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Around the World Submerged

"The Unknown Sailor"

We wish to thank Tom Thamm for providing the following text.


When we returned from the circumnavigation, there were hundreds of wives and children waiting for us in the rain. A Life Magazine photographer caught this emotional moment as a member of our crew embraced his wife and children for the first time in 84 days.

Notice how wonderfully this man's wife is dressed and how brushed and combed her children are. It probably cost her the last dollar in their checking account to present herself and her children this way. Even with submarine pay, some of our men were hard pressed to make ends meet. But this man's wife wasn't going to let that stand in the way of meeting her husband in her Sunday best.

And while you're at it, notice this man's immaculate appearance. He has a regulation haircut, his hat is washed and properly shaped. His uniform is clean and white. He proudly wears "USS TRITON SSRN586" on his shoulder. He wasn't going to let the fact that he had been inside a steel tube for 84 days prevent him from meeting his wife and children looking "shipshape and Bristol fashion."

I have taken this photograph to every Triton reunion I have attended in an attempt to find out who the sailor is so that I could present him with the photograph. Sadly, no one has ever claimed it and no one knows who the sailor is. Hence, the title "Unknown Sailor." I am emotionally involved with this photograph, because to me, this man and his family is the "everyman" of Triton. The crew of Triton was the finest group of men with whom I had the honor to serve.

I am extremely proud of them, their families and their accomplishments.

- Tom Thamm