Nuclear power allowed for a dramatic increase in range and operational flexibility. Nuclear submarines could remain submerged for nearly unlimited periods of time and, with the launching of the USS George Washington SSN , could fire cruise or ballistic missiles at enemy land targets from a submerged position. Navy, was also commissioned in First launched in August , the Triton carried a forward reactor that supplied steam to the forward engine room and drove the starboard propeller; a second reactor powered the after-engine room and port propeller.
Packed with new technologies—from a periscope for navigating via the altitude of celestial bodies that was as accurate as through a sextant, to a Precision Depth Recorder, which would take soundings of the ocean floor and record them graphically to show its virtual shape—the Triton was a masterpiece of technology and innovation.
Captain Edward Beach - Telegraph
Designed for high speed on the surface as well as below it, the Triton was The Triton began sea trials in September , by which time some of her crew, including her captain, Edward Latimer Beach , had been involved in a rigorous nuclear submarine training program for a period of a year or more. In November the Triton was officially commissioned into the U. After commissioning, the Triton began torpedo trials and other special tests. Then, on February 4, , in a secret Pentagon conference, Beach learned that the Triton 's "shakedown" cruise, the final test of a commissioned naval vessel, would be to circumnavigate the globe in a voyage called "Operation Sandblast" Beach's code name was "Sand".
To follow the track of Ferdinand Magellan c. With less than two weeks to make final preparations and under top secret conditions—the only men told of the planned operation were Triton 's officers and one enlisted man, the navigational assistant—provisions and equipment for days were loaded onto the Triton , including 77, pounds 35, kg of food. On February 15, , a hour, preshakedown cruise run turned up a number of small malfunctions, which were quickly fixed before her February 16 departure. On February 24 the Triton reached St. Peter and St. Paul 's Rocks, the official departing and terminating point of her circumnavigation voyage.
She also made her first of four crossings of the equator. The crew occupied themselves with daily drills and exercises, and a doctor was aboard to study the psychological effects of long cruises, with volunteers completing daily questionnaires regarding their habits and other matters such as their general feelings and moods. No real problems surfaced until March 1, when the fathometer, vital to the soundings being taken in the uncharted waters through which the Triton was voyaging, experienced difficulties, a reactor problem was noted, and the chief radarman was diagnosed with a kidney stone on March 5, the Triton partially surfaced—she remained 99 percent submerged—to transfer him to the USS Macon off Montevideo, Uruguay.
The problems were fixed and on March 7, , the Triton passed Cape Horn off the coast of South America and went back and forth five times to allow all crewmembers the chance to view it through her periscope. On March 12 additional fathometer problems were discovered, and the Triton was forced to rely on her search sonar and a gravity-metering device being tested for the remainder of the voyage. Part of the Triton 's assignment during her voyage was to conduct undetected photo reconnaissance—which she accomplished on March 13 off Easter Island and later on March 28 off Guam, where she observed navy planes taking off and landing.
On April 1, while at periscope depth in Magellan Bay, the Triton 's periscope was sighted by a young man in a small dugout. This was the only unauthorized person to spot the Triton during her voyage, a year-old Filipino named Rufino Baring who was convinced he had seen a sea monster. Triton 's course took her from the mid-Atlantic around Cape Horn , through the Philippine and Indonesian archipelagoes, and across the Indian Ocean.
Paul 's Rocks on April 25, following her fourth crossing of the equator. With the circumnavigation voyage of 60 days, 21 hours, and 26, nautical miles 49, km behind her, the Triton 's shakedown cruise wasn't yet over. Following an April 30 photo reconnaissance of the city of Santa Cruz on Tenerife, Canary Islands , and a May 2 transfer to the USS Weeks of the official mission photographer and the boarding of a medical officer , the Triton finally surfaced on May 10 off the coast of Delaware, having been submerged 83 days, 10 hours.
On May 11 she arrived in Connecticut after a journey of 36, Application of nuclear power to submarines reinforced the image of the United States as a superpower and leader in technology. Many of the Triton's innovations and technological advances in naval nuclear power—as well as in the design and construction of submarines—were subsequently used in other industries. Civilian as well as naval submarines became an essential part of the science community; there were numerous expeditions in the oceans of the world where submarines participated in studies of marine life, collected oceanographic data, and made detailed studies of the ocean floor.
