‘Silent Strength’ at museum’s Candlelight Stroll
PORTSMOUTH – Local author D. Allan Kerr will share the story of the brave men lost in the world’s worst submarine disaster during a presentation at Strawbery Banke Museum’s celebrated Candlelight Stroll on Sunday, Dec. 13.
The presentation of “Silent Strength,” Kerr’s book about the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard submarine USS Thresher, is part of a new author program being introduced at the museum’s Yeaton House this year.
Numerous local authors will also share their books each Saturday and Sunday through readings or presentations. Copies will be available for purchase in the Yeaton House.
USS Thresher (SSN 593), commissioned at the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, was the first nuclear submarine ever lost at sea. It sank off the New England coast on April, 10, 1963, claiming the lives of 129 Navy sailors and civilian technicians, including local Shipyard employees.
Two of the Navy crewmen who died – Donald Nault and Peter DiBella – were Portsmouth natives. Nault died on his 36th birthday, leaving behind his wife and three young children; DiBella, at 19, was the youngest man lost aboard SSN 593.
The Thresher was conducting deep-dive tests following a major overhaul at the shipyard, and participants expected to return home in time for Easter weekend. The accident is believed to have been caused by faulty piping.
“Silent Strength: Remembering the Men of Genius and Adventure Lost in the World’s Worst Submarine Disaster” originated from a series of Portsmouth Herald articles that ran over the course of a year leading up to the tragedy’s 50th anniversary in 2013, profiling some of the men who died aboard the doomed submarine.