Surface at the Pole: The Extraordinary Voyages of the USS Skate
Author: James Calvert
Format: Kindle Edition
Publisher: Subaqueous Publications
Release Date: June 28, 2019
On 17 March 1959, the USS Skate became the first submarine to surface at the North Pole.
Under the guidance of James Calvert this nuclear submarine had navigated through polar ice packs, braved atrociously cold conditions, and broken through layers of thick ice to arrive at their destination; the northernmost point of the world.
This mission, however, was not just about completing a seemingly impossibly feat of Arctic exploration.
It also had huge implications for military strategy during the height of the Cold War.
Now that submarines were able to travel under and break through the ice, it gave the U.S. military the capability of being avoid detection under the ice while being able to launch their Polaris missiles from points far closer to the Soviet Union.
James Calvert’s remarkable account of his two voyages to the Arctic with the USS Skate provides vivid insight into life in a nuclear submarine and how these men were able to complete this treacherous mission.
“a frank, honest and humorous account of the problems faced in penetrating this vast unknown.” Naval War College Review
“he brought a keen eye for detail to his account of that first rise to the North Pole” The New York Times
“[James Calvert] proves as handy with pen as with periscope. … the two penetrations of the ice pack, in August of 1958 and March of 1959, make fresh and original reading.” Kirkus Reviews
Surface at the Pole: The Extraordinary Voyages of the USS Skate should be essential reading for anyone interested in naval history and how U.S. Navy made innovative strides in arctic exploration through the 1950s.
James Calvert served in the United States Navy, where he commanded USS Skate, the third nuclear submarine commissioned and the second submarine to reach the North Pole, which became the first to surface at the pole. His account of this journey, Surface at the Pole: The Extraordinary Voyages of the USS Skate was published in 1960 and Calvert passed away in 2009.