Category Archives: US Submarines

News, views and stories about US submarines

US – Former Navy leader Adm. Frank Kelso dies in Norfolk

Adm. Frank Kelso, who died Sunday, was chief of naval operations from 1990 to 1994.

Adm. Frank Kelso, who died Sunday, was chief of naval operations from 1990 to 1994.

In the place where he was born and where he retired, he was known as a hometown hero who made it all the way to chief of naval operations, influenced men of power and maintained the humility of an ordinary guy next door.

In Norfolk, where he served pivotal years in his 38-year career, Adm. Frank Kelso was a senior regional commander who helped run operations at the end of the Cold War and during heated years in the Middle East before being tapped to run the entire Navy.

Kelso, 79, died Sunday after suffering a fall, according to Navy officials. He was in Hampton Roads visiting his son Robert, a Navy captain who was chief of staff of Navy Cyber Forces until this year. Kelso attended the high school graduation of his grandson, Robbie Kelso, who, following in his grandfather’s footsteps, will go to the Naval Academy in the fall.

“As CNO, he led our Navy through the Gulf War and the uncharted early days of the post-Cold War era with skills and dedication,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a statement. “Adm. Kelso was a submariner, an accomplished commander and an unmatched leader known for his intelligence and integrity.”

Kelso spent nearly four decades building a career from his days as a submariner to his place at the Navy’s helm. He led forces in strikes against Libya, helped rescue hostages of Palestinian hijackers, and oversaw a difficult drawdown of the Navy at the end of the Cold War. During that period, he realigned the Navy to work more closely with the other services.

But he told a historian that despite his career of nearly four decades, he feared his name would always be tied to the 1991 Tailhook scandal, in which dozens of women were sexually assaulted during a convention of Navy and Marine Corps aviation officers in Las Vegas.

“He lamented… that for many people, that may be the only thing people will remember about him – and he did so much,” said Paul Stillwell, who conducted 37 hours of oral interviews with Kelso as the director of the U.S. Naval Institute’s history division.

The scandal marked the end of numerous officer careers and ultimately led Kelso to retire early. He said he had become “a lightning rod” and hoped his stepping down would shift the focus forward.

Kelso was accused of witnessing abusive acts and turning a blind eye, something he vehemently denied, Stillwell said.

“My assessment was that was not something he would stand for, nor would he lie about it,” Stillwell said. “He was just an individual for whom I had great admiration. He was unpretentious, down to earth, and for someone who accomplished as much as he did, that was very refreshing.”

Kelso’s two sons both served in the Navy, and two weeks ago he attended the graduation of a grandson who is headed into the Navy.

Kelso led the Navy’s 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea during the 1980s, leading the operation to capture hijackers of the Achille Lauro cruise ship and the subsequent air strikes on Libya in response to state-sponsored terrorism.

He served in Norfolk from 1986 until 1990, first as commander in chief of the Atlantic Fleet and then as NATO’s supreme allied commander, Atlantic and as commander in chief of U.S. Atlantic Command.

Retired Vice Adm. Robert Dunn, who commanded Naval Air Force Atlantic in those years, said he never saw Kelso fall short of his duties as a leader.

“He always had a kind word for everyone,” Dunn said. “Good people just naturally flocked to him.”

Kelso became chief of naval operations in 1990 and served until his retirement in 1994. He oversaw the Navy in the Gulf War even as he managed severe budget cuts. Kelso realigned the Navy to meet new, tighter demands. He also supported the integration of women into more wide-ranging roles and command, particularly in the wake of Tailhook.

In Fayetteville, Tenn., where Kelso is to be buried Saturday, businesses lowered flags to half-staff for a man described as a lifelong friend and active community leader, said Ann Hatcher, associate pastor at the First United Methodist Church.

“He was a remarkable man and what has always impressed me so much about him was his humility,” said Hatcher, who knew Kelso from the time she was a young girl.

“He was probably the most important person I would ever meet in my lifetime, but it was never about him. It was always about someone else.”

