Tuesday, April 9, 2013

50 Years Ago...


At 0800 hours on the 9th of April, 1963, USS Thresher (SSN-593) got underway from Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to begin initial post-overhaul dive trials in the Atlantic some 220 nautical miles east of Cape Cod.

She never returned.

129 men went down with Thresher in approximately 8,400 feet of water. 16 officers, 96 enlisted men and 17 civilian technicians. (A full list of those lost is here.)

The company I work for was represented on board Thresher. With children in the Navy, friends who served in the Silent Service and working with people who support the Navy, this anniversary has a special poignancy for me.

I remember this event very well. I wasn't quite ten years old when it happened. But growing up in New England as a young boy, not long after World War II and the Korean War, patriotism was much more wide-spread than it seems to be now. This was a major news item as I remember it. We were all saddened and shocked at the loss of Thresher.


Lest we forget...


Requiescant in Pace
Until the Sea Shall Give Up Her Dead...

22 comments:

  1. I remember.
    Was going to apply for a technician job at Portsmouth Naval Yard until my mother and wife
    raised so much hell that I gave up the idea.
    Still love the idea of the sub ... the possibilities, the camaraderie, the lure of the deep. Sigh.

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    1. I get that, I really do. There's nothing more tight knit than a submarine crew.

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  2. I remember THRESHER all too well, bein' as how I was 18 when the loss occurred. I was not pleased when I found out SN2 volunteered for sub duty, for obvious reasons. That said, the Silent Service has an amazing record when it comes to losses after WW II. THRESHER was a tremendously sad anomaly to an otherwise outstanding record.

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    1. They do have an amazing record. From perusing the list I see two boats lost, SCORPION and THRESHER but other losses as well. The losses from SAN FRANCISCO are listed. Pictures of the men are there as well.

      I can imagine how you felt when SN2 volunteered for sub duty. Many do because they are an elite branch of the Navy.

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    2. I felt a LOT better when he went into the SWO community. ;-)

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    3. Forgot: He still wears his dolphins, though. Those guys are a pretty proud community.

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    4. They are not easy to get. That's for sure!

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  3. I well remember the Thressher's sinking, what a sad event.

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    1. You had already turned ten (IIRC) while I was just coming up on that age.

      It was very sad.

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    2. I guess being that much older than you, I have a better memory of these events, what with me being your senior and all. I'd like to write more here but I gotta sit down and catch my breath!

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    3. Well, I wasn't going to call you an old fart...

      But seeing as how you brought it up...

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  4. 68 years ago today Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed next to Admiral Canaris (his boss) for crimes against the Reich-both men were up to their eyeballs in 5th column activities against the Nazi's. They were executed 2 weeks before their camp was liberated. Eric Metaxes has written a very compelling book on Bonhoeffer which I think I have mentioned here before. Reading this book is a bit like looking at the newspaper these days. Those who have no knowledge of evil or refuse to admit that evil exists are truly doomed to repeat it.

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    1. Those men were heroes. I don't think they've ever received the notice they should because they were Germans AND they didn't succeed. So close to making it through the war...

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  5. I was too young to remember the Thressher, but I'm glad for the info and the reminder.

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    1. It was a sad time. It was before Vietnam and at a time when everyone felt the country could do no wrong.

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  6. I wasn't quite eleven, in my final year at junior school in Northampton, England. Our teacher told us of this disaster after morning assembly. Brian Cooper. He had been a young sailor on the aircraft carrier, HMS Victorious in the Pacific in 1945, when she was hit by a kamikaze aircraft. I remember him telling us about `Thresher` like it was yesterday.

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    1. I can see that having an impact, learning of it from someone who was a veteran.

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  7. I was on a can at Dago, preparing for a WestPac cruise.
    It was pretty somber.
    A month later we were in transit at Pearl and the Plunger (a sister ship of the 593) was moored at the Sub Base.
    They'd been there for over a month and weren't going anywhere until the inquiry was finished.

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    1. I can imagine things were pretty grim.

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  8. Too young, I was a mere Cub. However, fast forward a few years...studying for the Bar Exam. Used to slip into the liberry at some local school named Scrips Institute of Oceanography. Sitting in the stacks for hours on end...curiosity takes over...what can be in all these books? There, amongst the reports was the Naval after action of the THRESHER "incident". Cold, stark, compelling. Lots of follow up information. Did not study much that day.....

    May God bless those silent warriors.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)