The super-secret submarine NR-1, built during the tense years known as the Cold War, was special not only because it was a nuclear submarine, but because its existence was one of the most closely guarded secrets ever kept by the United States Military. One of her builders and first crewmembers, Lee Vyborny, was in his early twenties when he was stationed aboard this unique and dangerous craft. Nuclear technology was still in relative infancy at the time, so the daring and courage of the crew to basically serve on board an experiment must be lauded. As one of the authors of this fascinating history of the nuclear submarine, Vyborny explains its creation at the hands of Admiral Hyman Rickover, who wanted a submarine that could troll along the ocean floor for an unlimited amount of time.
Admiral Rickover, who is also known as "the Father of the Nuclear Navy," was a major contributor to the design and construction of this type of submarine; he also selected most of its elite crew. The NR-1 was so secret that most of the Navy was unaware of its existence, and the crew had the added burden of being responsible for her upkeep as well as necessary repairs.
Dark Waters is a captivating account of the bravery and tenacity of the crew of the NR-1, told in first-person accounts by several of her crewmen. The stories are riveting, eye-opening and filled with sensory input and emotion. Vyborny, as one of the original twelve members of the crew, offers a unique perspective as he recounts tales of clashes among crewmembers and the toll taken by extended submersion and mishaps on board.
The NR-1, a 400-ton submarine equipped with a miniature nuclear reactor, trolled the ocean floor on Goodyear tires. There is so much information about a little-known subject in this account, one that will enthrall any reader, not just those fond of Naval history. This book is not only a technical bow to a modern genius; it is a very personal tale as well. In combination with the talented pen of co-author Don Davis, Vyborny has illuminated a heretofore-veiled secret from our past –- and a very powerful secret at that. The NR-1 is still in operation as an active nuclear submarine, a proud old lady who set the United States way ahead in the field of nuclear technology.