The Strategic Systems Program (SSP) has provided credible sea-based deterrent missile systems since its inception in 1955. These deterrent systems have been and remain a key factor in deterring nuclear attack on the US. They have helped our nation win the Cold War and deter conventional war between major powers. Potential adversaries know that FBM submarines and their nuclear tipped missiles are always present, patrolling silently beneath the seas. They remain vigilant and ready to launch a devastating counter-attack. Due to their extreme stealth, they have not been located and thus cannot be deterred from launching missiles – the ultimate deterrent!
In the late 1990s, a group of key individuals who had worked on the program for many years met and discussed SSP’s long and proud history. These retirees noted that while SSP had played a critical role in protecting the United States, it had carried out its important mission in relative obscurity. The group sensed the importance of promoting awareness of this organization and its mission. They decided to form an organization whose goal would be to educate the public about the necessity of strategic deterrents. They wanted to formally recognize the dedication of those committed to SSP and its efforts. This group of four gathered other SSP retirees and veterans to sponsor the FBM Program 45th Anniversary in the fall of 2000. They formally incorporated as SSP HERO, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2002. Since then HERO has carried out its mission to promote awareness, appreciation and recognition of Strategic Systems Programs, the Navy’s Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) system and those individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the program.
The original SSP HERO Board of Directors were:
President: Kenneth Malley
Vice President: Joseph DiPietrantino
Secretary: Peter Boyne
Treasurer: Galen Gunderson
SSP Liaisons: Joseph Walton and Betty Lou Gantzler