On April 10, 1963, the USS Thresher nuclear submarine was lost with all hands off the coast of Massachusetts. One hundred and twenty-nine men perished when the Navy’s most advanced submarine imploded (crushing due to extreme pressure of water at very deep depths).

Her loss sent great shock waves to the highest levels of the government and the military. Nuclear submarines were on the cutting edge of technology, but like anything man builds, the forces of nature have the final say.

The cause of her loss has not been confirmed, but there are many theories that could be plausible to explain her loss.

The submarine was built at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, so this disaster devastated the shipyard and the workers who built her. The families of the men who perished endured a terrible blow that cannot be really conveyed by words.

Thursday will mark the 51st anniversary of her loss. A memorial is held every year to mark the disaster in the Portsmouth community. She was a beautiful vessel that met such a terrible end after only two years of service.

May her crew rest in peace in the deep bosom of the Almighty.


George Nanos

naval historian



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