Nuclear Research Submarine NR-1, towed by Submarine Support Vessel (SSV) Carolyn Chouest, pulled into Galveston, Texas, on Feb. 25 to take part in an expedition to survey the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary and other sites of interest in the Gulf of Mexico.
“This mission is going to be exciting and full of new challenges for the Submarine NR-1, and the crew of SSV Carolyn Chouest,” said Lt. Paul M. Kutia, operations officer for NR-1. “We’ve been preparing our people to make sure this mission is going to be a full success.”
The Navy will work in collaboration with The Institute for Exploration, the University of Rhode Island, Immersion Presents, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Sanctuary Program to broadcast their findings over live satellite.
“During our initial visit to Galveston they’re going to be loading on scientists and various equipment, including a production van that’s going to be on the back deck, which is going to send live feeds out to various colleges, universities
and aquariums,” explained Kutia.
NR-1 and the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Argus will use high definition cameras to record biological and geological features of the ocean floor and help archeologists locate and examine where shorelines may have been in the past. These sunken shorelines may hold relics and clues of ancient people.
“I think it’s a great experience,” said Storekeeper 1st Class (SS) Brett Adams, Supply Department leading petty officer for NR-1. “Not very often does the civilian world get to see what submarines do, most of our missions are done military intelligence-wise and you don’t hear about it once it’s done. This experience is going to be a live broadcast aboard NR-1 and actually show everybody a little bit of what the submarine force is capable of and what we do.”
Aside from the scientific research, the Flower Garden Banks expedition will also showcase the Navy’s capabilities to a younger audience.
“The NR-1 being involved gives the Navy tremendous exposure to a younger public,” said Jon H. Skoglund, Merchant Marine captain of the SSV Carolyn Chouest. “Kids growing up now don’t necessarily think that military service has any other options other than combat and I think this opens their eyes up to a lot of different options and a lot of neat things you can do in the military.”
Nuclear Research Submarine NR-1, the world’s only nuclear powered research submarine, has been involved in many different research, recovery and exploratory missions since its christening in 1969.
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brandon Shelander, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Atlantic