Loss of the Nuclear Submarine
USS Thresher (SSN-593)

The second THRESHER (SSN-593) was laid down on 28 May 1958 by the Portsmouth (N.H.) Naval Shipyard; launched on 9 July 1960; sponsored by Mrs. Frederick B. Warder; and commissioned on 3 August 1961, Comdr. Dean W. Axene in command.

Following trials the nuclear attack submarine took part in Nuclear submarine Exercise (NUSUBEX) 3-61 off the northeastern coast of the United States from 18 to 24 September.

On 18 October; the submarine headed south along the east coast. After calling at San Juan, Puerto Rico, she conducted further trials and test-fired her torpedo system before returning to Portsmouth on 29 November. The ship remained in port through the end of the year and spent the first two months of 1962 evaluating her sonar system and her Submarine Rocket (SUBROC) system. In March, the submarine participated in NUSUBEX 2-62, an exercise designed to improve the tactical capabilities of nuclear submarines, and in antisubmarine warfare training with Task Group ALPHA.

Off Charleston, the ship undertook operations observed by the Naval Antisubmarine Warfare Council, before she returned briefly to New England waters from whence she proceeded to Florida for SUBROC tests. However, while mooring at Port Canaveral, the submarine was accidentally struck by a tug which damaged one of her ballast tanks. After repairs at Groton, Conn., by the Electric Boat Company, the ship returned south for more tests and trials off Key West. THRESHER then returned northward and remained in dockyard hands through the early spring of 1963.

In company with SKYLARK (ASR-20), THRESHER put to sea on 10 April 1963 for deep-diving exercises. In addition to her 16 officers and 96 enlisted men, the submarine carried 17 civilian technicians to observe her performance during the deep-diving tests. Fifteen minutes after reaching her assigned test depth, the submarine communicated with SKYLARK by underwater telephone, apprizing the submarine rescue ship of difficulties. Garbled transmissions indicated that--far below the surface--things were going wrong. Suddenly, listeners in SKYLARK heard a noise "like air rushing into an air tank"--then, silence.

Efforts to reestablish contact with THRESHER failed, and a search group was formed in an attempt to locate the submarine. Rescue ship RECOVERY (ASR-43) subsequently recovered bits of debris, including gloves and bits of internal insulation. Photographs taken by bathyscaph TRIESTE proved that the submarine had broken up, taking all hands on board to their deaths in 5,500 of water, some 220 miles east of Boston. THRESHER was officially declared lost in April 1963.

Subsequently, a Court of Inquiry was convened and, after studying pictures and other data, opined that the loss of THRESHER was in all probability due to a casting, piping, or welding failure that flooded the engine room with water. This water probably caused electrical failures that automatically shutdown the nuclear reactor, causing an initial power loss and the eventual loss of the boat.

THRESHER is in six major sections on the ocean floor, with the majority in a single debris field about 400 yards square. The major sections are the sail, sonar dome, bow section, engineering spaces, operations spaces, and the tail section.

Owing to the pressurized-water nuclear reactor in the engine room, deep ocean radiological monitoring operations were conducted in August 1983 and August 1986. The site had been previously monitored in 1965 and 1977 and none of the samples obtained showed any evidence of release of radioactivity from the reactor fuel elements. Fission products were not detected above concentrations typical of worldwide background levels in sediment, water, or marine life samples.

