"Underway on Nuclear Power!"

On 17 January 1955, USS Nautilus (SSN 571), the first nuclear-powered submarine, cast off lines at 1100 and sent the historic message “underway on nuclear power.” This diagram of the sub courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command, USN 709094 (L-File).

New Photo Donation: Submarine USS Besugo (SS 321)

From time to time, we get something interesting or surprising in the mail. We recently received a wonderful collection of photographs – completely unsolicited – from Marie Gennette. Upon opening this unexpected package, we were delighted to find dozens of black and white images from the 1940′s. The photographs were from the collection of her father, Tom Gennette, a sailor from Fort Benton, Montana. He’d served in the Navy as a Fireman in the late 1940′s, and the images document a portion of his service. In particular, his time serving in the submarine USS Besugo (SS 321) is very well represented in the collection.

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OUTLAW SHARK Submarine History Seminar a Success

The 2012 Submarine History Seminar was held on the evening of 24 April 2012, as part of the National War College Commandant’s Lecture Series in historic Roosevelt Hall at the War College’s Fort McNair campus in southwest Washington, DC. 2012 marks the 11th year that the Naval Historical Foundation has partnered with the Naval Submarine League to stage these compelling looks back at the U.S. Navy’s submarine force in war and peace. This year’s topic was “OUTLAW SHARK – The Beginning of Over-The-Horizon Targeting.” The seminar took an in-depth look back at the intensive effort in the 1970s and 1980s to develop over-the-horizon (OTH) targeting methods needed to ensure that newly developed HARPOON and TOMAHAWK cruise missiles could be employed reliably to their full range potentials.

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On 10 April 1963, during diving tests, the nuclear submarine USS Thresher (SSN-593) was lost with all hands (112 crew and 12 civilians) east of Cape Cod, MA. This bow-on view of Thresher was taken on 24 July 1961. NHHC Photo NH 97545.

Sub Exhibit at Cold War Gallery Formally Accepted by Under SECNAV

In a letter to Naval Historical Foundation President VADM Robert F. Dunn, USN (Ret), dated 21 March 2012, Undersecretary of the Navy Robert O. Work formally accepted the Covert Submarine Operations exhibit in the Cold War Gallery on behalf of the Department of the Navy.

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2012 Submarine Force History Seminar

“OUTLAW SHARK – The Beginning of Over The Horizon Targeting”

During World War II and into the Cold War, torpedoes remained the primary offensive weapon for American attack submarines. With the development of surface-to-surface missiles such as Harpoon and Tomahawk, the U.S. Navy’s undersea arm had the capability to hit targets well beyond the sightlines of their periscopes.  But how do you identify and track a target over time and determine whether its friend or foe?  The passage of time now allows for an open discussion of what was once a highly classified program.

On 17 February 1864 - Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley sinks USS Housatonic, making Housatonic the first U.S. Navy warship to be sunk by a submarine. This sepia wash drawing by R.G. Skerrett, 1902, depicts H.L. Hunley. NHHC Photo NH 999.

Interested in the history of US Navy submarines in the Cold War? Check out the Cold War Gallery, at the Washington Navy Yard, part of the National Museum of the United States Navy.

Visit the Covert Submarine Operations online virtual tour.