On 11 April 2014, the U.S. Submarine Force marked its 114th birthday, celebrating its rich history of tradition and success. But just one day earlier, it observed a more somber milestone: the 51st commemoration of its worst non-combat loss, the sinking of the USS Thresher (SSN-593). Reflecting on this tragedy reminds us of a formative truth: The U.S. Submarine Force operates incredibly complex machines in hazardous and unforgiving environments for extended periods of time, and the U.S. Navy’s all-volunteer submariners put themselves in harm’s way every time they take their boats to sea.
To ensure the safety of our sailors, the Submarine Force offers a premier safety effort based on three programs: the Quality Assurance Submarine Safety program (SUBSAFE), the Deep Submergence Systems Scope of Certification (DSS-SOC) program, and the Fly-By-Wire Ship Control System program. Although all of them came into being within the past 50 years, the disasters they seek to prevent have been present since the earliest days of operations beneath the surface.