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12237Re: [coldwarcomms] Re: Triton's Presidential Suite

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  • hooligan@aol.com
    Aug 31, 2007
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      I think it's a litte presumptuous to refer to the TRITON's special
      compartments as a Presidential Suite. Over the past 10 years I've been in contact
      with a handful of former TRITON submariners from a variety of billets & tour
      dates & their response to wether or not the TRITON was a National Emergency
      Command Post Submarine run the gamut from no to maybe to no-comment. But what
      is known is that during at least one era she did have special command
      compartments & berths, and she did operate in conjunction at times with the National
      Emergency Command Post Afloat.

      Below is my copyrighted work on the TRITON that appeared on my NECPA web

      In the early 1960s, it was proposed that the USS TRITON, SSRN-586, become a
      National Emergency Command Post Submarine. The TRITON had been built
      specifically as a RADAR picket platform, commissioned on 10 November 1959. Her
      mission was to deploy in advance of Atlantic Fleet battle groups and and covertly
      detect other surface vessels in the area. Unfortunately, by the time the
      TRITON was placed into service, shore and carrier-based maritime patrol and
      airborne early warning aircraft were successfully handling the mission TRITON was
      outfitted for. At the time, the TRITON was one of the largest submarines in
      the Navy, as well as one of the fastest -- during one exercise when she was
      to rendezvous with the Northampton, the Nort'n crew was amazed to see the
      Triton (at periscope depth, with periscope extended) pass the Nort'n as if she
      were standing still. The Northampton was doing 33 knots at the time. In 1960
      TRITON was the first submarine to circumnavigate the globe while submerged --
      it took 82 days. In the Spring of 1962, she underwent conversion to Attack
      Submarine at Portsmouth Naval Ship Yard, New Hampshire. Upon completion her
      home port was changed from Naval Submarine Base New London CT to Naval Base
      Norfolk Virginia, and became the flagship for the Commander, Submarine Force
      Atlantic Fleet on 13 April 1964. Modifications for the flagship role included
      the enlargement of her Combat Information Center and enlarged berthing
      compartments for COMSUBLANT and staff. TRITON served as a COMSUBFORLANT flagship
      until being relieved by the USS RAY (SSN-653) on 1 June 1967. Shortly
      afterwards, her home port switched back to NSB New London. A planned overhaul in 1967
      was canceled, and in the Fall of 1968, she started the preservation and
      inactivation process. USS TRITON was decommissioned at Naval Submarine Base New
      London on 3 May, 1969. She was towed to Norfolk Naval Ship Yard where she
      sat for 24 years before finally being towed to Puget Sound Naval Ship Yard,
      Washington, for scrapping. The TRITON's special electronic support measures
      suite and enlarged operations compartment made her quite useful for classified
      intelligence gathering missions throughout the mid to late 1960s, for which
      she received both a Presidential Unit Citation and Navy Unit Commendation.
      The Triton was used in several exercises with the Northampton. TRITON would
      pick up important personnel in Chesapeake Bay and then submerge as deep a
      possible & quickly head out of the bay to rendezvous with the NORTHAMPTON and
      transfer the important personnel to the Nort'n via one of the NORTHAMPTON's
      utility boats. It remains unknown whether the TRITON's conversion to
      COMSUBLANT flagship might actually have been a plausible cover story for what in
      reality could have been conversion to National Emergency Command Post Submarine.
      It may or may not be a coincidence that the USS TRITON's skipper from 1958 -
      1961 was Edward L Beach, who served as a Naval Aide to President Eisenhower
      from 1953 - 1957, and was responsible for setting up many of the basic
      Presidential emergency relocation plans and procedures still in effect today.
      Educated speculation --which of course is still just speculation-- is that
      the use of a nuclear submarine as a wartime National Command Authority
      platform remains an extremely attractive and viable option, perhaps a
      highly-classified reality. The submarine could provide a long-term, highly survivable
      (due to mobility) shelter, and could communicate over a variety of circuits
      while maintaining depth via pre-deployed undersea communications nodes linked via
      cable to shore-based radio communications and command & control facilities.
      Copyright 1998, 2007, Tim Tyler, all rights reserved

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