During a routine dive a few miles off Honolulu on 25 March 1915, the submarine USS F-4 sank in 51 fathoms of water, with the loss of her 21 crewmembers. Six months later, on 29 August 1915, using pontoons brought to Hawaii from the west coast, and following extensive additional diving work, the submarine was raised from the bottom and taken into Honolulu Harbor for drydocking. Examination of the wreck revealed design defects that were corrected in existing and future Navy submarines, greatly enhancing the safety of the undersea service.

2013 Naval Historical Foundation STEM-H Fellowship Program a Success

The summer 2013 Naval Historical Foundation STEM-H (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and History) Fellowship Program, conducted in coordination with Historic Ship Nautilus and the Submarine Force Library and Museum Association, in Groton, CT, came to a successful conclusion in the first week of August. Four Connecticut teachers, Ted Allen (science) and Greg Felber (math and history) from Ledyard Middle School, Larry Chapman (technology and engineering) from Old Saybrook High School, and Stacy Haines (math) from New London High School, completed an intense two week immersion program designed to educate them on U.S. Navy submarine history, technology and engineering, and the importance of STEM-H for today’s students. The program was led by the Foundation’s Captain John Paulson, a retired submariner and former high school educator.

The first successful launch of a Polaris missile occurred on 20 July 1960 from nuclear submarine USS George Washington (SSBN 598) submerged off Florida. Two missiles were launched. The Cold War Gallery at the Washington Navy Yard features models of all of the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles, as well as a model of USS George Washington, and a section of her hull plate. All are shown here (the hull plate is in the model case).

BOOK REVIEW – The Silent Service in World War II: The Story of the U.S. Navy Submarine Force in the Words of the Men Who Lived It

By Edward Monroe-Jones and Michael Green, eds., Havertown, PA, Casemate (2012).

Reviewed by Charles C. Kolb, Ph.D.

The editors have assembled an anthology of 46 oral histories of variable lengths that focus on stories of men as well as old S- and newer fleet-type boats that fought against the Japanese during World War II in the western Pacific. Most of these have been published elsewhere, notably in Polaris Magazine (39 between 1982 and 2008), and a handful in Submarine Review Journal, Steep Angles and Deepdives, and Undersea Encounters, augmented by two personal interviews (2007). All of these are used by permission of the copyright holders. The editors thoughtfully provide a 21-item glossary, a useful two-page map, a valuable “Introduction” which describes briefly the structure and equipment in S- and fleet-type submarines, and a three-page essay, “Hollywood and American Submarines,” in which the editors point out misconceptions in several early submarines films. Between pages 120 and 121, there are 40 black-and-white photographs illustrating exterior and interiors of World War II-era submarines, and crew members at work. The majority of these images are from personal collections (13), the National Archives (12), the Naval History and Heritage Command (9), three from the U.S. Navy, and two each from The Naval Personnel Center and Submarine Research Center. A biographical sentence or two characterizes each of the narrators and precedes the anthology.

(read the full review)

BOOK REVIEW - Fatal Dive: Solving the World War II Mystery of the USS Grunion

By Peter F. Stevens, Regnery History, Washington, DC, (2012).

Reviewed by Greg Stitz

USS Grunion (SS 216) was already under construction when the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor thrust America into World War II. Her keel had been laid at the Electric Boat Company shipyard in Groton, CT on 1 March 1941. Christened and launched on 22 December 1941 then commissioned on 11 April 1942, she was commanded by a veteran submariner, Lt. Cdr. Mannert (Jim) Lincoln Abele. Grunion was lost with all hands in the Aleutian theatre on her very first war patrol. At the time, all the U.S. Navy knew for sure was that Grunion went on patrol and never returned. Grunion and her crew were finally declared, “overdue and presumed lost” on 16 August 1942. Thanks to this book, we now know exactly when and where Grunion was lost, even if the exact circumstances are yet, and may always be, somewhat unclear.

(read the full review here)

Submarine Force Museum and Historic Ship Nautilus to Host 2013 STEM Teacher Fellowship

The Submarine Force Library and Museum Association, Historic Ship Nautilus, and the Naval Historical Foundation will sponsor this summer’s STEM Teacher Fellowship in Groton, CT from 22 July to 2 August, 2013. This will be the prototype export of our successful science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teacher fellowships conducted the past two years at the National Museum of the United States Navy’s Cold War Gallery. (Photo courtesy of the Historic Naval Ships Association).

(read the full story)

See James Cameron’s Record-Breaking Deepsea Challenger Submersible at the Washington Navy Yard Today, June 10

Please join the staff of the US Navy Museum at the Cold War Gallery (building 70) on June 10, 2013, from 3:00-3:45 pm for a special presentation on the Deepsea Challenger, the submersible co-designed by filmmaker James Cameron. On March 26, 2012, Cameron made a record-breaking solo dive to the Earth’s deepest point, successfully piloting the Deepsea Challenger nearly seven miles to Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench. He is the first person to make a solo dive to Challenger Deep. In 1960, Navy Lt. Don Walsh and scientist Jacques Piccard dove to Challenger Deep in Trieste, which is now permanently housed at the National Museum of the Unites States Navy at the Washington Navy Yard. 

Cameron has donated Deepsea Challenger to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and the submersible will be making a stop at the Washington Navy Yard en route to its new home in Massachusetts. A scientist working with Deepsea Challenger will be on hand to talk about the submersible’s technology and answer any questions from the public. This event is open to members of the public and no RSVP is required.  It is recommended that individuals who do not possess a Department of Defense CAC card or military ID arrive at the 11th and O St. SE gate of the Navy Yard 30 minutes prior to the start of the program to all enough time to obtain a visitor’s pass from the Pass and ID Center. Everyone over 16 needs valid gov’t issued photo ID to get onto base.  Individuals wishing to drive onto the Navy Yard must have a driver’s license and up-to-date registration and proof of insurance with them. This program will commence at the entrance of the US Navy Museum’s Cold War Gallery. 

For more information on getting to the Washington Navy Yard, please see: http://www.history.navy.mil/about/navy_yard.html.

On 9 June 1959 USS George Washington (SSBN 598), the first nuclear powered fleet ballistic missile submarine, was launched at Groton, CT. Artifacts from the submarine are on display at the Cold War Gallery in Washington, DC, including a model of the submarine in a floating dry dock, and a section of the boat’s pressure hull.

On 31 May 1918, the transport USS President Lincoln was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-90 while steaming from France back to the United States. Twenty-six lives were lost, and one officer was soon taken prisoner by U-90, but nearly 700 safely escaped in life rafts and were rescued. This was the largest US Navy vessel to be lost in World War I. Painting by Fred Dana Marsh, 1920, courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC, image NH 86494-KN.