HYMAN G. RICKOVER Rickover signed this typed letter on USS Benjamin Franklin letterhead while at sea to Mark Watson after the sub’s first sea trials in 1965. Typed letter signed “H. G. Rickover” in blue ink. 3 pages, 8×10½, single-sided sheets, on letterhead of the USS Benjamin Franklin, c/o Fleet Post Office, New York City. Written “At Sea/North Atlantic”, Aug. 30, 1965. Addressed to Mr. Mark Watson, Baltimore, Maryland. Rickover wrote this letter after the successful conclusion of the USS Benjamin Franklin’s first sea trials. This was the United States’ 30th Polaris nuclear submarine. With the 22 American nuclear attack submarines, that made a total of 52 submarines in the United States Navy. The majority of this letter is dedicated to a biography of the ship’s namesake, Benjamin Franklin. The USS Benjamin Franklin, also designated SSBN 640, was a nuclear ballistic submarine. Her keel was laid on May 25, 1963 and she was commissioned on Oct. 22, 1965. Less than two months after her commissioning, she launched a Polaris A3 missile on Dec. 6, 1965 in conjunction with the launch of Gemini 7. She was decommissioned on Nov. 23, 1993. Head of the United States Navy’s electrical division in World War II, Rickover (1900-1986, born in Makov, Russia) moved to the Atomic Energy Commission in 1947 and developed the first nuclear-powered submarine, the Nautilus, in 1954. He presided over the build-up of the U.S. nuclear-powered Navy. He also presided over the construction of the one-of a kind, super-secret NR-1 nuclear submarine. Despite cost overruns during its development, which earned the wrath of the General Accounting Office, the NR-1 fulfilled Rickover’s fondest hopes. The story of the craft has now been told in Dark Waters: An Insider’s Account of the NR-1, the Cold War’s Undercover Nuclear Submarine by Don Davis and original crewmember Lee Vyborny (2002). R… More information available. Please contact us if you have questions. HFSID 178696
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