Source –

US – Two submarines on deck at Electic Boat

Submitted photo courtesy of General Dynamics Electric Boat
The first module for the future USS Illinois, the 13th member of the Virginia class, arrives at Electric Boat in Groton by barge from EB’s Quonset Point facility Tuesday, June 18, 2013.
For first time in decade, shipyard builds two boats at once


Groton — For the first time in a decade, Electric Boat is simultaneously working on two submarines in its main building shed.

The first module for the future USS Illinois, the 13th member of the Virginia class, arrived by barge from EB’s Quonset Point facility Tuesday. It was placed next to the North Dakota, the 11th of the class.

Two submarines have not been side by side in Building 260 since 2003, when EB was building the USS Jimmy Carter and the USS Virginia, the first of the class.

“This is our first step to ramping up in Groton to two boats a year,” said Todd Beardsley, the ship’s manager at EB for the Illinois (SSN 786).

The first module for the follow-on submarine at EB normally arrives after its predecessor is put into the water for the first time. The “float off” for the North Dakota (SSN 784) will not happen until September or October. That submarine is on track for the fastest delivery of the class yet.

“Everything keeps getting earlier and earlier, so we’re ready to go to two boats a year,” Beardsley added.

The Navy began buying two submarines per year in 2011 but the Groton waterfront is where the final assembly and testing of submarines is done, so it is not projected to have a steady workload until 2015. EB is under contract to build the 11th through the 18th ships of the class, with Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.

About 600 people in Groton and Quonset Point are working on the Illinois. Next year, once all four modules are in Groton, nearly 1,000 people will be working in the yard on the submarine.

The arrival of the first module, in this case, the forward half of the engine room, is a milestone, Beardsley said, because major work on the submarine can now begin in Groton. The next task is to attach the reactor compartment to the 50-foot-long cylindrical module, he said.

Cmdr. Jess Porter, the submarine’s commanding officer, arrived in Groton on Monday to begin assembling the crew. The first group, about 35 people, will spend the next few weeks in school in Schenectady, N.Y., learning how to operate the propulsion plant, Porter said.

Porter said being in command of a new Virginia-class submarine is “a phenomenal opportunity” because the culture for the ship is set in the early stages of construction.

“That culture, in large measure, goes a long way toward building that ship to a viable and powerful platform,” he said.

First Lady Michelle Obama was named sponsor for the submarine last year.

Construction on the Illinois began in March 2011. The submarine is contracted to be delivered to the Navy in 66 months, on Aug. 31, 2016. Beardsley said his goal is to finish earlier in 2016 and to beat whatever record the North Dakota sets when it is delivered in early 2014.

Female officers will begin reporting aboard Virginia-class submarines in January 2015. Porter said that if women are assigned to the Illinois, “my ship will be ready to support that.”

Porter, 46, who is from Pocatello, Idaho, took the USS Missouri through the delivery and commissioning process as that submarine’s executive officer. He spent 12 years as an enlisted nuclear electrician’s mate in the surface fleet before being commissioned as an officer and joining the submarine force. He served on the USS Michigan and the USS Connecticut.

The shipyard is a challenging environment, Porter said, but the crew will come away from it knowing “that ship inside and out.” Porter and Beardsley met for the first time on Wednesday so Porter could see the hull section.

Outside of the bustling building shed, EB’s three graving docks are currently filled with three submarines undergoing repairs. Beardsley, who has worked at EB for 14 years, remembers when the Jimmy Carter and the Virginia were there.

“This is by far the busiest we’ve been since then,” he said.

Source – The Day

US – Buying Submarines in an Age of Austerity

U.S. Navy submarine.

The US Navy’s plan to increase the size of its fleet is on a collision course with budget austerity. But, fortunately, there’s a nuclear option.

The  Navy’s shipbuilding plan is simply “unaffordable,” as Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., pointed out during the House Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee’s markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 last week.

Why is the Navy’s plan “unaffordable”? One of the culprits is the Navy’s new nuclear ballistic missile submarines, known as the SSBN[X]. The Navy is planning to procure 12 SSBN[X] at a cost of nearly $6 billion each. These extraordinarily high costs “crowd out spending for other necessary ships,” according to Senate Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee Chairman Jack Reed, D-R.I., who represents the state where the current Ohio class nuclear missile submarines were manufactured.

