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Polaris Program

Based on seven interviews conducted by John T. Mason, Jr., from September 1972 through February 1974. The volume contains 334 pages of interview transcript. The transcript is copyright 1982 by the U.S. Naval Institute; any restrictions originally placed on the transcripts by the interviewees have since been removed.


Raborn, Vice Admiral William F., Jr., USN (Retired), Director of Special Projects Division to develop Polaris. Raborn discusses the background, personnel, and progress of this project on which he was given carte blanche by CNO Arleigh Burke. Interviewed in September 1972; transcript contains 71 pages.


Burke, Admiral Arleigh A., USN (Retired), Chief of Naval Operations, 1955 to 1961. Burke discusses the political overtones surrounding the program, and dismisses the idea that we were racing to develop submarine-launched missiles in response to Soviet advances in that area. Interviewed in September 1972; transcript contains 36 pages.


Gates, Thomas S., Jr., Secretary of the Navy from 1957 to 1959. Gates discusses objections to this program that came mostly from within the Navy and the surprising support from the Bureau of Aeronautics. He also covers the safeguards used to ensure a monitoring of the success of the program and proper managing of funds. Interviewed in October 1972; transcript contains 39 pages.


Shugg, Carleton, Head of Electric Boat Company. Among other facets of the submarine construction aspect of the Polaris project, Shugg talks about security, shipyard logistics, and Admiral Rickover's role. Interviewed in November 1973; transcript contains 25 pages.


Dunlap, Dr. Jack, Member of civilian steering committee for Polaris. Dunlap discusses the background of his selection to this committee, the role of the committee, and its proceedings. Interviewed in October 1972; transcript contains 32 pages.


Pehrson, Gordon, Head of planning staff for Polaris project. Pehrson came to the Polaris program in 1956 as a high-ranking civilian in the Army Department, and describes the bureaucratic aspect of the beginning of the project from a civilian standpoint. His planning group was tasked with laying out program plans for creating the military capability needed for the project. Interviewed in February 1974; transcript contains 66 pages.


Watson, Clement, Presentation/public relations contractor for Polaris. Watson was recruited to promote the Polaris project to Congress, the military, and President Eisenhower. He discusses the strategy used to overcome concerns about engineering feasibility, cost, and the length of time necessary for development. Interviewed in November 1972; transcript contains 65 pages.


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