Time spent: 84663 hours
Neptune papers III ; Naval nuclear accidentas at sea
In a further attempt to prove that there were large numbers of military personnel killed and
injured during the Cold War I add this.
This is a listing of accidents involving naval vessels, many with loss of life. I have tried to
limit it to US Navy, with a few notable exceptions involving Soviet vessels. You may note
the several incidents concerning nuclear powered ships and submarines, and nuclear weapons.
Also the original report made no mention of the USS Pueblo, USS Liberty, USS Stark and
USS Samuel B. Roberts
Pacific 02/18/46: A U.S. tank landing ship suffers an explosion of ammunition in Shanghai,
China, killing six and injuring 44.
Atlantic 04/17/46: The USS Wasp (CV-18) runs aground off New Jersey.
Pacific 04/04/46: USS Albermarle (CV-5) one sailor electrocuted.
Atlantic 05/01/46: The USS Solar (DE-221) is destroyed by an explosion while unloading
ammunition at Earle, New Jersey killing 165, injuring 65
Atlantic 05/14/46: The USS Franklin (CV-13) leaks carbon dioxide fumes while at the Brooklyn
Naval Shipyard, New York, killing two.
Atlantic 05/30/46: The flagship USS Estes (AGC-12) is slightly damaged after a collision with
the USS Los Angeles (CA-135), off Shanghai,China.
Atlantic 11/06/46: A U.S. Navy launch hits a buoy and capsizes in Portland harbor,U.K.
Pacific 11/15/46: The USS Frank Knox (DD-742) and USS Higbee (DD-806) are damaged
after colliding off Oahu, Hawaii.
Pacific 11/20/46: The USS Antietam (CV-36) suffers an explosion at the HuntersPoint Navy
Yard in San Francisco, killing one and injuring 34.
Atlantic 12/13/46: The USS Missouri (BB-63) is hit by a star shell during target practice in the
Antarctica 12/30/46 Navy PBM-5 crashed killing 3.
Atlantic 04/04/47: The USS Ernest G. Small (DD-838) runs aground off Block Island, Rhode
Atlantic 05/27/47: The USS Johnston (DD-821) and the USS Torsk (SS-423) aredamaged in
a collision off New London, Connecticut.
Atlantic 06/12/47: The USS Valley Forge (CV-45) suffers an explosion at the Philadelphia
Naval Base, injuring 17.
Atlantic 09/29/47: The USS Douglas H. Fox (DD-779) hits a mine in the AdriaticSea 18 miles
from Trieste, Italy, killing three.
Pacific 11/24/47: The U.S. Army transport Clarksdale Victory is wrecked off Hippa Island near
British Columbia, Canada.
Atlantic 02/18/48: A USS Midway (CV-41) launch capsizes off Hyeres, France, killing eight.
Pacific 03/02/48: The USS Duncan (DD-874) is damaged by an explosion in the Pacific, killing
Atlantic 06/01/48: A U.S. Navy launch nearing an aircraft carrier sinks in heavy seas off
Norfolk, Virginia, drowning 30.
Atlantic 07/13/48: The USS Portsmouth (CL-102) runs its prow into a mudbank inthe St.
Lawrence River but is subsequently refloated.
Atlantic 09/04/48: The U.S. minesweeper No. 46 runs aground off Pigeon Island Light, Lake
Ontario, New York.
Pacific 11/25/48: The USS Chandler (DMS-9) and the USS Ozbourn (DD-846) collide in the
Pacific 02/28/49: The USS Taussig (DD-746) and USS Marsh (DE-699) are damaged in a
collision during maneuvers in the Pacific.
Pacific 03/23/49: The USS Perch (SS-313) and the USS Orleck (DD-886) are damaged in a
collision during maneuvers off San Diego, California.
Pacific 04/15/49: A gun accidently explodes aboard the USS Hollister (DD-788)during
maneuvers near Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, killing four.