Echoing Reed’s concerns, Randy Forbes, R-Va., chairman of the House’s Seapower Subcommittee, said during the markup that buying these 12 SSBN[X] at such a prohibitive price “will serve to significantly reduce [the size of] our naval forces.”

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution, according to Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists – buy fewer SSBNs. Kristensen’s argument for purchasing fewer new nuclear subs is not about costs – though buying fewer ships would, of course, save billions of dollars – it’s about how the Navy actually uses its nuclear submarines.

Since the Cold War ended, the Navy has reduced its number of nuclear sub deterrent patrols – a justifiable reduction given the need to focus on 21st century, not Cold War, threats. In fact, the number of deterrent patrols undertaken now is less than a third of what was done at the end of the Cold War, according to Kristensen’s data.

But, if one logically believes the SSBN fleet is 1/3rd the size of what it was at the end of the Cold War, think again. There are only four fewer nuclear launch subs now than there were in the mid-1990’s (14 vs. 18), as the Navy’s response to Kristensen’s report concedes. Thus, each nuclear sub is now doing much less of what it was first designed to do – patrolling as a nuclear deterrent.

All of this leads Kristensen to conclude that “Fewer SSBNs can do the job …The navy could easily cut the SSBN fleet from 14 to 12 boats now and reduce the requirement for the next-generation SSBN from 12 to 10 boats and save billions of dollars in the process.”

The savings would give the Navy desperately needed flexibility in a shipbuilding budget that the House Seapower Subcommittee calls “unsustainable.” This would allow the Navy to fully fund other ships better suited to the Asia pivot, such as the Virginia class multi-mission submarines – whose cost is half that of an SSBN[X] – which conducts anti-submarine missions, delivers special operations forces in close-to-shore operations and launches Tomahawk missiles.

As Congressman Ed Markey, D-Mass., said, “It is insane to spend hundreds of billions on new nuclear bombs and delivery systems to fight a long-past Cold War while ignoring our 21st century security needs.” Cutting the size of our nuclear submarine fleet would both save money yet accomplish the Navy’s worldwide mission of nuclear deterrence in an era of military belt-tightening.


Retired Veteran Recalls Life on a Submarine During the Vietnam War

USS Woodrow Wilson, ballistic missile submarine

USS Woodrow Wilson, ballistic missile submarine

In a recent interview, Sgt. 1st Class Bruce Lipe, who retired in 2009 after 41 years of collective service between the Navy and the National Guard, shared what it was like to be part of a submarine crew during the Vietnam War. While his days were not spent tromping through thick jungles, but rather hidden in the depths of the Pacific Ocean, he still faced a unique set of challenges while contributing service. The biggest of those challenges? Isolation and communication.

His entire time of service was spent aboard four different submarines (see photos), each with a specific function. The types of submarines included ballistic missile subs, fast attack subs and a patrol gun boat that was assigned to the coastal surveillance group.

His deployment during the Vietnam War was what was referred to as WESTPAC, which covers the area of the western Pacific Ocean and Southeast Asia. Each deployment lasted three to four months and most, if not all, of that time was spent under water within the submarine. Which, of course, meant that for those months under water, the crew was unable to see or feel any sunlight.

USS Daniel Webster, ballistic missile submarine

USS Daniel Webster, ballistic missile submarine

Those that were aboard submarines had to not only be able to perform their own duties and responsibilities, but also had to have an understanding and working knowledge of other jobs on the vessel. In the event that others were not able to perform their regular jobs, the remaining members of the crew had to be able to fill those positions. The inability to carry out a job may be due to the individual, such as sickness or injury, or it may be the result of other circumstances, such as flooding, in which event certain areas of the vessel would be sealed off, making it impossible to rotate work areas.

The submarine community is relatively small compared with the rest of the surface Navy, and the camaraderie within the submarine community is uniquely its own. While the brotherly bond is strong, as it is in within any military unit, residing within the depths of the ocean for several months at a time with only about 100 people in a 33-foot diameter metal tube, the bond can be distinctive. And there’s an understanding of challenges they all face in such conditions, an understanding which carries over even once back on land.

