The USS Irex SS-482:
Thames River— 14 June 1952

[ at Nautilus launch ]

A few years ago, we published a photo showing IREX in the stream, taken from Electric Boat, over the top of the first hull section of the USS NAUTILUS (SSN 571), onto which President Harry Truman had just welded his initials, constituting the “keel laying.” This photo was taken from a small boat on the EB side.

There were five boats in the river that day, IREX; USS BECUNA (SS 319); USS K-1 (SSK 1); USS THREADFIN (SS 410); and USS TRIGGER (SS 564). Each represented a different type of submarine in service at the time. All the boats were anchored, heading downstream, so the tide must have been at flood stage.

This occurred on a Saturday morning, and the long weekend liberty section was let go. The other two sections stayed aboard, and were supplemented by sailors from other boats who were also kept aboard. The photo above shows about 60 sailors “manning the rail.”

When the President arrived, all the boats came to a hand salute, which was coordinated by an officer on the beach on a common net, using some kind of walkie-talkie.

Well, wouldn't you know, (according to mess-deck intelligence), the radio ashore “crapped out” right after saluting, and we held the salute, and held it, and held it even longer.

We all agreed that that salute was the longest any of us ever held.

None of those in this photo are distinguishable, but I'm sure the forward-most crew member (in khakis) was “Dutch” Larch, our COB. I was TM2(SS) at the time, and a permanent member of the Anchor Detail, so I'm probably up there close by.

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