Pacific 04/23/49: The USS Fechteler (DD-870) and USS Leonard Mason (DD-852) are
damaged in a collision off Oahu, Hawaii, injuring two.
Atlantic 08/02/49: The USS Livermore (DD-429) runs aground at Bearse Shoal offCape Cod,
Arctic 08/26/49: The USS Cochino (SS-345) explodes and sinks in Arctic seas off Norway,
drowning six Navy rescuers and a Cochino technician. Rescuers were from
USS Tusk (SS-426 On 21 September the Soviet
publication Red Fleet alleges the Cochino was sunk off Murmansk while scouting outmilitary
Pacific 10/09/49: The USS Chehalis (AOG-48) sinks after an explosion and fire in Tutuila,
American Samoa 6 killed.
Atlantic 11/09/49: The USS Tusk (SS-426) is rammed while submerged by the USS
Aldebaran (AF-10) 175 miles off Labrador, Newfoundland, Canada. The submarine suffers
damage to its periscope and superstructure.
Pacific 03/18/50: The net-laying ship USS Elder (AN-20) is damaged by an explosion off
Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.
Atlantic 05/17/50: The USS General M.B. Stewart (AP-140) collides with a buoy in Port Said
Harbor, Egypt, damaging the ship's propeller.
Atlantic 07/18/50: The USS Missouri (BB-63) runs aground in Chesapeake Bay, suffering light
damage. On 19 July, the Soviet publication RedFleet ridicules the grounding of the Missouri.
Pacific 07/25/50: The USS Benevolence (AH-13) collides with SS Mary Luckenbach while on
a trial run after being taken out of mothballs forservice in the Korean War. The Benevolence
sinks outside San Francisco Bay, California, killing 18.
Atlantic 11/09/50: The USS Brownson (DD-868) and USS Charles H. Roan (DD-853) collide
in the Atlantic during nighttime fleet maneuvers, killing four.
Pacific 11/11/50: The USS Buck (DD-761) and USS Thomason (DE-203) are damaged in a
collision in the Korean Bay.
05/16/51: The small seaplane tender USS Valcour (AVP-55) is set afirein a collision with a
collier. The fire threatens the ship`s magazine 36 killed.
05/18/51: The USS Bairoko (CVE-115) suffers a blast, killing five.
Atlantic 05/23/51: A stray U.S. Navy torpedo sinks a fishing boat in Narragansett Bay, Rhode
Atlantic 05/24/51: A U.S. Navy liberty launch capsizes at Newport, Rhode Island, killing 19.
Atlantic 08/23/51: The USS Wisconsin (BB-64) is freed after grounding on mud flats in New
09/16/51 USS Essex (CV-9) a U.S. Navy F2H Banshee crashes through safety barrier fire and
explosion 7 killed.
Pacific 12/02/51: A converted U.S. Navy landing craft sinks off San Diego, California, killing
Atlantic 01/19/52: The Royal Navy destroyer HMS Chivalrous is in a collision near Malta.
Korea 02/03/52: A landing craft from LST-561 founders killing 10 including 1 ROK officer and
2 Royal Marines.
Korea 02/09/52 USS Saint Paul (CA-73) blast in forward turret 30 killed.
03/28/52: The USS Mount Baker (AE-4) collides with a South Korean freighter, killing 24
Atlantic 04/26/52: The destroyer minesweeper USS Hobson (DMS-26) sinks after colliding
with the USS Wasp (CV-18) in the mid-Atlantic, killing 176 aboard the Hobson. The ships
were part of a task force headed for the Mediterranean to join the SixthFleet. The collision
occurred when the Wasp turned into thewind to receive aircraft.
Pacific 04/26/52: The USS St. Paul (CA-73) suffers a powder blast in a gun turret while
operating off Korea, killing 30.
Atlantic 05/08/52: The Royal Navy destroyer HMS Tenacious is grounded in the River Foyle,
07/08/52 Philippines: A U.S. Navy Mariner PBM crashed into Bataan Mountain 13 killed.
