On June 14, 1952, the keel was laid for the first nuclear powered submarine in the United States Navy, USS Nautilus (SSN-571).
Yes, Nautilus is 60!
Eighteen months later, First Lady Mamie Eisenhower christened the ship at Groton, Connecticut and launched it into the Thames River…
…and The Nuclear Navy was born.
The ship actually remained dockside for another year while finishing touches were added. On January 17, 1955 she was “underway on nuclear power”. It was the beginning of the modern US Navy.
During her first year at sea, the ship broke records almost daily. Built by General Dynamics and powered by Westinghouse Electric Corporation’s pressurized water reactor, she could stay submerged longer than diesel ships, she could go farther, and reach destinations of which other ship captains only dreamt.
The ship wasn’t perfect, but she allowed the Navy to improve the nuclear fleet as a testing ground.
The building of the ship was supervised by the Father of the Nuclear Navy, Admiral Hyman G. Rickover.
Nautilus was decommissioned in 1982, turned into a museum that is visited by 250,000 visitors each year.
Today’s Navy has over 80 nuclear powered ship including submarines. Over the life of the nuclear navy, they have totaled UP over 5400 ‘reactor years’ of accident free experience.
On this, Flag Day, the ‘staff’ at Redneck Latte Ravings would like to say thanks to all the Sailors and other Service Men and Women protecting us; on land, in the air, on the oceans, and under them.
Happy Flag Day!