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Retired Submarine Commander Sues Navy to Release USS Thresher Investigation

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  • Retired Submarine Commander Sues Navy to Release USS Thresher Investigation

    A retired nuclear submarine commander filed suit against the Navy to gain access to records classified for more than a half-century after the sinking of USS Thresher (SSN-593) – the Navy’s worst nuclear submarine disaster.

    Capt. James Bryant, who served on three Thresher-class subs, including a tour as commanding officer of USS Guardfish (SSN-612), has in his retirement taken to investigating the cause of Thresher’s sinking.

    “I’m trying to find out what happened because it’s good lessons learned,” Bryant told USNI News. “You need to have scholars look at this. What are we really protecting? I’m not doing this to embarrass the Navy.”
    https://news.usni.org/2019/08/09/ret...WS_DAILY%29&mc

    Thresher-photo-14-front-e1565301197965.jpg
    "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
    Ernest Hemingway.

    In english "silence" means yelling louder than everyone else.

  • #2
    My cousin was an engineer at KAPL for many years. Among his projects was the Thresher class. When the Thresher was lost, the Navy gave him a memorial book, honoring the lost crew. Among the Thrasher's crew were a pair of twins from Schenectady. Much to my surprise, taking both brothers was left to the skipper's discretion, not outright banned by USN regs. Suffice to say, I've always been interested in the Thresher, so I wish this skipper luck in his endeavors.
    I was married for two ******* years! Hell would be like Club Med! - Sam Kinison

    Comment


    • #3
      The theory that makes this story intriguing is that the seafloor sound surveillance system (SOSUS) detected sounds that suggested another reason to why she may have sunk, but SOSUS was highly classified, thus never talked about openly. But they did find that there were issues using emergency blow at her test depth, thus rectifying that problem for future subs.
      "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
      Ernest Hemingway.

      In english "silence" means yelling louder than everyone else.

      Comment


      • #4
        There's already extant video and photographic evidence of the Thresher's wreckage and that of Scorpion available for viewing. Scorpion flooded out well before reaching crush depth while Thresher imploded and as torn into little bits.



        Thresher wreckage:





        It's pretty clear the Thresher was torn to little pieces by the implosion.

        Scorpion wreckage:





        Scorpion didn't implode, indicating that the sub was full of water and pressure had equalized before reaching crush depth.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Achtung Baby View Post
          The theory that makes this story intriguing is that the seafloor sound surveillance system (SOSUS) detected sounds that suggested another reason to why she may have sunk, but SOSUS was highly classified, thus never talked about openly. But they did find that there were issues using emergency blow at her test depth, thus rectifying that problem for future subs.
          Except, that Thresher was on trials and the USS Skylark, a submarine rescue ship was on the surface with her. The two were in communication using underwater telephone. The communications became garbled just before Thresher went down, so there's every indication of what likely happened. The follow on investigation was as thorough as it could be.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

            Except, that Thresher was on trials and the USS Skylark, a submarine rescue ship was on the surface with her. The two were in communication using underwater telephone. The communications became garbled just before Thresher went down, so there's every indication of what likely happened. The follow on investigation was as thorough as it could be.
            Of course, but SOSUS evidence suggests a failure of an electrical bus for the coolant pumps. Which is why I guess the retired sub commander wants answers.

            USS Scorpion probably deserves another thread, she was commonly called USS Scrap iron because she had so many faults and issues.
            "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
            Ernest Hemingway.

            In english "silence" means yelling louder than everyone else.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Achtung Baby View Post

              Of course, but SOSUS evidence suggests a failure of an electrical bus for the coolant pumps. Which is why I guess the retired sub commander wants answers.
              The likely cause there was flooding due to improper brazing of seawater piping. I've seen the sloppy job sandcrabs do of that. AAA (West coast) did an AFFF system upgrade in phosphor bronze piping to connect all the stations on the hangar bay on the 'prise. They hired anyone who could spell brazing. Then they lit the system off to test the piping rather than use an air test.
              The results were as appalling as they were hilarious. A lot of the piping ran through senior officer's state rooms on the third deck and there's nothing like saltwater and AFFF to ruin your day!

