The Abraham Lincoln (SSBN-602) was the only one of the five George Washington (SSBN-598)-class strategic missile submarines to be built at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Sponsored by President Lincoln's great granddaughter, she was launched on 14 May 1960 and commissioned on 11 March 1961. Commander Leonard Erb of the Blue Crew and Commander Donald Miller of the Gold Crew were the Abraham Lincoln's first commanding officers.
The Abraham Lincoln conducted her shakedown cruise and testing in the spring and summer of 1961. She was subsequently assigned to Submarine Squadron 14, and was homeported in Holy Loch, Scotland, in October 1961. Following a brief refit alongside the Proteus (AS-19), the Abraham Lincoln, armed with sixteen Polaris missiles, began her first deterrence patrol in late 1961.