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Thresher Hearings and excerpt

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Rontini599 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 26 Apr 2021 at 10:30am
While we will probably never know the exact cause of the Loss of the Thresher, it has been postulated that the loss could have been caused by a sea water leak and resultant spray into the Main Coolant Pump circuit breakers located in Aux. Mach. Rm 2 upper level.  This immediately caused a scram and closure of the Main Steam Stops to the turbine.  These breakers sat in the floor of AMR2 upper level and I had the opportunity as an EM to inspect them frequently.  These cabinets/panels were drip proof but not watertight! 
I submit the following testimony from the Hearing of the Thresher Loss in Section 7 page 1222 which is available on this BBS.
-------------------
Q. From your own direct knowledge, can you state whether these specifications were carried out in the case of the electrical equipment installed in the Thresher?

A. I do not know of my own personal knowledge, that they were, but I suspect that particularly in the Aux. Mach. Space they were not entirely met. Within the original design shipyards, I suspect that there were many areas where there is a straight shot sea water line to the switchboards.
----------------
The Questioner did not pursue this line but went on to other topics.

On another topic here are some numbers:
 The hull collapse occurred in .1 seconds with a force = to water at 40,000 mph. This is less time than the human can recognize something is happening which is .015 seconds.  Our men did not suffer!  Also, the Scorpion collapsed at 1530' and the Thresher at 2400' which indicates the structural differences in the two classes. 
 Much testimony was given and asked about sil-brazing vs welding in this section.
 Remember, the boat was proceeding to Test Depth, with negative buoyancy and at slow speed when the Reactor Scrammed.  Their only choices were to plane upward and Emergency Blow. 
 There is a little talk later in Section 7 of the problems with Emergency valves/strainers, etc. 



Edited by Rontini599 - 28 Apr 2021 at 6:29pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rontini599 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Apr 2021 at 6:09pm
In my continued reading of Section 7, I read that Thresher had been deep many times and had even gone through shock testing..
My question concerns Emer. Blow.  Why was not the system even tested once in all those dives?


Edited by Rontini599 - 10 Jun 2021 at 4:15pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Flapper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Apr 2021 at 7:32pm
I'd wager that Thresher's emerg blow was tested more than a few times, Ron. I think actual flowrate restrictions weren't recognized, because normally the blow would be done with neutral buoyancy. Given 593's negative buoyancy before the incident, and flooding in AMR2, and the (later verified) iceup of emerg blow valves, there wasn't enough ballast lost to negate the water coming into the people pipe.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rontini599 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 2021 at 11:38am
Why did you say Flooding in AMR2.  Flooding indicates to me a massive amount of water coming in.  That is not provable at this point. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rontini599 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 2021 at 11:48am
Further reading of Section 7 (specifically the last 1/3rd) concentrated on the ASR Skylarks actions. The questions seemed to want to lead us to believe the Skylark and her Commander was somehow responsible or at least could have done something to help.
We all know that was impossible! 
The Court interviewed nearly everyone aboard including two E-2s who happened to be in the Pilot House/Bridge at the time. All had nothing but praise for the current ships Captain.  
Then they seemed to question the CO's competence and his actions and enough witnesses came forward to thwart that argument. The attempt to make the CO a scapecoat failed. 
Remember this Court and investigation took place one month after the loss. 
Why was not another investigation conducted 8-12 months later when more facts were uncovered and more records found? 

I will never forget the wife of Wes Harvey (CO-593) who had nothing but praise for the Skylark's CO in a letter submitted to the Court of Inquiry. 

I also question as to enough testimony was given concerning the Sil-brazing and qualifications for that. I know Ultra-sonic testing was just coming aboard but they did have quite a bit of evidence of failure rates and rejection rates on other boats. 

I also know that depth restrictions were put in force immediately after the accident, even on the boomer I rode.  But were they ever lifted?  When did Sub-Safe come into effect?  The 589 was lost 5 years later and she never had Sub-Safe?  But that was probably due to other reasons other than structural. 

Yes I know I am a Monday Quarterback here, but too many things do not add up in my limited knowledge. 

And the testimony so far, I am sure, did nothing to assuage the memories of the families of those lost and whom are still looking for closure.  The same applies to the 589. 


Edited by Rontini599 - 28 Apr 2021 at 6:45pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rontini599 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 2021 at 1:36pm
I am not an expert in these matters by any means.  I only served 8 years.  I did have a friend on the Thresher and my boat received a Sonar Tech off the 593 about a month after the loss who had transferred off a couple of months before the loss. 
I am a little surprised at the lack of commentary here. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 610ET Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2021 at 12:48pm
"The 589 was lost 5 years later and she never had Sub-Safe?"

I seem to recall reading that Scorpion was scheduled for SUBSAFE but that was delayed because of the necessity of what proved to be her last deployment?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rontini599 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2021 at 3:19pm
I don't know if or when she was scheduled for SubSafe but....
 On February 1, 1967, the Scorpion entered the Norfolk yard 
     and began her ``Reduced Availability'' overhaul. By the time 
     she sailed out on October 6, she had received the cheapest 
     submarine overhaul in United States Navy history. Originally 
     scheduled for more extensive reconditioning, the Scorpion was 
     further hurt by manpower and material shortages in the yard 
     because of the overhaul of the U.S.S. Skate (SSN 578), 
     Norfolk's first of a nuclear submarine. This retrofit had 
     gobbled up both workmen and resources at an unprecedented 
     rate. This meant that a submarine tender--a maintenance 
     ship--and the Scorpion's own crew had to perform most of the 
     work normally done by yard workers. She received little more 
     than the emergency repairs required to get her back to sea 
     and the refueling of her reactor. Out of the $3.2 million 
     spent on her during these eight months, $2.3 million went 
     into refueling and altering her nuclear reactor. A standard 
     submarine overhaul of this era lasted almost two years and 
     cost over $20 million.
During her last deployment, the Scorpion had 109 work orders still unfilled--one was for a new trash disposal unit latch--and she still lacked a working emergency blow system and decentralized emergency sea water shutoff valves. She also suffered from chronic problems in her hydraulics.
She was rushed out for the Med. run to replace the Sea Wolf because the Wolf
ran aground off east coast and damaged her rudder and was returned to Groton for repairs.

***Don't forget that the boats were restricted to 500' at that time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 610ET Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2021 at 5:07pm
"***Don't forget that the boats were restricted to 500' at that time."

We completed our overhaul in May of 1968 and did workups prior to to leaving Charleston in September for the Med and  patrol.

We did our deep dive certification and later went below 500.

Wonder when that restriction was lifted.?

We must have had SUBSAFE because we had 4500 lb emergency blow?

I was a nub then so not a lot of data to share.




Edited by 610ET - 08 May 2021 at 5:07pm
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