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April 10, 1963 - USS Thresher tragedy

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I know that many on here do not like modern warships much less submarines, and that is okay. However if I may, please pause a moment and look at my USS THRESHER. Look at it not because I built it, or it is some fantastic model but of what and who is reminds us of.


Following a yard period USS THRESHER conducted sea trials of the New England coast. One of the test was a deep dive. During the deep dive a silver braised seawater fitting burst in the engine room. At this depth a leak the size of a pencil lead had enough pressure to slice a man into. The stream of water caused damage to nearby electrical panels that control parts of the reactor, it also caused blinding mist.


The Captain ordered the Emergency blow system activated. 3000 psi air raced to the tanks. However a diffuser cage at the end of the pipe caused a block of ice to form in the pipe stopping the blow. It was then the reactor scrammed eliminating propulsion. Again an emergency blow was attempted and again ice blocked the air flow. The flooding in the engine room became worse and with nor power to the drain pump the water could not be pumped out.


THRESHER sank stern first until the sea crushed her. I as a retired submariner can imagine what was going on during those last moments.


They were not Sailors who manned cannons, or climbed the rigging, or fought the storms off Cape Horn, however they were heroes who stood at their stations till the end. Like Sailors from the days of canoes to sail to steam to nuclear power they have no tombstone.


So shipmates stop just a second and remember them.



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On the positive side:  The Navy's Sub-Safe and Level-1 material control programs grew out of the resulting investigation and research of the Thresher disaster and there hasn't been a workmanship related USN submarine disaster since. (Not counting the suspect Scorpion incident). 


Hand Salute to all the submariners on endless patrol.  


Senior Chief Stan

USN Retired


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