Friday, April 05, 2013

50th Anniversary of Sinking USS Thresher

On 9 April 1963, the USS Thresher commanded by Lieutenant Commander John Wesley Harvey, began post-overhaul trials. Accompanied by the submarine rescue ship Skylark, she sailed to an area some 190 nmi (220 mi; 350 km) east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and on the morning of 10 April started deep-diving tests. As Thresher neared her test depth, Skylark received garbled communications over underwater telephone indicating "... minor difficulties, have positive up-angle, attempting to blow."When Skylark received no further communication, surface observers gradually realized Thresher had sunk. Publicly it took some days to announce that all 129 officers, crewmen, and military and civilian technicians aboard were presumed dead.

The second USS Thresher (SSN-593) was the lead boat of her class of nuclear-powered attack submarines in the United States Navy. The contract to build Thresher was awarded to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on 15 January 1958, and her keel was laid on 28 May 1958. She was launched on 9 July 1960, was sponsored by Mrs. Frederick B. Warder (wife of the famous Pacific War skipper), and was commissioned on 3 August 1961, Commander Dean L. Axene commanding.


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