Port of Benton Honors USS Triton Operation Sandblast Crew That Secretly Sailed the Globe
(Richland, WA) -- The Port of Benton held a ceremony today recognizing the original crew members of the USS Triton (SSRN 586) during its historic Operation Sandblast Mission to circumnavigate the globe completely undetected in 1960. The crew covered 26,723 nautical miles between February 24 to April 25 of that year. They generally followed the route explorer Ferdinand Magellan had attempted to navigate in 1521. Once the journey around the world was complete, Triton remained underwater, continued to Spain, where a plaque was presented to honor Magellan’s and Triton’s historic voyages, then arrived in Delaware and surfaced on May 10.
John F. Kuester, retired after 21 years of service as Senior Chief, Torpedoman’s Mate
Robert C. Perkins, retired after 21 years of service as Senior Chief, Sonar Technician
Allen W. Steele – 83, Commander, retired after 30 years
Marion A. Windell – 87, retired after 29 years as Chief Warrant Officer
The four were among several honored who could not be in attendance.
The submarine was one of the first nuclear-powered submarines, operated solely by dual nuclear reactors, direct descendants of Hanford reactors, including the B Reactor.
The sail park overlooks the port’s barge slip and high dock where the U.S. Navy transfers nuclear reactor compartments from decommissioned vessels (including Triton) onshore for delivery to the nearby Hanford Site for permanent storage.