The Engineer's Notebook Blog

The Engineer's Notebook

The Engineer's Notebook is a shared blog for entries that don't fit into a specific CR4 blog. Topics may range from grammar to physics and could be research or or an individual's thoughts - like you'd jot down in a well-used notebook.

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Unsung Heroes of the Cold War: Tapping Undersea Phone Lines off the Russian Pacific Coast, 1970

Posted December 05, 2008 10:47 AM by april05

It's three in the morning in a Pentagon office, late 1970, two years into the first Nixon administration. A naval special operations officer, Captain James Bradley, is frustrated with his country's inability to predict Soviet submarine strategy. But Bradley has a brainstorm. Why not just listen-in on land-line conversations between Russian commanders and their Pacific submarine fleet in the Sea of Okhotsk?

<-- USS Parche: Divers and crew repeatedly put their lives at risk, while working in frigid arctic water conditions outside this sub. Beforehand, they covertly trained on "SeaLab 2". Using this small, quiet sub to complete multiple missions in the Pacific, a treasure-trove of valuable knowledge of Russian submarine movements was gained by U.S. military officials.

Captain Bradley soon took his idea, partly inspired by telephone cable signs he'd seen growing up along the Mississippi river, directly to the power-players at the White House. Quickly, he gained top-level buy-in for his concept, but only after persuading Henry Kissinger, the global architect of Nixon's Cold War strategy.

So began this fascinating stroll down memory lane for this Cold War kid and CR4 blogger, as I attended an ASME-Hudson Mohawk section-sponsored dinner meeting last night. The event featured speaker Ray Misiewicz, a retired mechanical engineer with 35 years experience at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL). There, he helped support the U.S. Navy's nuclear submarine fleet.

Ray's desire to honor the brave men and women who made great personal sacrifices, and who often put their lives on the line for this covert phone-tapping submarine program of the 1970s and 1980s, was evident as he spoke last night.

Anyone interested in this topic is advised to attend one of Ray's ongoing slide-show lectures in the Schenectady, NY area, and is welcome to contact me via CR4 email for more details.

- Larry

Resources:

http://sections.asme.org/hudson-mohawk/2008_Nov_Newsletter_v4_color.pdf

http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1467884&amp;amp;amp;displaytype=printable

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Parche_(SSN-683)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kissinger

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#1

Re: Unsung Heroes of the Cold War: Tapping Undersea Phone Lines off the Russian Pacific Coast, 1970

12/06/2008 10:59 PM

The book Blind Man's Bluff is written by one of the parties involved. A Chief Master Sargent and personal friend explained a lot of the background to do with the Tapping of under sea phone lines. A Moscow museum has one of the 10 foot long devices on display Property of U.S. Gov. cast right into the access door on it. They even worked on the Glomar Explorer(sp?)

Brad

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Anonymous Poster
#2

Re: Unsung Heroes of the Cold War: Tapping Undersea Phone Lines off the Russian

12/09/2008 3:57 PM

Read about this a few years ago. The part I liked best was that the U.S. located the cable by spotting the sign on the shore that read ," caution undersea cable, no anchors".

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#3

Re: Unsung Heroes of the Cold War: Tapping Undersea Phone Lines off the Russian Pacific Coast, 1970

12/15/2008 11:52 AM

But the Parche did not start this mission in the Sea of Okhotsk. To the best of my recollection, the Seawolf was the first boat used for this type of stuff; the only sub that Rickover would let them have.

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