The achievement of the USS Triton was an important part of that scientific milieu. It may also have improved American morale, which suffered after a U-2 spy plane was downed by a Russian missile on May 1, This disaster that cancelled a summit conference between the U. Beach, Edward Latimer. New York : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Salt and Steel: Reflections of a Submariner. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. Fortunately, the heavy cruiser Macon , with Captain Reuben T.
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Triton broached, exposing only her sail while preserving the submarine's submerged status. A boat-handling party led by Lieutenant George A. Sawyer, the ship's gunnery officer, transferred Poole to the waiting whaleboat, which then returned to Macon. Poole was the only crew member who did not complete the voyage. After the rendezvous, Triton dove and turned back southwards.
Captain Beach described his first impressions of this legendary lands-end of the Western Hemisphere as "bold and forbidding, like the sway-backed profile of some prehistoric sea monster. Benson ,  Commander Submarine Force U. Also on that day, Triton successfully conducted a drill simulating the emergency shutdown of both her reactors and loss of all power. Two days later, the starboard propshaft seal sprung a major leak in the after engine room.
Since the transducer head was located outside the boat's pressure hull , it could not be repaired except in drydock. Without an operational fathometer, Triton could be vulnerable to grounding or collision with uncharted submerged formations. It was subsequently determined that the cabling to Triton ' s fathometer head, located in the bulbous forefoot of her bow, had not been properly insulated, and the constant buffeting from Triton ' s high speed caused these cables to rupture, rendering the fathometer inoperable.
An alternative to the fathometer was devised involving the use of the ship's active forward search sonar in conjunction with the gravity meter installed in the combat intelligence center CIC. By using both systems in tandem, underwater masses could be detected and avoided, although this approach lacked the capability of the fathometer to echo-sound the depth of the ocean floor. Triton next spotted Easter Island on that same day, 13 March , first by radar, then by periscope. The northeastern coast of the island was photographed for two and a half hours before the statue that Thor Heyerdahl had erected was spotted.
A malfunctioning air compressor was repaired on 17 March. The repair required the complete re-wiring of the compressor's armature, a task ordinarily done aboard a submarine tender or in a shipyard. Captain Beach was deeply impressed by "this spirit and outlook [that] permeated our crew. One was based on a general announcing speaker, while the other used a stainless steel cooking pot from the galley, with stainless steel rods and copper wiring. Beach noted in the ship's log: "I could only marvel at the ingenuity of the American sailor.
On 19 March, Triton detected another submerged peak, using its sonar and gravity meter, and crossed the equator a second time—passing into the Northern Hemisphere again. Another submerged peak was successfully detected on 20 March. A submerged naval gun salute was fired to honor the lost crew when three water slugs were shot in quick succession from the forward torpedo tubes.
On the morning of 28 March, Triton spotted Guam and observed activity on shore via her periscope. Petty Officer Edward Carbullido pictured , who had been born on Guam but had not returned home for 14 years, was asked to identify his parents' house through the periscope while the boat remained submerged in Agat Bay.
Triton then changed course for the Philippines , the midpoint of her around-the-world voyage. On 31 March, Triton crossed over the Philippine Trench and began threading her way through the vast Philippine archipelago , passing from the Philippine Sea through the Surigao Strait and then the Mindanao Sea , and finally through the Bohol Strait into the Camotes Sea. Oldendorf , the task force commander whose battleships had defeated the Japanese Southern Force during the Battle of Surigao Strait , history's last naval action fought between battleships, during World War II.
Captain Beach observed, "We think that Admiral Oldendorf will appreciate a sample of this body of water. On 1 April, Triton spotted Mactan Island , and shortly before noon, sighted the monument pictured commemorating the death of Ferdinand Magellan at that site, thereby reaching the midpoint of her circumnavigation.
Captain Edward L. Beach
Ordinarily a leader given to the most meticulous preparations for any important undertaking, one who personally checked every item and left no stone unturned in his effort to eliminate any possible cause of failure, Magellan's every action during this entire episode Such was the height of his religious fervor that divine intervention was expected as a matter of course. God, having brought him this far, would not forsake him now.
