The USS Irex SS-482: Participation in Nautlus keel laying, 1952

Two brief recollections of the participation of the Irex in the laying of the keel of the Nautilus on 14 June 1952.

From Jim Lynch, Irex crewmember 1959–1956

I remember—the USS IREX (SS482) participating in the ceremony for the laying of the keel for the firest nuclear submarine, USS NAUTILUS (SS571). The President of the United States, Harry S Truman, laid the keel at the Electric Boat Division, General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut on Saturday, June 14, 1952.

There were five submarines taking part in the ceremony. All were anchored in the Thames River, off from the Electric Boat Shipyard. The crews of the submarines were “manning the rail” to honor President Truman.

The five submarines were, beginning from the south, looking from Electric Boat:

Few of us realized the significance of the occassion or the impact the successful operation of the NAUTILUS would have on the Submarine Force. The NAUTILUS would not only contribute to the country's defense posture but also to the commercial use of nuclear power.

As I recall, most of us sailers were complaining about the loss of a Saturday's liberty, with little thought of the historical event that was taking place.

Only later, in 1956, while riding the NAUTILUS on a one-day indoctrination cruise did I realize that we had witnessed history being made four years earlier.

From Wally Krupenevich TM1 (SS), on the Irex 1961–1956

I was also on board at this time. There's a picture somewhere of the IREX “manning the rail”. I'm up there by the FTR hatch. From what I remember, we had two sections aboard, and “borrowed” sailors from the other NLon boats in order to properly man the rail. There was an officer at EB, synchronizing the actions of the five boats. We came to a hand salue, and (a) his Walkie Talkie broke, or (2) he got involved in whatever was going on at the Yard, but in any case we held the salute for a really long time. The President's part of the whole thing was to weld his initials onto NAUTILUS's keel.

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