Click here to listen to "SEAWOLF" in .mp3 format by Tommy Cox
The USS SEAWOLF (SSN 575) was the finest ship to ever log it out underway on nuclear power. The keel of world's second nuclear powered submarine was laid September 15, 1953, at the General Dynamics Corporation's Electric Boat Division, Groton, Connecticut. Mrs. W. Sterling Cole christened the SEAWOLF at the launching ceremony on July 21, 1955 under the command of CDR Richard B. Laning, USN.
The atomic reactor powering the SEAWOLF differed from that of the NAUTILUS, it used liquid sodium instead of water as a moderator and cooling medium.
On September 26, 1957, SEAWOLF embarked President Dwight D. Eisenhower for a submerged run off Newport, Rhode Island. This was the first time the Commander and Chief was transported by nuclear propulsion. Additionally, while on a port visit in Provincetown, Massachusetts, SEAWOLF was the host to a December 8, 1957 NBC telecast of "Wide, Wide World."
During early 1958, SEAWOLF departed her home port in Groton for anti-submarine warfare exercises off the Florida coast. After successfully completing her training, she was diverted from her directed course to investigate the presence of a possible foreign submarine off our Atlantic coast - the first such operation by a nuclear submarine.
One of her proudest achievements occurred from August 7 - October 6, 1958, when the SEAWOLF remained submerged, totally independent of the earth's atmosphere for 60 days. This set a submerged operation endurance record. SEAWOLF received the Navy Unit Commendation Award and set the stage for today's extended submerged operations.
December 12, 1958 marked the day SEAWOLF moored at the Electric Boat Division to remove the sodium cooled reactor for conversion to the more reliable pressurized water cooled reactor that submarines use today. SEAWOLF had operated for 21 months, traveling 71,610 nautical miles. This included 240 days and 57,118 nautical miles of submerged steaming operations.
On August 28, 1960, SEAWOLF got underway from her builder's dock for sea trials and was re-commissioned on September 30, 1960.
On January 9, 1960, SEAWOLF sailed to San Juan, Puerto Rico for local operations. On the 25th, she was ordered to find and track the Portuguese Passenger Liner SANTA MARIA, which pirates had seized two days earlier. The submarine contacted the liner off the coast of Brazil on February 1st. After the SANTA MARIA surrendered, the SEAWOLF returned to San Juan and continued East Coast operations.
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