Pacific 06/08/52: The USS Boxer (CV-21) suffers an explosion and fire off Korea, killing nine.
Japan 08/08/52: A U.S. Navy Mariner PBM crashed on Shikoku Island 14 killed.
Pacific 08/14/52: The USS Gregory (DD-802) and USS Marshall (DD-676) are slightly
damaged after colliding off San Diego, California.
Korea 11/09/52: 6 F9F-4s crash into South Korean mountain while following lead aircraft which
developed navigational instrument failure all 6 pilots killed.
Atlantic 10/24/52: The USS Tigrone (SS-419) suffers a fire at the Philadelphia naval base,
injuring two civilians.
Atlantic 11/12/52: The high speed transport USS Ruchamkin (APD-89) is rammed bya tanker
60 miles east of Cape Henry, Virginia, during maneuvers, killing five soldiers. The tanker
captain denies he knew maneuvers were being conducted in the area.
Atlantic 11/16/52: The USS Picking (DD-685) and USS Porter (DD-800) are slightly damaged
after colliding in dense fog off Virginia.
Atlantic 11/23/52: The USS Wiseman (DE-667) strikes a submerged rock in Korean waters,
causing damage to her sonar and hull. It proceeds to Sasebo, Japan, for repairs.
Japan 11/30/52: USS Ashtabula (AO-51) suffered gasoline explosion in Sasebo 1 missing, 3 injured.
Pacific 12/11/52: The USS Sitkoh Bay (CVE-86) collides with a freighter in thePacific, but
none are hurt.
Sea of Japan 12/29/52: A U.S. Navy PBM-5 crashed killing 10
01/13/53: The minesweeper USS Condor (AMS-5) is heavily damaged by fire.
Pacific 02/19/53: The USS Prichett (DD-561) and USS Cushing (DD-797) collide while
operating off the coast of Korea. Both ships require dry docking in Sasebo, Japan.
Pacific 03/06/53: A bomb dislodged from a plane landing after a combat mission over Korea
bounces twice across the deck of the USS Oriskany (CV-34) and explodes, killing two and
Atlantic 04/28/53: The USS Bennington (CV-20) suffers an explosion off Cuba, killing 11.
Atlantic 05/13/53: The USS Wright (CVL-49) is hit by a target drone off Key West, Florida,
Atlantic 08/01/53: In August the USS Harder (SS-568) is towed across the Atlantic to New
London, Connecticut, by the USS Tringa (ASR-16) afterbreaking down off the east coast of
Atlantic 10/16/53: The USS Leyte (CV-32) is badly damaged by an explosion and subsequent
fire caused by the accidental ignition of hydraulic fluid on a catapult while moored at
Charlestown Naval Yard, Boston, killing 36. The fire takes five hours to extinguish.
Pacific 01/21/54: A U.S. troopship rams a U.S. Navy landing craft off Inchon, South Korea,
drowning 28 Marines.
Atlantic 03/17/54: A U.S. Navy tank landing ship runs aground at Eleuthera Island,Bahamas.
Atlantic 05/26/54: The USS Bennington (CV-20) is damaged by an explosion and fire off
Newport, Rhode Island, killing 103 and injuring 201.
Atlantic 09/16/54: Several weeks before its first sea trials, a small steam pipe inthe reactor
compartment of the USS Nautilus (SSN-571) bursts, filling the area with steam during a test
of the steam systemwhile the ship is at the Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton,Connecticut. The
test is part of a quality control effort to check the adequacy of the shipyard's inspection
system. The incident initially appears to be minor. There are slight personnelinjuries and no
radiation hazards. However, subsequentinvestigation shows the situation is more serious.
Specifications called for seamless pipe, but ordinary stanchion pipe had been used. All
suspect pipe is ripped out and the mistake leads tomore stringent quality control measures.
