USS Thresher (SSN-593)

Thresher underway on the surface in April, 1961, four months before commissioning, and two years before she was lost. Photo in the collection of the US Naval Historical Center.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

Built in Portsmouth, NH, the USS Thresher (SSN-593) was the lead ship of her class, and commissioned on 3 August, 1961. Thresher operated in the Atlantic, along the Eastern US, for her entire career, excepting a trip to Puerto Rico in October, 1961, during which her diesel generator broke down, necessitating the USS Cavalla (SS-244) to provide Thresher with power to restart her reactor. Thresher was taken in for overhaul in July, 1962, and the work was completed on 8 April, 1963. Leaving port the next day for trials, Thresher disappeared into the depths on the 10th, leaving garbled messages in her wake. 129 men, some civilian shipyard workers, are on eternal patrol with the sub. The loss was blamed on a combination of flooding, and frozen air vents, but declassified documentation has led some to believe that there was no flooding, and that a faulty electrical circuit triggered the loss of power that doomed Thresher.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: Thresher is considered a member of the Permit-class of nuclear submarines, even though Permit was the second boat of the class. The class was renamed after the loss of Thresher, following Navy tradition.