SALISBURY — Wednesday, April 10, 2013, will mark the 50th anniversary of the loss of the nuclear-powered submarine USS Thresher (SSN-593). At 9:00 AM that day, members of United States Submarine Veterans-Marblehead Base and Salisbury American Legion Post 309 will mark the solemn occasion with a memorial service to the 129 sailors and shipyard technicians who lost their lives that morning fifty years ago.
The memorial service will take place at the Robert E. Steinel/USS Thresher Memorial on the Broadway Promenade near Salisbury Beach. Robert Steinel was a First Class Sonar Operator aboard the Thresher who lived in Salisbury at the time the boat was lost with his wife and children. Many of the Steinel family, including Robert’s widow Doris and his son Robert Jr., still live in Salisbury and are expected to be in attendance at the memorial service. Robert Steinel was active in Masonic affairs and was a Third Degree Mason in the Newburyport (Massachusetts) Assembly, Order of St. Johns. He was also a volunteer firefighter in Salisbury, Massachusetts.
USS Thresher (SSN-593) was the first of a new class of fast-attack submarines built in the 1960’s, designed to operate deeper and more quietly than any previous US submarine class in order to hunt and kill Soviet subs at the height of the Cold War and was considered a technological leap over Soviet submarines of the era. The boat was lost with all hands approximately 300 nautical miles east of Boston during deep-dive tests following a shipyard refurbishment at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, believed due to a flooding casualty in the engine room that resulted in a loss of all propulsion power.
The 50th Anniversary Remembrance will begin at 9:00 AM on April 10 and last about an hour. The service is open to any member of the public who wish to attend.