So much have thought Magellan in the height of his exaltation, forgetting entirely that God is not bound by the conventions of man's thought. Captain Beach later recorded his reactions to this unexpected encounter in his log:. It is a ludicrous situation: On one hand an impassive Asian, staring with curious concentration at an unusual object in the water; on the other, a U.
Navy officer, equipped with all technical devices money and science can procure, looking back with equally studied concentration. What an abyss — what centuries of scientific development — lie between me and him!
The noted photographer Joseph Baynor Roberts of National Geographic magazine was able to snap several photos of this unexpected interloper pictured through the ship's periscope before Triton moved out of range. The November issue identified the fisherman as year-old Rufino Baring of Punta Engano, Mactan Island , who believed he had encountered a sea monster: "I was very frightened.
I tried to get away as fast as I could. On 2 April, Triton ' s gyroscopic repeaters , used to maintain the ship's navigational bearing , began to experience sudden, severe oscillations , possibly caused by a malfunctioning synchro amplifier. The helm was shifted to direct gyro input, the synchro amplifiers were checked out, and the gyroscopic repeaters appeared to return to normal function. Later, while transiting the Pearl Bank Passage, a narrow channel lined with coral reefs , a periscope observation determined that Triton was off course, indicating a potentially hazardous helm error.
Steering control was immediately shifted to the control room, with the helm using the master gyroscopic repeater. While the malfunction was detected in time and the ship was not in any immediate danger, the loss of navigational bearing could have been catastrophic, with Captain Beach noting that "the episode had a sobering effect. Triton then proceeded through the Sibutu Passage into the Celebes Sea , leaving Philippine waters, and subsequently entered Makassar Strait , crossing the equator a third time, on 3 April, and then, during 4 April, transited the Flores Sea , bound for Lombok Strait, the gateway to the Indian Ocean.
The transition proved dramatic. Captain Beach noted, "I had experienced changes in water density many times before, but never one of this magnitude. While crossing the Indian Ocean, Triton conducted a sealed-ship experiment. Beginning 10 April, rather than refreshing the air in the ship by snorkeling each night, she remained sealed, using compressed air to make up for consumed oxygen , as well as burning " oxygen candles " to replenish the ship's atmosphere.
Also, starting on 15 April, the smoking lamp was extinguished, with no tobacco smoking permitted anywhere aboard the ship. During this smoking ban, Dr. Benjamin Weybrew carried out a battery of tests on crew volunteers, both smokers and non-smokers, to measure cardiovascular functions and psychological stress indices to determine the effects that the prohibition of tobacco had on individual and group performance of the test subjects. The objective of this experiment was to determine the advisability of prohibiting the use of tobacco from submarine operations given the extended submerged duration of missions involving nuclear-powered submarines.
The test results determined that smokers showed consistently higher mean oral temperature and pulse rate , both at rest and following exercises, as well as significantly increased pulse rates over non-smokers, a marked decrease in alertness, and an increase in insomnia symptoms. However, there was no significant difference in blood pressure between smokers and non-smokers. Finally, smokers experienced "debilitative performance decrements" during the smoking prohibition, and as a consequence, this also affected the morale of non-smokers, both among the participants in the experiment as well as non-participants.
Weybrew concluded smoking should be avoided because of its attendant health and relational issues, and not smoking enhances one's overall stress coping capacity SCC. At the convention of the Cigar Institute of America, Weybrew noted: "When a smoker is forbidden to smoke he just doesn't like it. The smokers in the test got irritable, ate too much, had trouble sleeping, and personal relationships began to deteriorate. The smoking lamp was re-lit on 18 April, with the three days of prohibition having taken a noticeable toll on crew morale. On the same day that the sealed atmosphere experiment was terminated, 24 April , Triton experienced a major equipment failure.
In the after torpedo room, a hydraulic line to the stern plane mechanism burst. Martin, this potentially catastrophic event was successfully contained. Eventually, the main hydraulic system was restored with a control valve from the steering system, but the boat's steering controls remained on emergency mode for the rest of the voyage. It was subsequently determined that the pipe burst was caused by a fractured valve.
