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.
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
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.