Dark Waters: An Insider's Account of the NR-1, the Cold War's Undercover Nuclear Sub

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New American Library, 2003 - History - 243 pages
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After nearly 40 years, the most closely guarded secret of the Cold War is revealed... The White House stated that it was officially created to explore "the diverse species of marine life." Only a select group of men knew the truth. Among them were the 12 submariners chosen to embark on the first mission of the NR-1-one of whom was Lee Vyborny. This is his story. In 1966, when the United States lost a hydrogen bomb off the coast of Spain, retrieving it took eighty days and at least three deep submersibles. The unacceptable length of time it took to avoid a near-disaster gave Admiral Hyman Rickover, the "father of the nuclear navy," an irrefutable reason to forge ahead on the development of the craft he'd been working on for over a year. One that could do the job again if needed-and much more. With every aspect of its conception and its abilities overseen, studied, and scrutinized by Rickover, his intensely personal project would be a 400-ton submarine with a custom-built miniature nuclear reactor designed to dive deeper than any other submarine, traversing the untouched ocean floor with Goodyear truck tires. Such depths would also mean that the crew would be cut off from all possible rescue should something go wrong. It was impossibly expensive, extraordinarily dangerous, and as a secret weapon, completely unarmed. For the American military, the state-of-the-art submersible, christened NR-1, would be the most closely guarded-and revolutionary-secret of the Cold War. Through first-person accounts from the engineers and the original crew-all of whom were trained to do everyone else's jobs-and from the NR-1's conception through its first decade of operation to its still-active performance today as the oldest U.S. Navy nuclear powered submarine still in service, Dark Waters lifts the cloud of mystery from one of America's best kept secrets with the full story told here for the first time. It recounts not only the incredible, classified missions of the men aboard the secret submarine, but the human aspect as well: the rigorous mental and physical training, the clashes of personalities, the pride and heart-stopping fear of pushing the technological envelope, and the thrill of going where no man had gone before-to pull off the impossible and beat the odds time and time again.

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About the author (2003)

Lee Vybornyhas been involved with the U.S. Navy submarine force for over 30 years, serving aboard a fast attack submarine and being chosen as one of the original 12 crew members on the NR-1. He was an instructor at the Nuclear Power Training Unit in Windsor, CT and a Navy diver. He later became a design and production engineer at the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics, and a program manager for the development and production of navigational equipment at Sperry Aerospace and Marine Systems. He is now retired.


Don Davishas written or cowritten eleven books. Three of his books have become New York Times bestsellers. He has been a news correspondent for more than 20 years and covered both national and international stories.

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