Submariners Lost on USS Thresher (SSN-593)
Arsenault, Tilmon J., ENCA(SS), USN
Babcock, Ronald C., LTJG, USN
Bain, Ronald E., EN2(SS)P2, USN
Bell, John E., MM1-P2, USN
Bobbitt, Edgar S., EM2(SS), USN
Boster, Gerald C., EM3(SS), USN
Bracey, George, 5D3(SS), USN
Brann, Richard P., EN2(SS), USN
Carkoski, Richard, EN2(SS), USN
Carmody, Patrick W., 5K2, USN
Cayey, Steven G., TM2(SS), USN
Christiansen, Edward, SN(SS), USN
Claussen, Larry W., EM2(SS), USN
Clements, Thomas E., ETR3(SS), USN
Collier, Merrill F., LT, USN
Cummings, Francis M., SOS2(SS), USN
Dabruzzi, Samuel J., ETN2(SS), USN
Davison, Clyde E., III, ETR3, USN
Day, Donald C., EN3(SS), USN
Denny, Roy O., Jr., EM1(SS), USN
Di Nola, Michael, LCDR, USN
DiBella, Peter J., SN, USN
Dundas, Don R., ETN2(SS), USN
Dyer, Troy E., ET1(SS), USN
Forni, Ellwood H., SOCA(SS), USN
Foti, Raymond P., ET1(SS), USN
Freeman, Larry W., FTM2(SS), USN
Fusco, Gregory J., EM2(SS), USN
Gallant, Andrew J., Jr., HMC(SS), USN
Garcia, Napoleon T., SD1(SS), USN
Garner, John E., YNSN(SS), USN
Garner, Pat M., LCDR, USN
Gaynor, Robert W., EN2(SS), USN
Gosnell, Robert H., SA(SS), USNR
Grafton, John G., LTJG, USN
Graham, William E., SOC (SS), USN
Gunter, Aaron J., QM1(SS), USN
Hall, Richard C., ETR2(SS), USN
Harvey, John W., LCDR, USN. (Commanding Officer of Thresher)
Hayes, Norman T., EM1, USN
Heiser, Laird G., MM1, USN
Helsius, Marvin T., MM2, USN
Henry, James J., Jr., LTJG, USN.
Hewitt, Leonard H., EMCA(SS), USN
Hoague Joseph H., TM2(SS), USN
Hodge, James P., EM2, USN
Hudson. John F., EN2(SS), USN
Inglis, John P., FN, USNR
Johnson Edward A., ENCA(SS), USN
Johnson, Richard L., RMSA, USN
Johnson, Robert E., TMC(SS), USN
Johnson, Thomas B., ET1(SS), USN
Johnson. Brawner G., FTG1(SS), USN
Jones, Richard W., EM2(SS), USN
Kaluza, Edmund J., Jr., SOS2(SS), USN
Kantz, Thomas C., ETR2(SS), USN
Kearney, Robert D., MM3, USN
Keiler, Ronald D., IC2 (SS), USN
Kiesecker, George J., MM2(SS), USN
Klier, Billy M., EN1(SS), USN
Kroner, George R., CS3, USN
Lanouette, Norman G., QM1(SS), USN
Lavoie, Wayne W., YN1(SS), USN
Lyman, John S., Jr., LCDR, USN
Mabry, Templeman N., Jr., EN2(SS), USN
Malinski, Frank J., LTJG, USN
Mann, Richard H., Jr., IC2(SS), USN
Marullo, Julius F., Jr., QM1(SS), USN
McClelland, Douglas R., EM2(SS), USN
McCord, Donald J., MM1(SS), USN
McDonough, Karl P., TM3(SS), USN
Middleton, Sidney L., MM1(SS), USN
Muise, Ronald A., CS2, USN
Musselwliite, James A., ETN2(SS), USN
Nault, Donald E., CS1(SS), USN
Noonis, Walter J., RMC(SS), USN
Norris, John D., ET1(SS), USN
Oetting. Chesley C., EM2, USN
Parsons, Guy C., Jr., LTJG, USN
Pennington, Roscoe C., EMCA(SS), USN
Peters, James G., EMCS, USN
Phillippi. James F., SOS2(SS), USN
Philput. Dan A., EN2(SS), USN
Podwell, Richard, MM2, USN
Regan, John S., MM1(SS), USN
Ritchie, James P., RM2, USN
Robison, Pervis, Jr., SN, USN
Rountree, Glenn A., QM2(SS), USN
Rushetski, Anthony A., ETN2, USN
Schiewe, James M., EM1(SS), USN
Shafer, Benjamin N., EMCM(SS), USN
Shafer, John D., EMCS(SS), USN
Shimko, Joseph T., MM1, USN
Shotwell, Burnett M., ETRSN, USN
Sinnett. Alan D., FTG2(SS),USN
Smarz, John, Jr., LT, USN
Smith, William H., Jr., BT1, USN
Snider, James L., MM1, USN
Solomon, Ronald H., EM1, USN
Steinel, Robert E., SO1(SS), USN
Van Pelt, Rodger E., IC1(SS), USN
Walski, Joseph A., RMl(SS), USN
Wasel, David A., RMSN, USN
Wiggins, Charles L., FTG1, USN
Wiley, John J., LTJG, USN
Wise, Donald E., MMCA(SS), USN
Wolfe, Ronald E., QMSN(SS),USN
Zweifel, Jay H., EM2, USN
Personnel Other Than Ship's Company (SSN-593)

Abrams, Fred P., Civilian Employee, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Allen, Philip H., LCDR, USN, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Beal, Daniel W., Jr., Civilian Employee, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Biederman, Robert D., LT, USN, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Billings, John H., LCDR, USN, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Charron, Robert E., Civilian Employee, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Corcoran, Kenneth R., Contractor's Representative, Sperry Corp.
Critchley, Kenneth J., Civilian Employee, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Currier, Paul C., Civilian Employee, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Des Jardins, Richard R., Civilian Employee, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
Dineen, George J., Civilian Employee, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Fisher, Richard K., Civilian Employee, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Guerette, Paul A., Civilian Employee, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Jaquay, Maurice F., Raytheon Corp.
Keuster, Donald W., Sperry Corp.
Krag, Robert L., LCDR, USN, Staff, Deputy Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.
Moreau, Henry C., Civilian Employee, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Palmer, Franklin J., Civilian Employee, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Prescott, Robert D., Civilian Employee, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Shipyard.
Stadtmuller, Donald T.,Sperry Corp.
Whitten, Laurence E., Civilian Employee, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.