Around the World Submerged: the Voyage of the Triton
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When the nuclear-powered submarine USS Triton was commissioned in November 1959, its commanding officer, Captain Edward L. Beach, planned a routine shakedown cruise in the North Atlantic. Two weeks before the scheduled cruise, however, Beach was summoned to Washington and told of the immediate necessity to prove the reliability of the Rickover-conceived submarine. His new secret orders were to take the Triton around the world, entirely submerged the total distance.
This is Beach's gripping firsthand account of what went on during the 36,000 nautical-mile voyage whose record for speed and endurance still stands today. It brings to life the many tense events in the historic journey: the malfunction of the essential fathometer that indicated the location of undersea mountains and shallow waters, the sudden agonizing illness of a senior petty officer, and the serious problems with the ship's main hydraulic oil system. Intensely dramatic, Beach's chronicle also describes the psychological stresses of the journey and some touching moments shared by the crew. A skillful story teller, he recounts the experience in such detail that readers feel they have been along for the ride of a lifetime.
delighted audience was particularly convulsed because someone had doctored up the “sherri-herri” bottle with chili sauce; Jones’ agonized expression throughout the skit was very real indeed. We also held a “beard contest,” with myself as chief judge. I had already decided who was going to win: he was our ship’s barber, Pete Kollar, whose luxurious facial foliage could have competed with any Hollywood actor’s, but he fell asleep and no one remembered to call him for the contest. Forced,
the safety record of the Navy’s lighter-than-air arm was better than that of aircraft, got nowhere. Although I wasn’t even sure who had ordered it, the discussion, if such it might be called, ended with my promise to cancel operations for the blimp—somehow. Several phone calls later, this was successfully accomplished; no one seemed upset at the sudden change, except me—and possibly the people who had already journeyed to Lakehurst to board the airship. But the tension of the days and weeks just
such cases always proved of value. It was something I hadn’t thought of; I wondered what Beacham would say when he found out. There were, indeed, several tests to be carried out during this abstinence-from-smoking period, in addition to those planned for the cruise as a whole. Among them was a test to determine the psychological effects of the smoking ban, and a purely mechanical test to discover the percentage of contaminated aerosols which the smoking ban might remove from the atmosphere
Now, many years later, similar computers are used in our ballistic missiles and two of them, “robbed” from missiles, had been placed aboard Nautilus and Skate for their polar explorations. One of our missions on this cruise was to give our SINS a thorough checkout, continually comparing its computed positions to our own best-determined fixes. When SINS is perfected, the only use a navigator will have for the stars will be for an occasional check—and to preserve one of the ancient and romantic
we enter the Atlantic Ocean again, we observe a noticeable drop in the water temperature. At the same time, we are most anxious to notice whether there is any definable current. Charts and Sailing Directions indicate that this is the case, probably setting us to the northeast. Without a fathometer, we are staying well clear of possible shoal water in anticipation of this effect. 1330 Held Easter Sunday services. Pat McDonald brings new life to the Easter Story. The little mess-hall chapel is