USS Queenfish, fast attack sub

USS Queenfish, fast attack sub

Due to the nature of the environment, the psychological and other screenings required to be stationed on a submarine are much more in depth, as adverse reactions, such as claustrophobia and paranoia, are much more likely to occur. In addition, one of the biggest challenges faced by those stationed on submarines is the effect of isolation.

During the time of the Vietnam War, communications on submarines were slow and unreliable at best. Sailors were allowed to receive communication through familygrams, a 25 to 50 word message. They could receive these messages, but not send any. Another problem was that family members sending the familygrams had no way of knowing whether or not the message was received. Oftentimes, those aboard the submarine would have to wait to receive news of any kind until surfacing, which could be up to four months later. Obviously, technology has since changed and communications are much improved aboard submarines.

USS Antelope, patrol gun boat

USS Antelope, patrol gun boat

Lipe then goes on to talk about the attitude surrounding the Vietnam War, describing it as “an unpopular time.” For the most part, soldiers were not looked upon as heroes. They were ridiculed and insulted, called horrific names and spat upon. Many soldiers were warned to change out of uniform immediately upon returning home, as Lipe explains, they “were not welcomed by the American people,” and for the most part were made to feel as if they had done something wrong for being a part of the war, regardless of the part that they played. He recalls a time when he came home on sick leave and was spit on in the airport. There was much animosity present and soldiers were often told, more or less, to just “suck it up and drive on.” And Lipe shares that that’s exactly what he did, keeping all of the emotions of the war bottled up inside for years.

With different times came different wars, and it wasn’t until many years later, during Desert Storm, that those emotions were released. Seeing the support of the American people for the soldiers during that time was the beginning of healing the emotional hurt from the Vietnam era. And some say, including Lipe’s wife, that the American people felt an obligation to treat those soldiers with the love and support that they so bitterly lacked during Vietnam.

Even those who were not deployed were still involved in the welcome home parades of Desert Storm and that’s when Lipe was truly able to let go of the negativity he had felt since Vietnam. He explains that he was reluctant to be involved, but nonetheless was. “When we crossed the Broadway Bridge over the Arkansas River and saw the crowds that had come out, lined up as far as you could see, and eight, 10, 12 people deep… a lot of those feelings were released.” Continuing on, the more recent events of 9/11 has molded the American public’s view, and the soldiers are once again getting the respect that they deserve.

He then goes on to talk about the outpouring of support that the soldier’s would receive, not only upon returning, but any time they were out and about in uniform. This was a support that the soldiers in Vietnam lacked. He spoke of taking flights and being moved to first class and going to pay for a meal in a restaurant, only to find that someone had already paid for it.

Jennifer Cruz on her wedding day with her father, Bruce Lipe.

The author on her wedding day with her father, Bruce Lipe.

Average Americans can feel respect and support for today’s soldiers, but often don’t know how to show it. Other than supporting organizations that strive to help vets, they are unaware how to show that they care. Sometimes the smallest gestures can mean the most, so the next time you’re out and see a soldier in uniform, pay for their meal, or just simply take the time to shake their hand and say, “Thank you for your service.”

US nuclear submarine fit for porpoise – Video Clip

AMERICA has a new submarine which is fit for a porpoise.

Or rather, it’s fit for dolphins – two of which appeared to give USS  Minnesota the seal of approval as they spectacularly surfed its churning bow  wave during recent, successful sea trials.

The beautiful moment when the two mammals swam into the 8000-tonne Virginia  class boat’s forward wake was captured on camera and has been shared widely  online by gobsmacked viewers.

The video shows the dolphins leaping high into the air as the huge nuclear  attack sub, launched late last year, barrels across the surface at up to  46km/h.

Two Navy personnel can be seen watching from the conning tower as the mammals  ride the wave, apparently enjoying being propelled forward so quickly.


“That is a beautiful sight! That must be like a surfer’s dream to the  dolphins,” one online viewer commented. 

Dr Hugh Finn, a researcher at WA’s Murdoch University, said he’s seen  dolphins riding the bow waves of Australia’s Collins class subs in Cockburn  Sound, off Fremantle’s coast.

