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Thesher Testimony

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    Posted: 08 Aug 2021 at 11:29am
Some miscellaneous quotes from the testimony on the Thresher Hearingss Before the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy-Congress of the United States-88th Congress



Representative Holifield:  Are those cracks still showing up in HY-80?

Admiral Rickover:  Yes sir.

But 10 minutes later Admiral Curtze said he believes it to be the best material available for hull-building.


On the subject of degradation of specifications of personnel in the Nuclear program.

Admiral Rickover:   The real problem is in the submarine staffs where nearly all the people are nonnuclear and some of who have deep resentment against the nuclear navy because it is putting them out of business. 


Concerning the change of responsible people of the Thresher

Representative Hollifield states:  There was a change in the 593’s Asst. Ship’s Superintendent  in 11-62, a change the Chief Superintendent in Dec of 62, and in Jan of 63 there was a change in command of both the Commanding Officer and Executive Officer of the 593.  It seems to me that the continuity of superintendents should have remained in the same people.  If I was doing a complicated job of construction, I wouldn’t want the four top men to be pulled out.  I think it is a problem of rotation rather than continuity.

Admiral Brockett:  I agree

Admiral Korth:  I agree

Admiral Austin: The Navy had to place a competent Commanding Officer into a position as CO of a Polaris Submarine and that was a promotion for him.  The XO was needed on the staff of the Deputy Command of ComSubLant as the senior nuclear qualified officer.


Representative Holifield:  Regarding the silver Brazed joints.  Only 14% of the 3000 silver brazed joints were ultrasonically tested.  Of those 145 joints 14% were found defective.

Admiral Austin:  I prefer to use the term “below standard” rather than defective.  Also the science of ultrasonically testing was new and subject to a 10-17% error correction.

Representative Hollifield: Why was not the remaining 2,855 joints tested?

Chairman Pastore:  Who assumed responsibility to say the numbers were “safe” or “unsafe.”

Admiral Austin: That would be the Shipyard Commander.

Pastore: Did the court find his presumptions were accurate?

Austin: No, Sir


Mr. Conway:  The Tinosa has not gone to sea yet.  She is the sister ship of the Thresher.  We understand the reason is because radiographs have been lost.

Admiral Rickover:  I believe that is correct, but none of the reactor plant.

Admiral Brockett:  These are of hull welds of the HY80 structure and are being retaken.

Senator Anderson:  They were done before the loss of the Thresher?

Admiral Brocket:  Yes, sir

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