While reading the Summer 2006 issue of UNDERSEA WARFARE Magazine I noticed that USS Salt Lake City (SSN-716) was identified as the first – first flight 688-class submarine to surface through the Arctic Ice. While this is another stunning example of the versatility of our Submarine Force, it is incorrect. The USS Honolulu (SSN-718), commanded by Cmdr. Chuck Harris, was the first – first flight 688-class to surface through the Arctic Ice. Your magazine even did a story about the trip [“Heading North” UNDERSEA WARFARE Magazine, Summer 2004].
Senior Chief Petty Officer (SS) Dan Smith
Senior Chief Smith,
It is true that Honolulu was the first first-flight 688 to surface in the Arctic – however, the ice that she surfaced through is not considered significant. In “Heading North” Cmdr. Chuck Harris, – CO of Honolulu – repeatedly refers to the ice as “polynya” and “slush ice”.
According to Jeff Gossett, Technical Director, Arctic Submarine Laboratory, “Honolulu did surface in the Arctic, though not through any significant ice. At most, Honolulu surfaced through slush and ice of only a couple inches thickness. Because this ice was so insubstantial and posed no risk of damage to the submarine, this is not considered a “through-ice” surfacing.
USS Salt Lake City, on the other hand, surfaced through 1-2 feet of ice. This required extra effort to penetrate, did pose a slight risk of damage to the submarine, and was sufficiently thick for the crew to safely move about on the ice pack. As a result, Salt Lake City’s surfacing was
Does UNDERSEA WARFARE Magazine have a yearly photo contest?
Rick Cecchetti, ADS Project Engineer
UNDERSEA WARFARE Magazine does, indeed, host an annual photo contest. The contest – sponsored by the Naval Submarine League – is open to anyone. Photographs may be submitted year-round. However, entries must be received by the second Friday of April to be considered in that year’s contest. Entries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.