Though Dan Summitt retired from the U.S Navy years ago, he still regrets t receiving clearance to fill a submarine missile tube with thirty-five thousand pounds of wet grits and launch it at a very pesky Russian spy ship. In Tales of a Cold War Submariner, Summitt tells the story of his military career, proving that navy life at the height of the Cold War as commander of two nuclear submarines kept him on his toes. He relates his work with Adm. Hyman Rickover, recounts the efforts to stay undetected while patrolling for Soviet submarines, and shares the everyday dangers faced by a submarine crew. Summitt graduated from the Naval Academy in 1947, entered Submarine School, and rose to become deputy chief of staff for the commander of the Submarine Force Atlantic Fleet and chief of staff for the Submarine Flotilla 8. He served as commander of the USS Seadragon on its secret mission to the North Pole, where he rendezvoused with the USS Skate to conduct experiments under the ice. Summitt later took command of the USS Alexander Hamilton, one of forty-one Polaris-class nuclear submarines, which carried sixteen thirty-five-foot-tall missiles. Summitt takes the reader on a tour of this vessel, describing daily life and the routine and t-so-routine missions in close quarters with outside contact for days or even months. Through it all, the fear of mechanical malfunctions, detection, or imminent attack always lingered. Summitt's anecdotes and descriptions capture this tense era in history.
Dan Summitt retired in 1974 and now makes his home in San Antonio, Texas.