“Essentially the dolphins get a free ride from the pressure wave that a ship  creates in front of it,” he told AAP.

“The ship is moving the water for them and they are quite adept at riding the  wave.

“The same sort of phenomenon – including the leaping – occurs when dolphins  ‘surf’ waves along the coast.”

Source – News Com. AU

Landlocked USS Dallas to be site of major maritime museum

The USS Dallas, a 362-foot nuclear-powered submarine, will be displayed next to the museum building. The submarine is scheduled for decommissioning in 2014.

Plans are afoot to build a major maritime museum in Dallas. You heard right.

The $80 million Dallas Maritime Museum will be on a 3.5-acre site near the Trinity River, but more than 250 miles from the nearest body of salt water. Plans will be officially announced Friday morning by Mayor Mike Rawlings and members of a foundation formed to create the new facility.

“Dallas is a city of big ideas, and this is just one more example,” said Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is backing the idea. “Lots of people are excited about this.”

One big idea is to acquire and display the 362-foot nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Dallas next to a 30,000-square-foot museum building. Foundation officials said naval authorities have approved the transfer once the vessel is removed from active duty.

The submarine is scheduled for decommissioning in 2014. It would be another 21/2 years before the vessel is ready for public display.

“By that time we want to have the museum ready,” said John Shellene, the foundation’s executive director. “We’re in the early stage of the fundraising process.”

Shellene said the money will largely come from private sources, though he said backers may apply to the city for additional funding.

Museum plans call for two other major acquisitions besides the submarine. Shellene declined to elaborate, other than to say that one of the exhibits “would excite people not just on the national, but the international, level.”

Rollie Stevens, a retired Navy captain who is the foundation’s president, said the idea was launched in 2009 after he and other local military supporters became aware that the USS Dallas was scheduled to leave active duty.

The idea was also conceived as a way to create an attraction in southern Dallas along the Trinity River Corridor, he said. The foundation has acquired land on Riverfront Boulevard in the Rock Island area for the project.

“We look upon its purpose as education, but also as a living memorial to the contributions North Texas has made to the Navy, the Coast Guard and the merchant marine,” he said.

While the city is not usually regarded as a major seaport, Dallas is still a logical place for a maritime museum, he said.

“It’s important to know that North Texas is the No. 1 recruiting area in the country for the Navy,” he said. “Last year in the Veterans Day parade, the Navy had 100 new recruits, as big as the Army.”

Jones, too, believes North Texas’ strong military tradition makes the museum a logical step. The facility would draw national tours specializing in retirees and military veterans, he said.

“This gives Dallas a good balance of attractions. It’s a needed addition in South Dallas,” Jones said.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based research firm ConsultEcon, commissioned by the foundation to study the feasibility of the museum, did not estimate the number of visitors the facility might attract. Its executive summary concluded, however, the Dallas Maritime Museum “has the potential to be one of the strongest tourist attractions in the city and the state.”

Stevens said visitors would be able to walk through the three levels inside the submarine. Though other cities have submarines, he said, Dallas would be the only place a nuclear-powered attack submarine could be viewed entirely out of water.

The USS Dallas has been part of the American naval defense for 32 years. There has been a lack of major sea battles during that time, but the USS Dallas achieved a kind of notoriety, if only a fictional one, by being a major component of the Tom Clancy thriller The Hunt for Red October.

Its journey to the city after which it is named may be its most epic journey.

After decommissioning ceremonies in Connecticut, the submarine will be towed along the Atlantic seaboard, through the Panama Canal and up the Pacific Coast to Puget Sound, Stevens said.

There the nuclear reactor and other classified components will be removed. The stripped-down vessel will then be towed back through Panama to Houston. The vessel, which is longer than a football field, will be dismantled, and its parts hauled to Dallas on the backs of trucks.

Once here, it will be reassembled.

“It will take a lot of planning,” Shellene said. “But it can be done.”

Description: Los Angeles-class, nuclear-powered, fast attack submarine

Length: 362 feet

Beam: 33 feet

Speed: Greater than 25 knots

Dead weight: 375 long tons, which are each 2,240 pounds

Commissioned: July 18, 1981

Homeport: Groton, Conn.

