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Resolution recognizes 51st anniversary of USS Thresher tragedy and honors lost crew

(Washington, DC) –To mark the 51st anniversary of the USS Thresher tragedy, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) honored the memory and sacrifice of the Thresher’s crew with a Congressional Record Statement. Shaheen’s statement commemorates the 51st anniversary of the sinking of USS Thresher, a U.S. Navy submarine built and based at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and pays tribute to the 129 naval and civilian crew members who were lost on April 10, 1963. The tragedy was the largest loss of life to-date in a submarine accident.

Senator Shaheen’s Congressional Record Statement is included below:


Mrs. SHAHEEN. Mr. President, 51 years ago the USS Thresher , a nuclear-powered attack submarine built and maintained at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, left safe harbor on what was to be her final voyage. She was manned by a crew of 16 officers, 96 sailors, and 17 civilians. Just 1 day later, on the morning of April 10, 1963, the USS Thresher was declared lost with all hands, the largest loss of life in a submarine accident to-date.

I rise today to commemorate the loss of the Thresher and her crew, but also to highlight an important legacy that was borne of this tragedy. In the aftermath of the Thresher sinking, the United States Navy redoubled its submarine safety certification efforts, resulting in the establishment of the Submarine Safety and Quality Assurance Program, known as SUBSAFE. Today, SUBSAFE is regarded as one of the most comprehensive military safety programs in the world and safeguards the vessels that carry our U.S. Navy personnel to the far depths of the oceans in defense of our freedom. In the time since the SUBSAFE program was implemented, no SUBSAFE certified submarine has been lost at sea.

The legacy of the Thresher and ensuing efforts to improve submarine safety is a testament to the devotion of all submariners past and present and to the commitment of those who support them from land. In order to preserve this example of duty for future generations, I have joined with members of the New Hampshire and Maine Congressional delegations, both past and present, to support the authorization of a memorial to the USS Thresher on the grounds of the Arlington National Cemetery. A memorial consistent with the Cemetery's vision of serving as ``A national shrine--A living history of freedom--Where dignity and honor rest in solemn repose'' is a fitting tribute to those lives lost.

I ask my colleagues and all Americans to join me today in remembering the USS Thresher . As we remember with profound sorrow the loss of her gallant crew, we must also recall the countless lives that have been saved as a result of this sad event.