Tales of a Cold War Submariner

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Overview

Following the Second World War, Dan Summitt cruised the China Sea in a destroyer. During the Cold War, he worked with Adm. Hyman Rickover and commanded two nuclear submarines. In Tales of a Cold War Submariner, Summitt tells the dramatic story of his military life on and under the sea, focusing on his experiences with nuclear submarines and Admiral Rickover, “the father of the nuclear navy.” His stories, anecdotes, and detailed descriptions bring this tense era to life for the reader. Summitt recounts his service...

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Overview

Following the Second World War, Dan Summitt cruised the China Sea in a destroyer. During the Cold War, he worked with Adm. Hyman Rickover and commanded two nuclear submarines. In Tales of a Cold War Submariner, Summitt tells the dramatic story of his military life on and under the sea, focusing on his experiences with nuclear submarines and Admiral Rickover, “the father of the nuclear navy.” His stories, anecdotes, and detailed descriptions bring this tense era to life for the reader. Summitt recounts his service as commander of the USS Seadragon on its secret mission to the North Pole, where he rendezvoused with the USS Skate to conduct experiments under the ice. Following a posting to Naval Reactors, Summit then took command of the USS Alexander Hamilton, one of forty-one Polaris submarines in the U.S. fleet. A submarine of this class was 425 feet long and carried sixteen Polaris missiles, each 35 feet high and weighing 35,000 pounds. Summitt takes the reader on a tour of the spacious vessel, describing everything from its living quarters to practice missile launches to the coveralls worn by the crew. He recounts Christmas at the Duke of Argyle’s castle, discusses the difficulties of steering with a single propeller, and describes how the Alexander Hamilton was almost lost because of a faulty needle piston in the snorkel head valve cylinder, a reminder that even the most sophisticated machine can be undone by a simple mechanical failure. In the best tradition of naval literature, Summitt’s memoir offers a first-person view of life in the navy during a crucial period in our history. Readers will enjoy weighing anchor with Captain Summitt, and scholars will find his memoir an important contribution to the literature on the U.S. Navy and the Cold War.

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Editorial Reviews

Captain - Robert H. Weeks
"Enjoy the book—it’s a fine read."—Capt. Robert H. Weeks, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Dan Summitt was born in Nashville, Tennessee, far from the ocean and submarines. He attended Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech each for a year and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1947, served a year aboard a destroyer, and then entered Submarine School. He rose to the position of deputy chief of staff for the commander of the Submarine Force Atlantic Fleet and as chief of staff for the Submarine Flotilla 8 in the Mediterranean. He retired in 1974.  He passed away in 2011.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix
1 How It All Started 3
2 My Destroyer Days 11
3 My Early Submarine Days 45
4 Annapolis and West Point 74
5 Back to Sea Duty 86
6 Nuclear Power Training 90
7 Duty aboard Sargo 96
8 Prospective Commanding Officer Training at Naval Reactors 107
9 Seadragon Operations 112
10 Off to the Arctic 132
11 Seadragon and Skate Conduct Joint Operations 146
12 Heading Home 162
13 Final Days aboard Seadragon 178
14 Working at Naval Reactors 186
15 Preparing for Command of USS Alexander Hamilton 200
16 Command of USS Alexander Hamilton 209
17 Duty with Comsublant Staff 239
18 Comsubflot 8 244
19 The Pentagon and Retirement 255
Appendix USS Seadragon Sailing List 259
Index 261
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 6, 2009

    Great Book

    I knew Dan Summitt personally and this book tells it all!! I heard many stories from him, including some of the ones in this book! Once again, this is a great book and Summitt was a great man! May he rest in peace!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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