History: The USS Dallas was the first U.S. Navy ship to be named for the Texas city. It was initially attached to Submarine Development Squadron 12 in New London, Conn., and was used for research and development projects. In 1988, it became a member of Submarine Squadron 2 in New London. It has had one Indian Ocean deployment, three Mediterranean deployments and seven North Atlantic deployments.

Source – Dallas News

Submarine ‘Minnesota’ successfully completes sea trials – Video clip

The U.S. Navy’s newest attack submarine “Minnesota” successfully completes first sea trials Monday.

Submarine ‘Minnesota’ successfully completes sea trials

Huntington Ingalls Industries announced the newest Virginia-class submarine, Minnesota (SSN 783), successfully completed alpha sea trials Monday.

Alpha trials are the boat’s first round of at-sea tests and evaluations. Minnesota is being built at HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division, the Globe Newswire reported.

All systems, components and compartments were tested during the trials. The submarine submerged for the first time and operated at high speeds on the surface and under water. The Minnesota will undergo two more rounds of sea trials, including one with the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey, before delivery later this month. Minnesota is anticipated to deliver approximately 11 months ahead of its contracted delivery date.

“This submarine is the result of a lot of hard work by the shipbuilders here at Newport News, our teammates at Electric Boat, and the overall Navy organizational structure, including NAVSEA, SUPSHIP and ship’s force personnel,” said Jim Hughes, NNS’ vice president of submarines and fleet support, in a news release. “It is incredibly gratifying for all of us to see this magnificent vessel operate so well during her first at-sea period.

Minnesota clearly carries on the Virginia-class tradition of continuous cost and schedule improvement while also raising the bar on operational readiness and capability.”

Minnesota, named to honor the state’s residents and their continued support of the U.S. military, is the last of the block II Virginia-class submarines and is in the final stages of construction and testing at Newport News Shipbuilding division. Construction began in February 2008, and the keel was authenticated in May 2011. The boat was christened Oct. 27, 2012.

Minnesota is the 10th ship of the Virginia class of nuclear-powered fast-attack submarines. It’s the third ship to bear the state name, the Associated Press reported. The first USS Minnesota was a sailing steam frigate commissioned in 1857 that served during the Civil War. The second Minnesota was commissioned in 1907. The 7,800-ton Minnesota will have a crew of about 134 officers and enlisted personnel.

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) designs, builds and maintains nuclear and non-nuclear ships for the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard and provides after-market services for military ships around the globe. For more than a century, HII has built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder at its Newport News Shipbuilding and Ingalls Shipbuilding divisions employing about 37,000 in Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana and California.

Source – Dispatch

Submariner’s sea stories revealed the silent service

<b>Edward L. Beach Jr.</b>

Edward L. Beach Jr.

Sometimes the acorn does not fall far from the tree.

On April 20, 1918, Edward L. Beach Jr. was born in New York City. His father, Edward Sr., was commanding the Navy Torpedo Station in Newport, R.I., waiting for his next sea command, as the United States was entering World War I.

Beach Sr. graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1888, and rose to become Captain in 1914. He took command of the armored cruiser USS Tennessee in 1915, the ship was renamed USS Memphis when the Navy decided that battleships would be named for states. On Aug. 29, 1916, the Memphis was anchored in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, harbor when the ship was swamped and wrecked by tidal waves; 43 crew were killed and over 200 injured. A court-martial found Beach guilty of “not having enough steam available to get under way on short notice,” the court considered the tidal waves a predictable effect of weather. The court’s punishment was to reduce Beach’s seniority by 20 places, a sentence reduced by Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels when it was determined the tidal waves were produced by an underwater earthquake, not weather.

Not long after the disaster, Beach married Alice Fouché, a Dominican of French ancestry, they had three children, Edward Jr., John and Alice. Six months after the birth of his son, Captain Beach was given command of the battleship New York (BB-34), flagship of the US battleship squadron attached to the British Home Fleet. He retired in 1921 and become a professor of military and naval history at Stanford University.

