Will the truth about the USS Thresher finally be revealed?

Jack Murphy
February 13, 2020 - 10:27 am
USS Thresher

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In 1963, the nuclear powered USS Thresher submarine sank to the bottom of the sea with all 129 hands lost off of the Eastern Seaboard. Several days later, after hope for a recovery had been abandoned, President Kennedy ordered that flags be flown at half staff in respect for the submariners. 

Since that time theories have have been advanced that the submarine sank due to a electrical failure, while others speculate Soviet interference. Conspiracies aside, based on data that has been previously declassified from Navy investigations, it seems clear that the Thresher sank due to a combination of a mechanical and electrical malfunction. This caused a reactor malfunction that in turn prevented it from properly clearling its ballast tanks.

However, with the further declassification of more documents we may soon learn even more about why the Thresher sank.

First reported by USNI News, Navy Capt. James Bryant who is a retired Thresher-class sub commander, has taken a interest in the USS Thresher and has sued the U.S. government to release remaining classified documents that pertain to the incident.

The U.S. Navy has been sitting on some 3,600 documents related to the Thresher, with Bryant feeling that they are dragging their feet with the declassification process. This month, a federal judge agreed.

Judge McFadden, "ordered the Navy to finish reviewing the first batch of 300 documents by April 30 and release them by May 15. The Navy is then supposed to release additional batches of 300 or so documents by the 15th of each month until all requested documents are released. He also ordered the Navy to produce status reports on the release of the documents every 60 days," USNI News reported.

What clues, or further mysteries, will be revealed by those documents, remains to be seen.

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Reach Jack Murphy: jack@connectingvets.com or @JackMurphyRGR.