A submariner’s tribute…

Posted on April 10, 2011 by


One of my submarine-related interjections between posts about the Civil War…

Tomorrow is the 111th birthday of the U.S. Submarine Force… but, today marks 48 years since the loss of all hands (129 total, including 17 civilian technicians), aboard the U.S.S. Thresher.

At 7:47 a.m., on April 10, 1963, in deep-diving tests off the coast of Massachusetts, the Thresher began to descend to test depth (approximately 1,000 feet). After a gradual descent, test depth was reached at 8:25. In just over a half hour, a rupture occurred in one of the pipes in the engine room. In response, the sub was ordered to the surface, but, in the course of blowing the main ballast tanks, moisture began freezing and blocked air flow. At about the same time, water leakage likely shorted circuitry, causing an automatic reactor shutdown, and thereby a loss of propulsion. Now in a descent, by 9:17 the last transmission was received from the Thresher, stating that she was exceeding test depth. Sometime thereafter, Thresher likely imploded.

She and all aboard rest 8,400 feet below the waves, 190 nautical miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

On April 11, 1963… the 63rd anniversary of the U.S. Submarine Force, the Navy officially announced the loss of the Thresher.

To those aboard… on eternal patrol….