Her keel was laid down at Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics, Groton, Connecticut on 1 November 1957. The first boat of the her class, she was launched on 9 June 1959.
She successfully launched the first Polaris missile from a submerged submarine on 20 July 1960.
The USS George Washington was shifted to the Pacific Fleet and was home-ported at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On 9 April 1981, the submarine surfaced underneath the Nissho Maru in the East China Sea about 110 miles south-southwest of Sasebo, Japan.
In 1982, the USS George Washington returned to Pearl Harbor from her last missile patrol. In 1983 her missiles were unloaded at Bangor, Washington, and then she left Pearl Harbor for the last time and transited the Panama Canal back to the Atlantic and to New London.
The USS George Washington was decommissioned on 24 January 1985, was struck from the Naval Vessel Registry on 30 April 1986, and was scheduled for disposal. Her sail was removed prior to disposal and now resides at the Submarine Force Library and Museum, New London, Connecticut. The "Georgefish" made 55 deterrent patrols in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans in her 25-year career.