Submarines have always fascinated me. To be able to travel completely submerged for extended periods of time is quite amazing. One of the greatest submarines ever was the USS Seawolf (SSN 575). Seawolf was not the first nuclear submarine. That honor goes to the Nautilus, but the Seawolf was an amazing submarine with an amazing future ahead of her. The Seawolf was built by the General Dynamics Corporation’s Electric Boat Division, Groton, Connecticut, and was laid September 15, 1953. Mrs. W. Sterling Cole christened the SEAWOLF at the launching ceremony on July 21, 1955 under the command of Commander Richard B. Laning, United States Navy.

Unlike, Nautilus, the Seawolf used liquid sodium instead of water as a moderator and cooling medium. The Seawolf was to be given many honors and awards during her time of service, with one of the greatest being on September 26, 1957, when Seawolf hosted President Dwight D. Eisenhower for a submerged run off Newport, Rhode Island. It was the first time the Commander and Chief was transported by nuclear propulsion. That makes it an amazing event for the Seawolf and for the President. Additionally, while on a port visit in Provincetown, Massachusetts, Seawolf was host to NBC telecast of “Wide, Wide World” on December 8, 1957.

One of the greatest moments, however, happened on October 6, 1958. After submerging on August 7, 1958, Seawolf remained submerged for a full 60 days. During that time she was completely independent of the Earth’s atmosphere. The submarine was self sufficient and able to produce all the life sustaining air and water the crew would need for life. It was an unheard of accomplishment. Of course, that record would be broken in the future, including twice by Seawolf herself. In 1976, Seawolf remained submerged for a US Navy record breaking 87 days. In 1977 she again went under, this time staying submerged for 79 days. Over the years of service, Seawolf received four Battle Efficiency “E” awards for excellence in battle. She received three Engineering “E” for Excellence, three Supply “E” awards, a Communications “C” award, a Damage Control “DC” award, and the Dec Seamanship Award. In April 1986 USS Seawolf (SSN 575) was decommissioned, but her name has lived on in other submarines named in her honor. The USS Seawolf (SSN 575) was truly an amazing submarine.

4 Responses to The Amazing Seawolf

  • I took BART from the Bay area to Oakland a couple of times – That’s about as ‘under-water’ as I would ever want to be. Great story, and I admire the people who serve on vessels like this.

  • I ran across this post when I was looking for pictures of USS Seawolf (SSN575). It so happens that I was on board for the two missions you mentioned in 1976 and 1977. I was a junior officer on my first submarine tour of duty. At the time, Seawolf was one of the two most secret submarines in the U.S. navy, the other being USS Halibut (SSN 587). The voyages you mentioned were extremely secret missions to spy inside of the Soviet Union. The missions were quite successful and helped us win the Cold War by providing important intelligence on Soviet capabilities. We were commanded at that time by Charles R. MacVean, CDR, USN. He was a superb skipper. If your readers want to learn more they might read the books “Blind Man’s Bluff” or “Red November.”

    • Wow!! Thank you so much for your comments. I think it is so amazing that you were on board for these missions. As to the books, I’ll be reading them myself. Thank you for your service, I am honored that you liked my story.

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