10/08/54: The USS Laffey (DD-724) hits and sinks the distressed yachtAble Lady while
Atlantic 10/31/54: The USS Norris (DDE-859) rams the superstructure of the USS Bergall (SS-
320) during war games off Norfolk, Virginia. The Norris suffers flooding in five of its
compartments and the Bergall suffers damage to its superstructure. Both proceed to port for
Atlantic 01/04/55: The USS Monterey (CVL-26) is slightly damaged after colliding with a
freighter near the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Atlantic 01/07/55: Three U.S. Navy dock-landing craft capsize in heavy seas off Beaufort,
North Carolina. Faulty steering gear blamed.
Atlantic 01/12/55: The USS Power (DD-839) and USS Warrington (DD-843) collide during
night exercises off Puerto Rico.
Atlantic 01/14/55: The USS Tench (SS-417) is grounded off Cape Henry Lighthouse, Virginia.
Antarctica 1/22/55: USS Atka (AGB-3) helicopter crash kills 1.
Pacific 02/21/55: The USS Pomodon (SS-486) is damaged by an explosion and fire caused by
excess hydrogen formation during battery charging inthe San Francisco Naval Yard,
California, killing five.
Pacific 03/11/55: A U.S. Navy tank landing ship rams a trawler in Puget Sound, Washington,
Atlantic 03/18/55: The USS Cassin Young (DD-793) is driven aground by high winds at Fall
Atlantic 03/18/55: The USS General R.E. Callan (AP-139) runs aground at Red Hook Flats,
New York Harbor. News reports are censored for 24 hours.
Atlantic 10/19/55: The USS Wisconsin (BB-64) is grounded for one hour in the East River,
New York Harbor.
Atlantic 10/31/55: The USS English (DD-696) and the USS Wallace L. Lind (DD-703) collide
in heavy seas during antisubmarine exercises off Norfolk, Virginia. The English has 31 feet of
its bow bent and broken off and the Lind suffers an eight-foot hole.Both head for Norfolk
Pacific 11/11/55: The USS Boyd (DD-544) is towed to port after striking a Japanese freighter
off San Diego, California.
Pacific 11/12/55: A U.S. Navy plane crashes into the USS Hopewell (DD-681) during
maneuvers off San Diego, California, killing three fliers and two sailors.
Atlantic 11/14/55: The radar ship USS Searcher (AGR-4) is damaged by explosions and fire
off Cape May, New Jersey, killing three, injuring 2.
Atlantic 11/22/55: Heavy winds damage six U.S. Navy destroyers moored at Newport, Rhode
Atlantic 11/23/55: Six sailors are killed as a result of a jet landing mishap on the deck of the
USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) in the Mediterranean Sea.
Atlantic 01/06/56: The USS Basilone (DD-824) runs aground near Hampton Roads, Virginia, 1 killed
Atlantic 01/20/56: The USS James V. Forrestal (CVA-59) collides with the USS Pinnacle
(MSO-462) at Norfolk, Virginia, slightly damaging the Pinnacle.
Pacific 03/11/56: The USS Columbus (CA-74) and USS Floyd B. Parks (DD-884)are
damaged after colliding off Luzon, Philippines 2 killed, 4 injured.
Atlantic 03/18/56: Fifteen ships of a U.S. destroyer fleet break their moorings during a storm
off Newport, Rhode Island.
Atlantic 03/18/56: The USS Willis A. Lee (DL-4) runs aground off Jamestown, Rhode Island.
Narraganset Bay 03/17/56: Three sailors found dead of exposure in a whale boat.
South Carolina 04/08/56: During night march at Parris Island strong tidal current in Ribbon Creek
swept over Marine Platoon 71, 6 drowned.
Atlantic 04/22/56: The USS Nautilus (SSN-571) is snared in the nets of a fishing vessel off the
New Jersey coast 140 miles southeast of New York, while running at a depth of 150 feet. The
submarine nearly drags the vessel under water, but the Nautilus is unaware of the mishap,
does not surface, and continues to Groton, Connecticut. The estimated damage is $1,300 to
Indian 04/26/56: The USS Remey (DD-688) runs aground in the Persian Gulf.