For his quick and decisive actions in handling this emergency, Steele was presented the Navy Commendation Medal. On 25 April, Triton crossed the Equator a final time, re-entering the Northern Hemisphere , and shortly thereafter, she sighted the St. Peter and Paul Rocks , completing the first submerged circumnavigation. As Captain Beach wrote, "We are not yet home, but we may be considered to have taken a long lead off third base. During 28—29 April, Triton conducted engineering drills, then proceeded to Tenerife , the Canary Islands , arriving on 30 April, and thereafter setting course for Cadiz , Spain, to complete two additional goals of Operation Sandblast.
One was to honor the seaport where Ferdinand Magellan set sail in to initiate the first global maritime circumnavigation, and the other was to deliver a plaque created to honor Magellan's and Triton ' s historic voyages when Triton rendezvoused with the destroyer John W. Weeks off Cadiz on 2 May Captain Beach was flown by helicopter pictured to Washington, D.
Rickover, known as the "Father of the Nuclear Navy", in attendance. Beach flew back to his boat later that day, and Triton arrived back at Groton, Connecticut, on 11 May , completing her shakedown cruise and the first submarine circumnavigation of the earth. Triton ' s globe-girdling cruise proved invaluable to the United States. Politically, it enhanced the nation's prestige.
From an operational viewpoint, the cruise demonstrated the great submerged endurance and sustained high-speed transit capabilities of the first generation of nuclear-powered submarines. Moreover, during the voyage, the submarine collected reams of oceanographic data. The total mileage and duration of the first submerged circumnavigation of the earth are as follows: . Triton also crossed the Equator four times during its circumnavigation on the following dates and locations: .
On her shakedown cruise, Triton was submerged a total of 83 days 9 hours, covering 35, Thamm, Triton ' s diving officer during Operation Sandblast, confirmed the actual duration of Triton ' s submerged circumnavigation was 60 days, 21 hours while further noting:. And if their route was statute miles When Tully made inquiries regarding inconsistencies pertaining to the fastest motorized maritime circumnavition record, the Guinness World Records response was: "If the US Department of Defense would care to present us with all the facts, we'll look at it again.
Operation Sandblast gathered extensive oceanographic, hydrographic, gravimetric, and geophysical data. Water samples were taken throughout Triton ' s circumnavigation, which were tested for differences in chemical composition, salinity, density, and temperature. Such samples were vital for submarine operations. Water salinity and density affects submerged trim, as well as sonar performance, while warmer water affects the efficiency of shipboard condensers and, consequently, ship speed. This extensive gravity study assisted the Navy in developing navigational aids.
Operation Sandblast also proved nuclear-powered submarines could undertake extended operations independent of any external support. Specifically, Triton tested a prototype ship inertial navigational system SINS for submarine use, as well as being the first submarine to test the floating very low frequency VLF communications buoy system, with both systems being vital for the Navy's upcoming Polaris fleet ballistic missile submarines FBM deterrence patrols.
Finally, the psychological testing of Triton ' s crew members to determine the effects of long-term isolation was particularly relevant for the initial deployment of the Navy's fleet ballistic missile submarines , as well as NASA's upcoming manned space program, Project Mercury , with MIT engineers assuring NASA "that getting to the moon and back was simpler than guiding an antiballistic missile or circumnavigating the earth under water in a nuclear submarine. Paine further summarized the true accomplishment of Operation Sandblast:. The first underwater circumnavigation of the globe is a triumph of human prowess and engineering skill, a feat which the United States Navy can rank as one of its bright victories in man's ultimate conquest of the seas.
Because of the public uproar over the U-2 Incident , which sparked a major Soviet-American diplomatic crisis that led to the collapse of the Paris Summit , most of the official celebrations for Triton ' s submerged circumnavigation were canceled. The voyage did receive extensive contemporary coverage by the news media, including feature magazine articles by Argosy , Life , Look , National Geographic , and the Saturday Evening Post as well as television and newsreels. Craig , this episode was titled Saga of the Triton , and it featured film footage from Operation Sandblast with voice-over narration extracted from Captain Beach's logbook.
