Naval Undersea Museum Opens USS Thresher Exhibit

Naval Undersea Museum, Keyport, Washington, held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the unveiling of a new USS Thresher (SSN-593) exhibit Dec. 3.

USS Thresher was the Navy’s most advanced submarine when it sunk April 10, 1963, with all hands on board. This tragedy became a turning point for the Navy to establish the Submarine Safety (SUBSAFE) program and the Deep Submergence Systems project.

Mary Ryan, curator of the Naval Undersea Museum, said:

Thresher was an example of military prowess. So, it was a big shock when it sank.

The exhibit we’ve put together is to learn about the Thresher but to also learn what the Navy did to make sure something like that never happened again.

The loss initiated major changes in safety, construction and quality assurance programs throughout the submarine fleet.

Cmdr. Daniel Ettlich, from Cameron Park, California, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility Business and Strategic Planning Office, added:

Before the Thresher went on its final cruise she was tested during an overhaul.

Out of the 150 joints tested, 14% were considered substandard. That equates to over 400 joints through-out the submarine being mechanically unsound.

Though distant in time, the memory of this disaster still lingers for veterans who served during those years.

Since the initiation of the (SUBSAFE) program no certified submarine has ever been lost.

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Press release, Image: US Navy