From 1907 to 1922, Beach published 13 novels for young adults, emphasizing hard work, honesty and honor. They were apparently inspirational to a generation of boys who later joined the Navy. Beach also wrote an autobiography, “From Annapolis to Scapa Flow,” that his son edited after his father’s death; it was not published until 2003, 60 years after his death.

Beach Jr. graduated second in his class from the Naval Academy in 1939. He was initially assigned to the surface navy, serving on a heavy cruiser and a destroyer, before being sent to the Submarine Training School in Connecticut; an assignment he resisted. He graduated first in his class there in December 1941, just days before the attack on Pearl Harbor. He reported to the USS Trigger (SS-237) on Jan. 1, 1942. “ ‘There’s my new home,’ I thought, ‘wonder if I’m looking at my coffin.’ To me, she certainly wasn’t impressive, beautiful, or anything at all but an ugly chunk of steel. ‘No life, no spirit, no character,’ I thought.” Beach wrote in his first book, “Submarine!,” published in 1946.

He served on the Trigger and the USS Tirante (SS-420) before taking command of the USS Piper (SS-409) in 1945. He made 12 war patrols. The first patrol of the Tirante, in the Yellow Sea, was especially notable, sinking at least six Japanese ships and capturing two downed airmen. Beach, the executive officer, received the Navy Cross, captain George L. Street was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, and the ship’s crew received a Presidential Unit Citation. The action inspired Beach’s first novel, the bestselling “Run Silent, Run Deep,” published in 1955. He published two more submariner novels.

Beach received many other decorations for his war performance.

In August 1951, Beach was relieved of command to become the Naval Aide to General Omar Bradley when he was named the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His performance was rewarded with command of the USS Trigger, named for the earlier submarine, which was the first post-war submarine class. He was tapped to serve as President Dwight Eisenhower’s Naval Aide.

In 1958, he received command of the USS Triton (SSRN-586) the Navy’s fifth nuclear-powered submarine. Its shakedown cruise in February 1960 was the first non-stop submerged circumnavigation; it took 84 days and roughly followed the route of Ferdinand Magellan’s three-year course (1519-1522).

He retired in 1966, and wrote several histories, including the story of the USS Memphis disaster.

He died on Dec. 1, 2002.

Source – The Tennessean

South Korea, U.S. hold submarine drill in Yellow Sea

South Korea and the United States on Monday began an anti-submarine drill in the tensely guarded western sea as part of regular exercises amid high tensions with North Korea, military officials said.
The anti-submarine warfare exercise, which lasts until Friday, is the second in a planned series of this year’s combined military maneuvers following the last one in February.

The joint naval drill mobilizes a nuclear-powered Los Angeles-class submarine, Aegis destroyers, P-3C maritime surveillance aircrafts deployed from U.S. bases as well as South Korean destroyers, submarines and maritime aircrafts, military officials said.

“It is part of an annual routine drill held to prepare against an adversary’s submarine infiltration,” a military official said, requesting anonymity.

The latest military training comes after the two allies completed their two-month-long Foal Eagle exercise last week, amid high inter-Korean tensions due to Pyongyang’s warlike threats against Seoul and Washington.

On Sunday, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency condemned the upcoming naval drill, saying the fate of a joint industrial zone in the North hinges on Seoul.

Claiming a 97,000-ton Nimitz-class nuclear powered super carrier is expected to join the training, a spokesman for the Policy Department of the National Defense Commission called on Seoul to stop “hostile acts and military provocations” if it wants to normalize the suspended Kaesong Industrial Zone.

In response to Pyongyang’s call to stop military training to resume inter-Korean talks, Seoul’s defense ministry on Monday vowed not to give in to Pyongyang’s demands.

“It is inappropriate that the North is demanding the cancellation of South Korea-U.S. joint drills by linking it with the Kaesong Industrial Complex,” defense ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said in a briefing. “As the drills are designed to defend against North Korean provocations, they cannot be stopped.”

“As long as the North maintains its hostile stance, the joint drills will continue,” Kim said.

Although Pyongyang has routinely called the annual training a rehearsal for a northward invasion, its rhetoric turned more hostile this year under young leader Kim Jong-un, even threatening nuclear strikes against the South and the U.S.

