The Mighty Viking

Conquering those things we must, one story at a time

USS Thresher: Lost at Sea, April 10th, 1963

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Maybe this annual observance only makes sense to those who have heard the sound of the diving alarm. And felt the air system close as the hatch shuts. And felt the down-angle, and the shift of the side-to-side sway of the boat cease as the Sea closed it’s liquid gates above them.

After a while, we didn’t think about where we were, there beneath the sea, dependent on steel and tubes and tanks – valves and switches that gave us control over the physical properties of air, oil, water, and electricity. It didn’t knock at the back of our consciousness like a blinking light. But we knew that in every action we took – valves we touched – or didn’t touch, every switch we operated – or chose not to operate – there was the potential to mean life or death for all of us.

Making a mistake was only part of the danger. Forces beyond our control had to be considered, things that once set in action would prevail over our comparatively frail bodies. We learned to deal with fear and danger as a companion. Not a friend, but a companion nonetheless. It didn’t lurk somewhere out there in the dark. It sat with us, slept with us, worked with us.

And sometimes, those forces won.

 

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4 Responses to “USS Thresher: Lost at Sea, April 10th, 1963”

  1. Jodie says:

    I was underway on USS Pogy for near the last time with my Favorite Captain of all time, Wil Frye, he was moving on to bigger and different things. I say different because what could be better than being the CO of a US Fast Attack Submarine? Capt. Frye and I were reminiscing about our careers together, he had been my XO on Gurnard also. We were waiting to start a drill set in the Engine Room and the discussion moved to remembrances about Casualties and Drills past. Drill time approached and Wil pushed himself away from the bulkhead he had been leaning against. He said these words that never left my mind from that point on. “Yep, we need to always remain vigilant and train, remembering that there are billions of gallons of water surrounding us that has one purpose…. To fill this void we maintain in its environment
    .

  2. Gary R. Fortin says:

    Former enlisted Submarine sailor, work with Submarine repair daily as it is my job, have been doing it since I retired. Your words ring true and only people that have experienced that life can fully understand. Every year on the anniversary of the THRESHER and SCORPION losses I read the crew lists as a remembrance. RIP my fellow brothers and shipmates!

  3. Jody Durham MM2/SS ('85-'88) says:

    Wonderfully written piece about facing the dangers we faced as submariners. Couldn’t have possibly said it better. Appreciate it, brother!

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