Wednesday, November 26, 2008

US Navy's NR-1 Deep Submarine Dives Into History

Pictured here is an undated port bow view of the nuclear-powered research submersible NR-1. (U.S. Navy photo.)

Focus on Defense:

GROTON, Conn., Nov. 26, 2008 -- The unique, compact undersea research and ocean engineering submarine NR-1 held its inactivation ceremony Nov. 21 at Naval Submarine Base New London.

NR-1 highlighted her career with multiple missions to search for artifacts, wrecks and mapping of the ocean floor. She had recovered weapons from the ocean floor in 1976, discovered three wrecks along the Mediterranean trade route at the Skerki Bank in 1995, surveyed the remains of the USS Monitor and USS Akron in 2002, and explored the Flower Garden Banks in the Gulf of Mexico in 2007. Her final mission in 2008 was a hunt for the wreck of the Bonhomme Richard, the flagship of naval hero John Paul Jones.

The keynote speaker, retired Adm. Edmund Giambastiani, was one of many former members in attendance. He was the officer-in-charge from May 1982 to April 1985. "NR-1 provided a tremendous scope for innovation and invention," said Giambastiani. "She truly was a window to the world under the sea."

NR-1's keel was laid June 10, 1967 and launched in 1969. It is 150-feet long and weighs 450 tons, with special features including retractable wheels, three viewing windows, low-light cameras and recovery systems with a manipulator arm.

"She is truly a testament to the foresight of her builders and designers," said Cmdr. John McGrath. "It's a bittersweet moment, but an honor to be the one to help say goodbye."

NR-1 will be towed to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine to start the inactivation process in December 2008. Following completion process at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the ship will then be transported to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

(Report by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steven Myers, Commander Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs.)

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