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Two Elements That Confirm a THRESHER Cover-Up Occurred



The THRESHER Court of Inquiry (COI) dismissed a THRESHER message that confirmed THRESHER's depth was 2200-feet at 0917R on 10 April, about 90 seconds before collapse.


The COI confirmed THRESHER sent three messages related to depth to her escort ship, the USS SKYLARK (ASR-20) via "underwater telephone" (UQC) between 0752R and 0917R.

At 0752R, THRESHER advised SKYLARK that her depth was 400-feet.

At 0754R, THRESHER further advised SKYLARK that - for security reasons - all future references to depth would be relative to test-depth: 1300-feet.

At 0917, THRESHER sent a message that included the number 900. If the number 900 had referred to THRESHER's depth above 1300-feet, the number transmitted would have been 400. The number 900 therefore referred to THRESHER's depth below test-depth or 2200-feet (1300+900) at 09i7R.

The writer, the only person living or now dead, to have analyzed SOSUS detections of the loss of THRESHER, identified
detections of two transient acoustic signals that represented the7th and 8th harmonics (multiples) of a 3.4 Hz fundamental.

These sources were detected coincident with detection of the THRESHER collapse (implosion) sIgnal but their source could not be identified until 2008 when the writer's analysis of acoustic detections of the loss of SCORPION provided information on the use of the frequency of bubble-pulse energy to determine the depth of a collapse event if the displacement of the collapsing structure is known. Use of that formula with the 3.4 Hz fundamental and the displacement of THRESHER provided a collapse depth of 2400-feet at 09:18:24R, 90 seconds after THRESHER had sent the message containing the number 900.

For clarification, a bubble-pulse frequency represents the number of times in the first second following the start of a collapse event
that the motion of the water-ram created by that collapse cycles from the compression phase to the expansion phase.

The COI dismissal of the THRESHER message that confirmed her depth at 0917R to have been 2200-feet was the first element of the cover-up.


A THRESHER Court of Inquiry (COI) demonstration in 1963 established conclusively that the Court's assessment that flooding at test-depth caused the loss of THRESHER was untenable. That assessment remains the official Navy position.


The COI concluded THRESHER was lost because flooding at test-depth caused a loss of propulsion and thus was the proximate cause of the disaster. Specifically, the COI assessed the flooding to have involved the breach of a pipe between two and five inches in diameter. That assessment remains the Navy's explanation for the loss of THRESHER.

The COI Finding of Fact (FoF) 153 provides compelling support for the conclusion there was no flooding before collapse of the pressure-hull at 09:18:24R. FoF 153 states (quote) That during the course of proceedings, a test demonstration for the Court was held in Drydock Dock Nr.. 2 at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. A stream of water was released to atmosphere at THRESHER's test-depth pressure (580 psi) against a piece of electronic equipment. The stream produced tremendous force, spray, fog, and noise. (end quote).

Those conditions would not have been reported by THRESHER to her escort ship, the USS SKYLARK as (quote) Experiencing minor difficulties. (end quote)

Russell Preble, CDR USN (ret), who was at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and who actually observed that test made the following statement: (quote) A memory that stands out in my mind was watching one of the Court of Inquiry's tests. An old SS radar console was placed on the floor of an empty dry dock and a high pressure stream of water was directed against the console. The noise was overwhelming. I remember thinking that nothing could be heard over the noise of the water smashing up against the radar casing and how at deep submergence no orders could be heard over the roar of the water striking anything in its way. (end quote) (Reference: "USS Thresher, Lest We Forget." Burke Consort, Inc 2013, p.5: file name: (ThresherBooklet_printv2.pdf)

The THRESHER COI must have known that the flooding they postulated to have been the cause of the loss of THRESHER would have made UQC communications with SKYLARK essentially impossible; however, those communications continued intermittently until 0917R, four minutes after THRESHER reported: "Experiencing minor difficulties." Also note that THRESHER never mentioned "flooding" to SKYLARK.

Thus the explanation postulated by the COI for the loss of THRESHER was - and remains today - untenable. That explanation was an element of the cover-up designed to obfuscate that THRESHER was lost because of the loss of nuclear propulsion capability at 0909.0R on 10 April 1963.