Atlantic 04/28/56: The USS Nautilus (SSN-571) suffers a fire caused by a welder's torch,
while berthed at New London, Connecticut, during repair of damage caused by snaring of a
fishing net on 22 April. The blaze ignites cork insulation and burns paint from the hull. The
Navy reports that damage from the fire, the third to break out on the Nautilus, is slight.
Atlantic 05/07/56: The USS Eaton (DD-510) and USS Wisconsin (BB-64) are badly damaged
after a collision in fog off Virginia. Commander Varley of the Eaton is later court-martialed and
Pacific 08/04/56: The USS Windham Bay (CVE-92) is heavily damaged by fire while in
Atlantic 08/19/56: The experimental sodium-cooled nuclear reactor of the USS Seawolf (SSN-
575) suffers a failure in the steam plant during a full power test run while the new ship is at
Groton, Connecticut.A leak of sodium-potassium alloy being used as the third fluidin the
steam generator aggravates stress corrosion in the system, causing two cracks in steam
piping and a leak in a superheater. Makeshift repairs permit the Seawolf to complete its initial
sea trials on reduced power in February 1957.Due to the difficulties of running a sodium cooled
reactor, the Navy decides to replace the Seawolf's sodium-cooled reactor with a water cooled
reactor, and use only water-cooled designs in the future.
09/29/56: A shell explodes aboard the USS Buck (DD-761), killing one, injuring 9.
Atlantic 10/15/56: During the height of the Suez crisis the USS Nautilus (SSN-571)
accidentally fires two dummy practice torpedoes at a British merchantman during naval
maneuvers in European waters. The Nautilus mistakes the ship for an aircraftcarrier on its
Atlantic 10/23/56: The USS Antietam (CVS-36) is grounded for six hours off Brest, France.
Mediterranean 11/01/56: USS John R. Pierce (DD-753) aircraft gun explosion 2 killed, 11 injured.
Atlantic 03/07/57: The USS Mission San Francisco (AO-123) suffers explosions and fires
when it collides with the Liberian freighter Elna IIin the Delaware River near New Castle,
Delaware, killing ten.
Pacific 05/15/57: A U.S. Navy A3D Skywarrior aircraft crashes while landing on the USS Bon
Homme Richard (CVA-31) off San Diego, California, killing three.
Atlantic 05/15/57: The USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) reportedly hits a submerged
object off Florida. The object is not thought to be a submarine. The Navy later denies that the
carrier had hit an object, claiming instead that a propeller had broken.
Atlantic 05/20/57: The USS Antietam (CVS-36) crashes into a river wharf in NewOrleans,
Louisiana. The wharf is heavily damaged, while damageto the carrier is light.
Atlantic 05/21/57: A U.S. Navy experimental X-1 submarine is damaged by a blast atthe
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. There are no injuries.
Pacific 06/08/57: Eleven depth charges explode prematurely off the stern of the USS
Whitehurst (DE-634) 18 miles off Pearl Harbor, endangeringthe lives of a Hollywood movie
cast on board to shoot a movie scene.
Atlantic 06/19/57: A high-pressure steam line explodes aboard the USS Franklin D.Roosevelt
(CVA-42) off Jacksonville, Florida, killing two and injuring five.
Atlantic 07/18/57: A TNT device aboard the USS Somersworth (PCER-849) explodesoff
Montauk Point, New York, killing three.
Atlantic 07/27/57: The USS Mauna Loa (AE-8) suffers a fire off New York. The fire is
extinguished before it reaches the ship's 3,500-ton cargoof explosives.
Atlantic 08/07/57: The USS Cobbler (SS-344) and USS Tusk (SS-426) are slightly damaged
after an underwater collision during maneuvers off New Jersey.
