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

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9780451207777: Dark Waters:: An Insider's Account of the NR-1 The Cold War's Undercover Nuclear Sub

Operating alone and unarmed on the bottom of the sea, the U.S. Navy's smallest nuclear-powered submarine is one of its biggest weapons. Tied up at a pier, the boat with the bright orange sail looks absolutely minuscule, innocent and out of place beside its big brothers, the fleet's huge missile-carrying and attack submarines, but it can dive deeper, stay down for a month, and accomplish missions far beyond the capabilities of any of them. The ship has been cloaked in mystery. It wasn't commissioned or given a name, and even today it is hardly known beyond a select fraternity of sailors and scientists. They simply call it the NR-1.

The little submarine was born in controversy, served in secrecy, survived potential catastrophe on numerous occasions, and is still in operation almost forty years after being conceived. It was and remains the only one of its kind ever built.

The story of the NR-1 is told against the tense background of the Cold War and peopled with such rich characters as the acerbic Admiral Hyman Rickover, ocean scientist Robert Ballard (who found the Titanic), the designers and builders who faced almost impossible tasks to give life to the ship, the unique officers and sailors who took the little boat down into depths on covert missions, and the families who waited for them on shore, unaware that there would be no escape if the boat ran into trouble.

"Dark Waters: An Insider's Account of the NR-1, the Cold War's Undercover Nuclear Sub" is a thrill-a-minute book of submarine adventure, imminent danger, personal bravery, technological wonder and historic discovery. It will be a proud addition to the shelves of readers who love stories of the sea, history and intrigue.

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From the Inside Flap:

After nearly forty 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 twelve submariners chosen to embark on the first missions 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-diving 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 more than 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 equipped with a custom-built miniature nuclear reactor and designed to dive deeper than any other submarine, traversing the untouched ocean floor on Goodyear 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 the NR-1, would be the most closely guarded - and revolutionary - secret of the Cold War.

Through eyewitness 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 initial decade of operation to its still-active performance today as one of the oldest U.S. Navy nuclear-powered submarines 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 aspects as well; the rigorous mental and physical training, the clashes of personalities, the pride in 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.

About the Author:

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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