Submarines Before Nuclear Power: The Submarine Revolution 1945-1955


Father of the Nuclear Navy

Admiral Hyman G. Rickover is seated behind Senator Clinton P. Anderson, chairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, at the controls of USS Skipjack (SSN-585) shortly before her 1959 commissioning. Rickover made a practice of personally riding each nuclear-powered submarine during her trials, to underline publicly his confidence in the nuclear-powered submarine design principles he espoused: simplicity, reliability, and, above all, safety.

After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1922, Rickover went to sea for several years before earning a 1929 master's degree in electrical engineering from Columbia University. During World War II, he served effectively as head of the Bureau of Ships electrical section. Rickover became the driving force in the U.S. Navy's nuclear propulsion program, against sometimes strenuous opposition. He retired after 63 years of active duty in 1981 and died in 1986.

Courtesy U.S. Naval Institute





USS <i>Tiru</i> Guppy Submarine
First Nuclear Submarine, USS <i>Nautilus</i>
Father of the Nuclear Navy
The Snorkel

Back to: Homepage / Submarine & Cold War History / Submarines Before Nuclear Power / The Submarine Revolution

Copyright © 2000, The National Museum of American History