Atlantic 08/19/57: The USS Wisconsin (BB-64) scrapes its bottom near a sea buoyoff Cape
Henry, Virginia, during a storm.
Pacific 08/25/57: The USS Lenawee (APA-195) and USS Wantuck (APD-125) collide in the
Pacific, killing one.
Arctic 09/01/57: In the first few days of September, the USS Nautilus (SSN-571) suffers
damage to two periscopes while rising under ice conditions during an exploratory trip under
the Arctic icepack. TheNautilus returns from under the icepack to the open seato perform
repairs on the surface. It takes 12 hours in rough seas, freezing temperatures, and gale winds
to fix one periscope.The other is damaged beyond repair.
Atlantic 09/12/57: The USS Wasp (CVS-18) suffers a second fire while in drydockin Boston,
Massachusetts, causing minor damage.
Atlantic 09/26/57: A U.S. Navy A3D Skywarrior crashes while attempting to land on the USS
Forrestal (CVA-59) during NATO exercises in the Norwegian Sea.
Atlantic 09/29/57: The USS Purdy (DD-734) and the British trawler British Columbia collide off
The Netherlands, sinking the trawler. A small hole is punched in the Purdy's hull above the
Pacific 10/09/57: The USS Mission San Miguel (AO-129) runs aground on a reef in the mid-
10/23/57: The USS Forrestal (CVA-59) is slightly damaged after a collision with an oiler at
Atlantic 11/16/57: The Washington Post reports that the reactor compartment of the USS
Nautilus (SSN-571) flooded several days ago aftera small leak developed while the
submarine was in port in Connecticut. The leak was due to the malfunctioning of a valve,and
according to the Navy caused no radioactive contamination ordamage to the power plant.
Atlantic 12/12/57: The USS Manley (DD-940) is badly damaged in heavy seas in the eastern
Pacific 01/10/58: A plane catapult explodes aboard the USS Kearsage (CVA-33) off
Yokosuka, Japan, killing three.
01/18/58: The USS Essex (CVA-9) is damaged by fire at sea.
01/31/58: A bomber explodes on the flight deck of the USS Hancock (CVA-19), killing two.
02/12/58: A rocket propelled antisubmarine weapon backfires aboard the USSEaton (DD-
510), killing one.
Pacific 02/16/58: The fuel supply submarine USS Guavina (ASSO-362) runs aground in high
winds and foul weather after dragging its anchor in San Salvador, El Salvador.
Atlantic 02/27/58: The USS Tripoli (CVU-64) is towed to Bremerhaven, West Germany, after
running aground in the Weser estuary.
Atlantic 04/01/58: The USS Corregidor (CVU-58) cracks its hull in a storm off the Azores.
04/24/58: The USS Yarnall (DD-541) is damaged by a dummy torpedo firedby a submarine
Atlantic 04/25/58: The USS Nautilus (SSN-571) springs a small saltwater leak inone of the
steam condensers shortly after leaving Groton, Connecticut, as the submarine heads south
toward the Panama Canal totransit to the Pacific for its expedition to the North Pole.After
passing through the Canal and experiencing a fire (5/4/58), the Nautilus puts into Mare Island
Naval Shipyard, near San Francisco, California, for repairs. The source of the leak cannot be
pinpointed, however, and the ship proceeds to Seattle,Washington. During the trip to Seattle,
the captain decides touse the same type of additive that is sold for leaky car radiators to try to
repair the leak in the condenser. Upon arriving inSeattle in late May or early June, 140 quarts
are purchasedand half are poured into the cooling system. The reactor plantis started and the
Pacific 05/04/58: The USS Nautilus (SSN-571) suffers a fire in the insulationaround one of its
turbines as the ship is running submerged in the Pacific shortly after leaving Panama on its
way to its Arcticmission. The insulation had become oil-soaked during thesubmarine's three
years of operation and had caught fire. The fire is put out with minor injuries, but the
submarine must surface to ventilate. .