              Thresher had issues with her seawater piping being right out of the yards but the issues weren't considered serious enough to keep trials from happening.

              USS Scorpion probably deserves another thread, she was commonly called USS Scrap iron because she had so many faults and issues.
              Most likely in her case was a Mk 37 torpedo, known to have issues, started running hot and they tried to jettison it but it detonated or caused a fire and much like the Kursk, Scorpion went to the bottom. At least, that's the most plausible explanation.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

                The likely cause there was flooding due to improper brazing of seawater piping. I've seen the sloppy job sandcrabs do of that. AAA (West coast) did an AFFF system upgrade in phosphor bronze piping to connect all the stations on the hangar bay on the 'prise. They hired anyone who could spell brazing. Then they lit the system off to test the piping rather than use an air test.
                The results were as appalling as they were hilarious. A lot of the piping ran through senior officer's state rooms on the third deck and there's nothing like saltwater and AFFF to ruin your day!

                Thresher had issues with her seawater piping being right out of the yards but the issues weren't considered serious enough to keep trials from happening.



                Most likely in her case was a Mk 37 torpedo, known to have issues, started running hot and they tried to jettison it but it detonated or caused a fire and much like the Kursk, Scorpion went to the bottom. At least, that's the most plausible explanation.
                Then the Scorpion would be shattered and widely scattered like the Thresher, so that did not happen.. Whenever an accident is kept classified for so long, intelligent people always want to know why.
                Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                  Thresher wreckage:
                  The subscript says "Mosaic" of sail and debrir there, does that mean several pictures are made into one for clarity ?
                  Last edited by Snowygerry; 29 Aug 19, 04:55.
                  High Admiral Snowy, Commander In Chief of the Naval Forces of The Phoenix Confederation.

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                  • #10
                    The Mk 37 torpedo, was it fueled by H2O2?
                    I was married for two ******* years! Hell would be like Club Med! - Sam Kinison

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                    • #11
                      It appears that the inquiry wasn’t considering the evidence of the SOSUS recordings, which conflicts with the official version of events.
                      "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
                      Ernest Hemingway.

                      In english "silence" means yelling louder than everyone else.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by slick_miester View Post
                        The Mk 37 torpedo, was it fueled by H2O2?
                        No, it had silver-zinc batteries that tended to overheat if charged too fast or wrong. Sort of like Lithium batteries do lately...



                        Sort of the same thing...

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                        • #13
                          Just started reading a detailed analysis of the accident... book arrived just a few hours ago. I must say I'm already overwhelmed with the amount of issues overlooked in the original navy inquiry. I can now understand why the retired commander wants this rectified.

                          One thing that repeatedly stands out, USS Thresher was already negatively buoyant at test-depth. She was sinking at a rate of 120ft/min, Scorpion was more neutrally buoyant and is estimated to have had a lower average sink rate of 52ft/min. It was assessed that the noise of Thresher's implosion could have been detected at ranges equal to the circumference of the earth. No wonder she was found in many pieces.
                          "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
                          Ernest Hemingway.

                          In english "silence" means yelling louder than everyone else.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Achtung Baby View Post
                            Just started reading a detailed analysis of the accident... book arrived just a few hours ago. I must say I'm already overwhelmed with the amount of issues overlooked in the original navy inquiry. I can now understand why the retired commander wants this rectified.

                            One thing that repeatedly stands out, USS Thresher was already negatively buoyant at test-depth. She was sinking at a rate of 120ft/min, Scorpion was more neutrally buoyant and is estimated to have had a lower average sink rate of 52ft/min. It was assessed that the noise of Thresher's implosion could have been detected at ranges equal to the circumference of the earth. No wonder she was found in many pieces.
                            How far above bottom was the implosion?
                            Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post

                              How far above bottom was the implosion?
                              USS Thresher was 2,400ft when she imploded, her collapse depth was 1,950ft. So the personal at Portsmouth Naval Shipyards actually did a commendable job in building the sub. The original court of inquiry's suggestion of flooding doesn't add up, I'll go into more detail about that later.
                              "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
                              Ernest Hemingway.

                              In english "silence" means yelling louder than everyone else.

                              Comment

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