Navy Will Scatter Vet's Ashes at Site of Worst US Sub Disaster

'He felt he should have gone down with the Thresher'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 30, 2016 3:19 AM CST
Navy Will Scatter Vet's Ashes at Site of Worst US Sub Disaster
In this July 9, 1960, photo, the 278-foot USS Thresher, a first in its class boat, is launched bow-first at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine.   (Uncredited)

For a half-century after the deadliest submarine disaster in US history, Navy Capt. Paul "Bud" Rogers struggled with feelings that it should have been him—and not his last-minute replacement—on the doomed voyage of the USS Thresher in which 129 men died. This week, at his family's request, a Navy submarine is bringing his cremated remains to be buried at sea near the Thresher's wreckage some 200 miles off of Cape Cod, Mass., the AP reports. "I'm just so happy. I feel like my husband will be at peace," says his widow, Barbara Rogers. "He felt he should have gone down with the Thresher." Rogers, who died in October 2015 at age 86, served 41 years in the Navy before retiring in 1990.

A few days before the loss of the Thresher, its captain replaced Rogers with a more experienced sailor for deep-dive testing. On April 10, 1963, the submarine suffered a mechanical failure, descended below crush depth, and imploded. At a memorial service for the lost men, Rogers tried to console the wife of the man who took his place on the crew. "He said that she wouldn't speak to him, and that really made him upset," Barbara Rogers says. "He wanted to apologize to her." His ashes were aboard the USS Springfield when it left a Navy base in Connecticut on Tuesday. The chaplain says a three-round volley will be fired before he lowers the ashes over the side of the submarine and into the North Atlantic. (More submarine stories.)

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