Patrick Henrys keel was laid down by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation, in Groton, Connecticut, on 26 May 1958. She was launched on 22 September 1959, sponsored by Mrs. Leslie E. Arends and was commissioned on 9 April 1960, with Captain Harold E. Shear in command of the Blue crew and Commander Robert L.J. Long commanding the Gold crew.
Manned alternately by two crews, Blue and Gold, like all US Navy ballistic missile submarines, to maximize her submerged operations, Patrick Henry underwent shakedown with the Blue crew until 16 September 1960, when the Gold crew took over. This second Fleet Ballistic Missile submarine (FBM) commenced her first deterrent patrol in December 1960, still manned by the Gold crew. When she surfaced off Holy Loch[?], Scotland on 8 March 1961, she had set a record for her type, cruising submerged 66 days and 22 hours. Patrick Henry was the first ballistic missile submarine to enter Holy Loch, and first to go alongside USS Proteus (AS-19)[?] for replenishment and routine repair.
Patrick Henry conducted 17 deterrent patrols from Holy Loch until December 1964 when she returned to Electric Boat. For 18 months she received complete and extensive overhaul and repair operations, including refueling of the S5W reactor[?] plant and modifications to permit the handling of the Polaris A-3 missiles. After shakedown in mid-1966 off Puerto Rico and Cape Canaveral, Florida, Patrick Henry departed Charleston, South Carolina, in December for patrol #18, equipped with A-3 Polaris missiles and assigned to Submarine Squadron 14. On 1 March 1968, Patrick Henry completed her 22nd patrol at Holy Loch. She remained with the Atlantic Fleet into the 1970s.
In 1982 Patrick Henry and many of her sister FBMs had their missile tubes disabled and were reclassified as SSNs. Patrick Henry was decommissioned and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 25 May 1984. She was disposed of through the Ship-Submarine recycling program at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, ceasing to exist on 21 August 1997.
See also CSS Patrick Henry.