According to the U.S. Navy’s website, the Nimitz Strike Group, consisting of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and guided-missile destroyers and cruisers, arrived in the U.S. 7th Fleet on May 3.

The Nimitz Strike Group will conduct exercises and port visits to enhance maritime partnerships and promote peace and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region along with its allies, the U.S. Navy said.

Seoul’s defense ministry didn’t confirm the participation of the U.S. carrier, noting consultations are currently underway between the two sides.

North Korea has a large fleet of submarines, and one of them is blamed for torpedoing the South Korean warship Cheonan in the Yellow Sea in March 2010, killing 46 sailors.

About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice agreement, not a peace treaty.

USS Nautilus lets visitors experience life down below

USS Nautilus

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a submariner and dive deep below the ocean surface you can do just that at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton. There you can see the history of the submarine service and climb aboard the USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear powered vessel.

The Nautilus, named after the ship depicted in Jules Verne’s novel, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” was first launched Jan. 21, 1954, after 18 months of construction. First lady Mamie Eisenhower broke the traditional bottle of champagne across Nautilus’ bow during the ceremony. On Sept. 30, 1954, Nautilus became the first commissioned nuclear powered ship in the U.S. Navy.

Nautilus made naval history on July 23, 1958, when it departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, under top secret orders to conduct “Operation Sunshine,” the first crossing of the North Pole by a ship. It was at 11:15 p.m. Aug. 3, 1958, that Commander William R. Anderson announced to his crew, “For the world, our country and the Navy … the North Pole.” With 116 men on board, Nautilus had accomplished the seemingly impossible task of reaching 90 degrees north, the geographic North Pole.

The museum with more than 33,000 artifacts is dedicated to saving the history of the submarine. The museum can trace its roots back to 1955 when the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics founded the Submarine Library with a huge collection of books and documents relating to the history of the submarine. In 1965 the facility was donated to the U.S. Navy and moved to its current location. The name was changed to the Submarine Force Museum in 1969 and efforts began to convince the Navy to donate Nautilus to the museum. A new 14,000-square-foot museum was built in 1986 and was expanded in 1997 and again in 2000.

On display in the is a replica of the Turtle, the world’s first combat submarine built in 1775. The Turtle was designed to attach a mine to the hull of an enemy ship. It was used against the British during the Revolutionary War but was not successful.

Also on display are models of several different classes of submarines and a control room where visitors can sit and operate the controls of a sub. A 50 foot-long 1/6th scale cutaway model of the submarine USS Gato is suspended from the ceiling in the main exhibit area. The Gato was the primary class of submarine used by the United States during World War II. Other displays include midget submarines from WWII, working periscopes and the Explorer, an early U.S. research submarine.

The museum library has a collection of more than 20,000 documents and 30,000 photographs related to the history of the submarine. The collection has 6,000 books including an original 1870 copy of Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”

The centerpiece for the museum is the Nautilus which was designated a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior on May 20, 1982. The historic ship then underwent an extensive conversion at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, Calif., to make it more accessible to visitors. When the conversion was complete it was towed to Groton and on April 11, 1986, the museum and Nautilus opened to the public.

Tours aboard the Nautilus are self guided and visitors get an audio wand that describes each numbered stop on the tour. The first stop after entering the forward part of the ship through a specially constructed glass house added during the conversion to a museum is the torpedo room. The Nautilus has six tubes for its 24 torpedoes. Plexiglas partitions have been installed throughout Nautilus so visitors can see but not touch the historic vessel.

As the tour continues visitors pass by berthing areas for the crew and the wardroom for the 11 officers on board. On the wall behind the wardroom table are instruments showing the ship’s speed, course and depth. Also on display in the wardroom is an original copy of Jules Vernes’ “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”

Next on the tour is the Attack Center where the periscopes are located as well as the firing panel to launch the torpedoes. The Control Room is located directly below the Attack Center and has all the instruments and controls for diving, surfacing and steering the ship. To the right of the Control Room is the Radio Room where all the ship’s communication equipment is located.

The final stop on the tour is the Crew’s Mess where the enlisted men ate. Food was served every six hours and because living conditions were stressful, submarines had the best food in the military.