Fifty Years Ago, an Unusual Vessel Made History
Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh, a Naval Academy classmate once observed, "had adapted himself readily to Navy life." This sometimes included battling just to stay in your bunk, a situation that Walsh had experienced on board the destroyer escort Lewis (DE-535) before dawn on 23 January 1960 as he felt her "rolling . . . in her best destroyer escort manner."
Awakened two hours after the end of the midwatch, Walsh, the officer in charge of the bathyscaph Trieste, was relieved that he could finally get up. "All I had to do that day," he later recounted: "was get into a small steel ball and dive to the bottom of the deepest part of the world's deepest ocean, the 'Challenger Deep.' . . . I had the momentary feeling that it might be wiser to stay in bed."
That dive, some 35,840 feet down, set a record that has never been matched by another human and only equalled by two robotic craft.