USS Thresher

Arlington National Cemetery

Memorial Project


The Tragedy


On April 10, 1963, USS Thresher departed from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to perform deep-diving tests accompanied by the submarine rescue ship USS Skylark (ASR-20). In addition to her 16 officers and 96 enlisted men, the submarine carried 17 civilian technicians to observe her performance during the deep-diving tests.


USS Thresher (SSN-593)

USS Skylark (ASR-20)

Fifteen minutes after reaching her assigned test depth, the submarine communicated with Skylark by underwater telephone, apprising the submarine rescue ship of difficulties. Garbled transmissions indicated that--far below the surface--things were going wrong. Suddenly, listeners in Skylark heard a noise "like air rushing into an air tank"--then, silence.


Repeated efforts to reestablish contact with Thresher failed.



Photographs and portions of the above text were excerpted from the US Navy's Heritage and History Command website:


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