The Russian Navy's sad loss of the submarine Kursk last summer - and this nation's own tragic loss of Thresher, Scorpion, and all those submarines lost during our World Wars - touch all submariners, divers, and salvage experts everywhere. The recent Kursk tragedy reminded us all once again of the dangers of underwater work, and the importance of understanding the history of undersea rescue.
For the United States that history began on May 23, 1939 when the engine compartment of the USS Squalus flooded during one of its test dives and plunged the submarine and its crew to the sea floor. Capturing the hearts and souls of the country, and riveting our attention to it, this catastrophe rushed a rescue and salvage operation by the U.S. Navy diving fleet. Only through the courageous efforts of a team of well-trained divers - and the foresight of a few individuals -the surviving crew and their boat was brought up to serve again.
On March 27-29, 2001 at the U.S. Naval Academy, the Office of Naval Research and the Academy will sponsor a symposium on submarine rescue and diving innovations, and special warfare under the sea -- past, present and future. The public is invited to attend. With special guests that many will recognize - Peter Maas, Scott Carpenter, Charles Momsen Jr., Don Walsh, Brad Mooney, Carl Brashear, and survivors of the Squalus - the public is invited to a rare three-day event that offers an extraordinary opportunity to hear historians and modern naval experts from around the world discuss some of the most daring and dangerous missions of the last century, the Naval research which led to this new technology, as well as look at the future of undersea technologies.
For more information on the symposium, including a detailed schedule of events, visit http://www.usna.edu/NAOE/symposium. During the event, the salvage ship USS Grasp will be tied to the Academy seawall and open to the public, and Navy Seal diving and rescue demonstrations will be performed at scheduled times. Other events and displays will also be featured.