Skip to comments.50 Years Later: The Legacy of the USS Thresher, Lost in 1963 with All Hands
Posted on 04/04/2013 10:38:25 AM PDT by Saint X
A childs drawing of a lost submarine rests behind Plexiglas in a back corner of the National Museum of the Navy in Washington, D.C., seemingly out of place amid massive ship models and aircraft dangling from the ceiling.
USS Thresher/ Bruce Harvey/ crayon, reads its art-museum-style description. The young son of Commander John Harvey, skipper of Thresher, drew the boat on the ocean floor after hearing of its loss. Bruces father and 128 other men died when the submarine sank off the New England coast.
Thresher (SSN-593), at the time the Navys fastest and most powerful submarine, represented a leap forward in the Cold War fight against the Soviets. When she put to sea for the last time in April 1963, she represented the bleeding edge of undersea warfare.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.usni.org ...
There were three US submarines launched bow first; the USS Thresher, USS Scorpion and USS Albany. I’ll bet the crew of the Albany is jumpy to this day.
I believe the Navy traced the problem to one or more bad silver-soldered joints in some seawater pipes; their thinking is that these had been weakened as a result of shock testing that had been done on Thresher shortly before her destruction with all hands.
I vividly remember the undersea image of one single plastic boot cover, which was - at the time - the only item from the boat that the Navy was able to find. Or so they said.
Iced up Marotta valve from condensation icing up.
Has anyone found the sub with an underwater camera/rover yet?
More USS Thresher info:
Seawater leak caused a reactor scram. Condensation in the high pressure air froze the air lines preventing an emergency blow. At least that was the best guess. Lots of procedures changed after that incident.
Ah, “journalists”....the kid “drew the boat on the ocean floor”. I had in my mind the kid sitting on the bottom of the ocean with a piece of paper and a crayon.
As for the Thresher, I became obsessed with this story as a kid. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Your mind pictured a kid sitting on the bottom of the ocean???
There are a lot of ships sunk off New England....in 1998, I almost had my boat sunk by a sub in Long Island Sound. (I was cruising... and about 1 mile from me I saw a sub surfacing. IIRC, I think it was the USS Hartford.)
My dad served on the USS Thresher but was transferred off before it was lost. It is not the only close call he had during his service.
The loss of propulsion following the scram is what ultimately doomed the Thresher. Procedure at the time required a long process to restart the reactor, delaying restoration of propulsion. One of the first changes following the disaster was the implementation of a quick startup procedure, to get the screw turning again as rapidly as possible.
The water in the emergency blow lines resulted in the Sub-Safe system—strict controls on work on any ship’s system critical to the boats operation. IIRC, this was the genesis of the entire QA system in modern manufacturing.
The Scorpion was supposedly sunk by the ruskies.
Lotta ways things can go wrong down there, and when they go wrong... they can really go wrong.
... which means since I signed as QA for stuff that hasn't seen the light of day since commissioning they can still haul my butt in if a boat I was on sinks.
THE SUBMARINERS PRAYER
O Father, Hear our prayer to thee
For your humble servants
Beneath the sea
In the depths of oceans, as oft they stray
So far from night, so far from day
We would ask your guiding light to glow
To make their journey safe below
Please oft times grant them patient mind
Then ere the darkness wont them blind
They seek thy protection from the deep
Please grant them peace when ere they sleep
Of their homes and loved ones far away
We ask you care for them each day
Until they surface once again
To drink the air and feel the rain
We ask your guiding hand to show
A safe progression sure and slow.
Dear Lord, please hear our prayer to thee,
For your humble servants
Beneath the sea.
It was right up there with the JFK assassination and the 1966 Richard Speck murders of the Chicago nurses.
I want to say that after we lost another boat that they redesigned procedures for designing and handling of torpedoes too.
The article said he “drew the boat on the ocean floor”. Substitute the word “ocean” with “bedroom” and what do you visualize? As in “He drew the boat on the bedroom floor”.
???at least that would have made some sense to someone reading it, and been confusing...but not sitting on the ocean floor, that’s nonsensical.
The Navy instituted the SUBSAFE program to ensure that weilding on or near the pressure hull did not affect the integrity of the material.
In 1963, a deep-sea diving bathyscape, Trieste I and II, “recovered some remains of the ‘Thresher’ submarine which sank off Boston. The sub was first discovered and photographed by ‘Mizar,’ a naval research ship which towed an underwater camera platform.” Link: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/xmlui/bitstream/handle/123456789/6154/SPUMS_V7N3_9.pdf?sequence=1
Here are some photos of the search by Mizar: