Fitting Way to Finish
Thunder and lightning heralded the Navy's unique NR-1 as she pulled into port at the New London, Connecticut, submarine base on 23 July. The occasion was the end of her final voyage capping a nearly 40-year service career. The tiny nuclear-powered submarine is the Navy's only deep-diving ocean engineering and research boat. Although her reactor core is good until 2012, the Navy has not budgeted for maintenance to run the sub to the end of the core's life, and there are no plans to replace her. The boat will be inactivated by the end of the year.
The NR-1's skipper, Commander John P. McGrath, said that he and his 12-man crew completed three successful missions during their final four-month deployment. He could not discuss two of them for security reasons. The third, however, was another story: They helped in the search for John Paul Jones' legendary Bonhomme Richard.
"I couldn't think of a more fitting way to write the final page in this ship's history than by searching for the Bonhomme Richard," the commander said.