University Archives

Lot 260

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Description: Admiral Rickover Describes Capabilities of Latest U.S. Nuclear Submarine

“The new POGY is...a powerful weapon against surface ships and submarines alike.”

In this interesting letter, Vice Admiral Rickover writes from the latest nuclear-powered submarine about its capabilities and the U.S. submarine fleet.

HYMAN G. RICKOVER, Typed Letter Signed, to Robert L. Michaels, February 15, 1971, USS Pogy, at sea, Gulf of Mexico. 1 p., 8" x 10.5".  On USS Pogy letterhead. Very good.


“We are returning from the first sea trials of the USS POGY (SSN647), our 51st attack type nuclear submarine. The ship completed all tests, including full power operation, both surface and submerged.”

“The new POGY is equipped with the latest navigation and electronics systems and a computer controlled weapons system which enable her to detect and attack targets at considerable distances. These characteristics, combined with the ability to operate at high speeds for long periods of time and the environmental independence provided by nuclear propulsion, make her a powerful weapon against surface ships and submarines alike.”

“In addition to the 51 attack type nuclear submarines, we also have 41 Polaris submarines and a deep submergence ocean engineering submarine, making a total of 93 nuclear submarines in operation. When all nuclear submarines presently authorized by Congress are completed, the United States will have 65 attack and 41 Polaris submarines.”

Hyman G. Rickover (1900-1986) was born in Russian Poland into a Polish Jewish family and migrated to New York City with his family in 1906. Two years later, they moved to Chicago. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1922 and was commissioned an ensign. He served on a destroyer and battleship before earning a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Columbia University in 1930. He served on submarines from 1929 to 1933 and commanded a minesweeper for three months in 1937, but was soon sent to Washington for work in the Bureau of Engineering. During World War II, he did repair and inspection duties and gained a reputation as a man who got things done. Rickover became an early proponent of the idea of nuclear propulsion for naval vessels, both submarines and surface ships. He led a team that developed a reliable nuclear reactor that could power submarines, the first being the USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered vessel, launched in 1954. Promoted to vice admiral in 1958, Rickover received the first of two Congressional Gold Medals. Over the next three decades, Rickover interviewed and approved or rejected every officer being considered for a nuclear ship, eventually numbering in the tens of thousands of interviews. The Secretary of the Navy eventually forced Rickover’s retirement in January 1982, just after his eighty-second birthday, after sixty-three years of service in the U.S. Navy under thirteen presidents.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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