Tales of a Cold War Submariner

Tales of a Cold War Submariner

by Dan Summitt
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Texas A&M University Press

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Tales of a Cold War Submariner

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, Summitt then took command of the USS Alexander Hamilton, one of forty-one Polaris-class submarines in the U.S. fleet. A submarine of this class was 425 feet long and carried sixteen Polaris missiles, each thirty-five feet tall and weighing thirty-five thousand 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 that prevented the snorkel's head valve from shutting properly, 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781585443604
Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
Publication date: 09/28/2004
Series: Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series , #95
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.36(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.05(d)

Table of Contents

1How It All Started3
2My Destroyer Days11
3My Early Submarine Days45
4Annapolis and West Point74
5Back to Sea Duty86
6Nuclear Power Training90
7Duty aboard Sargo96
8Prospective Commanding Officer Training at Naval Reactors107
9Seadragon Operations112
10Off to the Arctic132
11Seadragon and Skate Conduct Joint Operations146
12Heading Home162
13Final Days aboard Seadragon178
14Working at Naval Reactors186
15Preparing for Command of USS Alexander Hamilton200
16Command of USS Alexander Hamilton209
17Duty with Comsublant Staff239
18Comsubflot 8244
19The Pentagon and Retirement255
AppendixUSS Seadragon Sailing List259

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