The USS Irex SS-482:
First snorkel/Last railway occupant

By W.J. Hannon EMC (SS), USN, USNT

During my tenure on IREX, sometime between January, 1964, and January, 1967, we utilized the Marine Railway adjacent and south of Pier 1, SUBASE NIDN, Conn., for a sonar damage inspection. In the process of hauling us in, a large link on one of the two in-hauling chains parted. The Docking Officer continued the in-haul operation, snubbed the renaming chain successfully, and completed our docking.

About one half hour later, shortly after Quarters and Muster topside, the remaining chain parted, sending us like a rumbling train into the Thames River headed for the opposite shore. We hastily answered a forward bell after disengaging the shaft jacking gear, just in the “nick of time”. We then moored at Pier l, NLON, after destroying the Marine Railway. To my knowledge, it was never rebuilt.

We then had fears and apprehensions, for it was believed a Sonarman had entered the mount access for a damage inspection just before the “Launch” incident. No one knew his whereabouts until his return, clean and dry, about one-half hour later from a Guard Mail run, which he chose to make first!! Fortunately, this incident caused no fatalities or injuries.

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