Pacific 05/28/58: The USS Stickleback (SS-415) sinks after being rammed by theUSS
Silverstein (DE-534) off Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. There are no casualties. The submarine had
lost power and drifted intothe Silverstein's path.
Pacific 07/03/58: The USS Chemung (AO-30) runs aground 500 yards off AlcatrazIsland in
San Francisco Bay, California, during a naval procession.
Indian 07/06/58: The USS Caney (AO-95) loses power during a monsoon in the Arabian Sea,
and is in danger for several days until it can be towed by U.S. ships.
Atlantic 07/08/58: A U.S. Navy barge used for research in underwater explosions suffers an
explosion and flash fire while in port at Norfolk, Virginia.
Atlantic 07/19/58: The USS Piper (SS-409) runs aground on a sandbar off Provincetown,
Massachusetts, but is pulled free after seven hours withminor damage.
Pacific 07/23/58: A fuel tank accidentally falls from a FJ4B Fury fighter being launched from
the USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) while operating offCalifornia, killing two.
Atlantic 07/24/58: The USS Skate (SSN-578) suffers damage to its propeller whenit collides
with the USS Fulton (AS-11) while the tender ismoored to a pier in New London, Connecticut.
Pacific 08/22/58: The USS Prestige (MSO-465) sinks after running aground off Shikoku,
Atlantic 10/14/58: An explosion floods the engineering room of the USS Saratoga(CVA-60) at
Atlantic 10/21/58: The USS Rich (DD-820), USS Moale (DD-693), USS Ellyson (DD-454), and
the destroyer USS Sumner are damaged in a severe storm off North Carolina.
Atlantic 10/23/58: The USS Lindenwald (LSD-6) is disabled off Greenland when the steering
Atlantic 11/05/58: The USS Growler (SSG-577) springs a leak during a deep-sea dive but
surfaces without damage off the Isle of Shoals, southeast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
The Growler, designed for launching the Regulus II sea-to-landmissile, was several hundred
feet below the surface when the leak developed in an improperly adjusted sonar compartment
fittingfor an electrical cable.
Pacific 11/10/58: The USS Ranger (CVA-61) suffers an explosion in the magazinearea seven
decks below the waterline while off San Francisco, California, killing two. A careless act by
two crewmen trying toobtain gunpowder from the magazine to fuel a minature ram jetengine
they had built caused the explosion. The Navy said the two men were known rocket
enthusiasts and were not authorized tobe in the magazine area at the time of the explosion.
The 'relatively minor' damage takes about amonth to repair due to the location of the accident.
Atlantic 01/11/59: The USS Valley Forge (CVS-45) is damaged in a storm off North Carolina.
Atlantic 01/28/59: The port propeller of the USS Skate (SSN-578) is damaged ina collision
with the USS Cubera (SS-347). The accident occurs during routine operations off the U.S.
east coastjust after the Cubera delivered mail to the Skate and moved away. The Navy says
nobody was hurt.
Atlantic 03/02/59: A depth charge explodes aboard the USS Conway (DD-507) in the Atlantic,
Atlantic 03/05/59: The USS Kenneth D. Bailey (DDR-713) and the USS Haiti Victory (T-AK-
238) collide in the Strait of Gibraltar, killing one.
Atlantic 04/07/59: The USS Triton (SSN-586) suffers a galley fire caused by testing of a deepfat
fryer, while in New London, Connecticut. According to the Navy, the fire spread from the
galley into the ventilation lines of the crew's mess. But quick action by crewmembers 'resulted
in the saving of the ship's equipment and possible loss of life.'
Pacific 04/09/59: The U.S. Navy announces the USS Raton (SSR-270) and the USSGeorge
K. Mackenzie (DD-836) recently collided during maneuvers in the western Pacific.
Atlantic 05/01/59: The USS Randolph (CVA-15) suffers a flash electrical explosion at the
Norfolk Naval Base, Virginia, killing one.