The American government published an page redacted version of Triton ' s log pictured following the submerged circumnavigation. Captain Beach wrote the lead article " Triton Follows Magellan's Wake" on the circumnavigation for the November issue of National Geographic Magazine , and he also wrote a book-length account, Around the World Submerged: The Voyage of the Triton , which was published in Historian Bern Dibner wrote Victoria and the Triton , a book about famous maritime circumnavigations, featuring the Victoria , the Spanish carrack that was the first ship to circumnavigate the world under Ferdinand Magellan, as well as Triton ' s submerged circumnavigation of Beach , with illustrations by Richard Modock.
Beach is the nephew of Captain Edward L. Edward F. Finch, a biography of the late Captain Beach, which includes extensive coverage of Operation Sandblast. Beach paid tribute to his crew and their ship by noting:. I'm proud of Triton's around-the-world cruise, but I didn't really do that. That was done by my crew and the Navy — the ship the Navy built and put me in command of. That's not a personal achievement, although I was captain of the ship.
Franke , which was accepted by Chief Torpedoman's Mate Chester Raymond Fitzjarald, the chief of the boat , on behalf of Triton ' s officers and crew. For meritorious achievement from 16 February to 10 May In addition to proving the ability of both crew and nuclear submarine to accomplish a mission which required almost three months of submergence, TRITON collected much data of scientific importance. All members of the crew who made this voyage are authorized to wear the Presidential Unit Citation ribbon with a special clasp in the form of a golden replica of the globe.
Up to that time, this was only the second time that a U. Captain Edward L. Aurand reading the following citation:. For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service while serving on board the U. Beach, United States Navy, led his crew with courage, foresight and determination in an unprecedented circumnavigation of the globe, proving man's ability under trying conditions to accomplish prolonged submerged missions as well as testing new and complex equipment in the world's largest submarine.
This historic voyage took his ship into strange waters under difficult and frequently unknown conditions, as a result, the TRITON collected much valuable oceanographic information. Captain Beach's sound judgment, masterful leadership, professional skill and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the naval service.
D from the American International College , whose citation reads:. In , the American Philosophical Society presented Beach with its Magellanic Premium , the nation's oldest and most prestigious scientific award, in "recognition of his navigation of the U. Navy Museum in Washington, DC. On 11 April , the chief petty officers Hugh M. Bennett, Jr. Blair, Jr. Hampson; Herbert F. Hardman; and Lynn S.
Loveland were announced for promotion to ensign and moved into the ward room. Bloomingdale; Richard R. Fickel; Joseph R. Flasco; Gene R. Hoke; Lonard F. Lehman; George W. Mather; J. Meaders; Russell F. Pion; Gerald R. Stott; and Robert R. On 10 May , William R. Hadley, Chief Communications Technician, was awarded his silver dolphin pin , signifying that he was qualified to serve on submarines. Beckhaus; Fred Kenst; William A. McKamey; and James H. Smith, Jr. The epochal achievement of the fleet of Magellan in circumnavigating the globe was echoed in the magnificent accomplishment by the nuclear submarine Triton in Like the voyage of Magellan, that of the Triton created stirring philosophical concepts.
It demonstrated that a company of men could live and work in the depth of the ocean for months at a time. It was shown that thru the new technology a source of power had been made in such abundance and so manageable that, without refueling, an ton vehicle would be driven thru the water around the world. It was also shown that the arts of observation, navigation, communication and control had reached the point where travel under the water was possible with pinpoint accuracy. In the eight days prior to Triton ' s departure on her around-the-world submerged voyage, Captain Beach approached Lt.
Tom B. Thamm, Triton ' s Auxiliary Division Officer, to design a commemorative plaque for their upcoming voyage, as well as the first circumnavigation led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Commodore Tom Henry, commanding Submarine Squadron 10, supervised the completion of the plaque. Benson at New London. The actual molding of the plaque was done by the Mystic Foundry. During the homeward leg of her around-the-world voyage, Triton rendezvoused with the destroyer John W.
