Seventeen, Submarine Group Nine, Pacific Submarine Force.