Atlantic 05/28/59: A U.S. Navy FJ Fury jet crashes aboard the USS Essex (CVA-9) east of
Jacksonville, Florida, causing explosions and fire, killing two, and injuring 21.
Atlantic 06/30/59: The starboard rudder guard of the USS Macon (CA-132) is scraped off in
the Welland Canal (connecting Lake Erie to Lake Ontario), delaying shipping for 17 hours.
Atlantic 07/11/59: The USS Gearing (DD-710) is damaged after colliding with a freighter in
Atlantic 07/31/59: The USS Upshur (AP-198) is heavily damaged by fire at the Brooklyn Army
Terminal, New York.
Atlantic 08/15/59: The U.S. Navy discloses that a ruptured water pipe aboard the USS
Nautilus (SSN-571) partly flooded a compartment while theship was submerged off
Newfoundland four months ago. No injuries resulted.
Atlantic 08/18/59: The USS Wasp (CVS-18) is heavily damaged by an explosion
andsubsequent fires when a helicopter engine explodes while beingtested in hangar bay
Number 1 as the ship is operating 250 mileseast of Norfolk, Virginia. The fires and reflashes
takeover two hours to control. The ship was carrying nuclear weapons. In the first 30 minutes
as the fires burned out of control and the forward magazines were flooded, preliminary
preparationsalso were made to flood the nuclear weapon magazine.It was not flooded,
however, and 30 minutes later the nuclear weapon magazine reported no significant rise in
temperature. Butwater from the fire-fighting efforts eventually leaked into thenuclear weapon
magazine aroundelectrical cables.
Atlantic 08/25/59: A U.S. Navy F8U Crusader jet crashes into the rear of the USS
Independence (CVA-62) off Norfolk, Virginia, killing one man and causing a fire.
Atlantic 08/29/59: The USS Decatur (DD-936) suffers an engine room fire while docked in
Naples, Italy. The fire is extinguished after two hours during which the ammunition stores are
flooded as a precautionary measure.
Atlantic 09/29/59: The USS Bristol (DD-857) collides with the Italian merchantvessel Italia
Fassio in fog in the Nantucket Shoals area offMassachusetts. The Bristol is slightly damaged.
Atlantic 10/04/59: The USS Tench (SS-417) runs aground on a mudbank in Portsmouth, U.K.
The submarine is lifted off the mudbank without damage.
Atlantic 10/04/59: The USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) collides with the USSPawcatuck
(AO-108) during refueling off Virginia. Both vessels are slightly damaged.
Atlantic 10/05/59: The USS Seadragon (SSN-584) on the surface at night during its sea trials
collides with a whale, or possibly a large shark,off Portsmouth, New Hampshire, bending one
of its propellers.The submarine proceeds to Portsmouth for repairs on its own power using its
Atlantic 10/15/59: 'Apparently intentional' damage to electrical cables of the USSNautilus
(SSN-571) is discovered during overhaul at the naval shipyard in Portsmouth, New
Hampshire. The Navy says the damage appears to confined to the electrical system and
'does notextend to the nuclear reactor plant.' The Navy disclosure of the incident follows an
article in the Portsmouth Herald which reports a series of incidents involving 'sabotage-type'
damage to the craft including fires, cut cables, brokenpipes, and other damage to vital parts.
Atlantic 11/04/59: The USS Willis A. Lee (DL-4) suffers a fire after an explosion of an antiaircraft
round during exercises off Newport, RhodeIsland.
Indian 11/06/59: The USS Threadfin (SS-410) is rammed by the Greek freighterNikolas
Mikhalos at the entrance to the Suez Canal as both ships are exiting to the Red Sea.
Pacific 11/09/59: A fire is discovered in the pump room of the USS Midway (CVA-41) at the
Subic Bay Navy Base, Philippines
"And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades."
-- Robert M. Gates, 1996