Weeks on 2 May off Cadiz , Spain, the departure point for Magellan's earlier voyage. Triton broached, and Weeks transferred the finished plaque to Triton for transport back to the United States. Navy Submarine School and the U. The crew of Triton provided samples of water taken from the 22 seas through which their ship had passed during their submerged circumnavigation, which were used to fill a globe built into the Triton Light along with a commemorative marker.
The facility is named after Captain Edward L. Beach, Sr. Triton ' s dive wheel from its conning tower is on display in the lobby of Beach Hall. Triton was the inductee into the Submarine Hall of Fame in recognition of executing the first submerged circumnavigation, following her nomination by the Tidewater chapter and Hampton Roads Base of the United States Submarine Veterans, Inc.
Its purpose is "to establish a permanent park in north Richland in recognition of all the decommissioned reactor cores off-loaded at the Port of Benton's barge slip, transported and stored at the Hanford Site. The park also serves as a tourist attraction, especially due to its location, since Hanford is the resting place of spent reactor cores from several Navy ships. The park's tentative location is at the end of Port of Benton Boulevard in north Richland, Washington.
Planning called for Triton' s sail to be cut up for transport and re-assembly at the park site. Ground-breaking was initially scheduled to take place on 3 April , with the dedication ceremony set for 19 August and a fall start date for construction. The second phase would involve the park's landscaping, and the third phase would be the installation of a parking lot.
Two films of the period, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Around the World Under the Sea , dramatized globe-circling submerged voyages similar to Operation Sandblast. Codfish " which was a monologue involving the final address by the captain to the crew of a nuclear-powered submarine after completing a two-year-long, around-the-world underwater voyage. Captain Beach reportedly played "The Cruise of the U.
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Codfish " over the ship's public address system during Triton ' s first overseas deployment in the fall of Also, on April 9, , retired Admiral Henry G. Chiles Jr. The graduation class was named in honor of Triton , and each graduate received a certificate of course completion and a commemorative coin celebrating the 50th anniversary of Triton 's submerged circumnavigation. Finch, a biography of the late Captain Beach, which included extensive coverage of Operation Sandblast.
Hay, who had served on Triton during its historic submerged around-the-world voyage. It is truly a cruise which tested the crew's mettle and proved the skipper's tenacity. More than that, however, it again proved to all who cared to listen that the US Navy could go anywhere, at anytime, and do what ever was required. It's a good sea story about doing what had to be done.
On the fiftieth anniversary of the First Submerged Circumnavigation it's a good thing to do to re-read about one of the forerunners of all we've done since. The entries can be found here and here. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Code name for the first submerged circumnavigation of the world.
Triton 's navigational track and mission milestones. Aurand, U. Navy January 6, Navy 2 May Beach on Magellan and his demise, . Beach, Triton's log  . See also: Triton Light. Arkin and Joshua Handler, p. New York Times. May 13, Retrieved 12 March Edward L. Annapolis, Maryland : Naval Institute Press. Retrieved Hereafter referred to as: Finch.
Nashville, Tennessee : Thomas Nelson Publishers. Around the World Submerged , p. Evan P. Aurand Papers. Eisenhower Presidential Library. Howard McC. Snyder Papers. Beneath the Waves , pp.nicsdrubsearchsi.tk
Captain Edward Beach
Cold War Submarines , p. Navy Retired ". Naval History. Submarines since , p. Silent Victory: The U. Submarine War Against Japan. Archived from the original on Around the World Submerged , pp. Operational Archives Branch. B-5 to B-6, B B-5 to B November National Geographic.
February Popular Mechanics. B-7 to B The ABC's of Stress. B-9 to B Letters to the editor. Yuma Sun. B to B Time Inc. Retrieved 24 February Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Presidential Visits Abroad. Department of State. January 20, — January 20, Around the World Submerged, p. B to B, B B to B-B Around the World Submerged, pp. The American Legion Magazine.
The Free Lance—Star : 6. November 6, Tri-City Herald : December 5, The Day. On 8 April , the U. Navy announced a permanent smoking ban onboard submarines effective 31 December Lance M. Bacon April 10, Navy Times. Archived from the original on September 6, Rickover: The Struggle for Excellence , p. Rickover: The Struggle for Excellence. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.
Related Around the World Submerged: the Voyage of the Triton
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