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History Live from Groton: Nautilus @ 60

In this file photo taken Jan. 21, 1954, the nuclear-powered submarine USS Nautilus (SSN 571) is in the Thames River shortly after a christening ceremony. A year later, shortly after the commissioning 60 years ago Sept. 30, 1954, the first commanding officer, Capt. Eugene Wilkerson, would announce "UNDERWAY ON NUCLEAR POWER." (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
In this file photo taken Jan. 21, 1954, the nuclear-powered submarine USS Nautilus (SSN 571) is in the Thames River shortly after a christening ceremony. A year later, a few weeks after the commissioning 60 years ago Sept. 30, 1954, the first commanding officer, Capt. Eugene Wilkerson, would announce “UNDERWAY ON NUCLEAR POWER.” (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

 

By David Werner, Naval History and Heritage Command Communication and Outreach

On Tuesday, Sept. 30, the U.S. Navy will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the commissioning of the world’s first nuclear powered warship, the attack submarine USS Nautilus (SSN 571).  Nautilus served for 25 years and racked up an impressive list of additional firsts including the first submarine to cross the North Pole.

The ship embodies the pioneering spirit of engineers, shipyard workers and Navy leaders who saw an opportunity to vastly improve the Navy’s operational readiness.  Any risks associated with designing, constructing and putting to sea such a ship were far outweighed by the benefits to our nation and its defense.

In that same bold spirit, Naval History and Heritage Command’s Communication and Outreach Division will attempt to pioneer – albeit on a much smaller scale – its first-ever live internet streaming of an event. We’re committed to the cause of sharing naval history – especially when space constraints on the pier limit the number of people who can join in person. There’s even a live chat function – so we won’t be running silent.

The event will be held pier side next to Nautilus at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton, Conn. at noon (Eastern Time) on Sept. 30. We’re excited and hopeful about the opportunity to bring this event live to the many dedicated Submariners who served onboard Nautilus as well as the devoted men and women who designed, built and maintained her.  But like the pioneers who took on the monumental design, engineering, construction and operational challenge of Nautilus, we recognize there is no reward without risk.

More than 300 people, including those who helped design, build and operate USS Nautilus are expected to attend the invitation-only event.  Anticipated guest speakers include Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy; Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, Adm. John M. Richardson; and Electric Boat Shipyard Vice President for Engineering and Design Programs, William Lennon. Plank Owners from the original 1954 Nautilus crew are also scheduled to attend.

We’re by no means pioneers in this technology or communication method, but it is another opportunity for us at NHHC to explore a different means of exporting our Navy’s and our nation’s history. We hope you’ll join us live – where we hope to proclaim on behalf of naval history: “Underway on Internet power.”