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Public Lecture Series feat. Alfred McLaren

Silent and Unseen:
On Submarine Patrol During the Cold War

This event will be streamed live. Please visit our Live Stream page at 7pm on the evening of the event to view the lecture for free.

In this beautifully illustrated presentation, veteran submarine commander Captain Alfred S. McLaren will describe the most significant events that occurred in the Arctic and other regions during the Cold War years, 1958 to 1973, on board five attack submarines: USS Greenfish (SS-351), USS Seadragon (SSN-584), USS Skipjack (SSN 585), USS Greenling (SSN-614), and USS Queenfish (SSN-651). His seven years aboard the first three boats are the subject of his most recent book, Silent and Unseen, and the remaining eight, the subject of an earlier book Unknown Waters and a third book yet to come.

This talk will focus on the development of attack-boat tactics, Cold War missions, and under-ice exploration techniques and achievements, such as surfacing at the North Pole and the historic first surveys of the Northwest Passage and the entire Siberian Continental Shelf.

The talk will also describe how the commanding officers that a young submarine officer served with will determine how well he is prepared to assume his own command years later, This was particularly true in attack submarines during the high-risk years of the Cold War, when attack submarines were continually at sea and each reconnaissance and intelligence collection mission was of potentially great, and sometimes extraordinary, value to the government of the United States of America. The missions more often than not required closing on a potential enemy to collect the intelligence required, generally within weapons range. They required, unlike a war patrol, the U.S. attack boat to remain completely undetected, and then to withdraw as silently and unseen as it approached.

The success of all Cold War missions depended heavily on accurate intelligence, geographical positioning of the boat, and the readiness of the individual attack-boat team. It will be seen how the speaker learned very early that the latter was forged from three inseparable parts: material readiness of the boat, training and deployment readiness of the crew, and the knowledge, experience, and physical and psychological readiness of the commanding officer.

Captain Alfred Scott McLaren, USN (Ret.), Ph.D., MED ’71, is a former President of The Explorers Club and currently President of the 80-year-old American Polar Society. He is also a Director of Sub Aviator Systems LLC and Senior Pilot of the Super Aviator submersible. As a career nuclear attack submarine officer, he made three Arctic expeditions: the first submerged transit of the Northwest Passage, a Baffin Bay expedition, and, as Commander of USS Queenfish (SSN-651), a North Pole expedition that completed the first survey of the entire Siberian Continental Shelf. Honors include The Explorers Club’s Lowell Thomas Medal for Ocean Exploration in 2000 and its highest honor, “The Explorers Club Medal” in 2012 for “ His extraordinary contributions to Arctic exploration and deep sea research, including the first survey of the entire Siberian Continental Shelf.” He has also received ”The Societe de Geographic Paris" Medal and La Medaille de La Ville De Paris for Polar exploration.

Awards as a Cold War Submarine Commander include: the Distinguished Service Medal, two Legions of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, and four Navy Unit Commendations. A deep sea explorer and scientist, he completed dives to: RMS Titanic, Mid-Atlantic Ridge hydrothermal vents, and the first manned dives to the German battleship Bismarck. His first book, Unknown Waters, A First-Hand Account of the Historic Under-Ice Survey of the Siberian Continental Shelf by USS Queenfish (SSN-651) (University of Alabama Press, 2008), was judged a “Notable Naval Book of 2008” by the U.S. Naval Institute. His second book, Silent and Unseen, On Patrol in Three Cold War Attack Submarines (U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2015) was released in May 2015. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Naval War College. He holds graduate degrees from George Washington, Cambridge, and Colorado Universities.

Date: October 19th, 2015

Time: 6:00 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Lecture

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 E 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: Free

Guest Ticket Price: $20

Student Ticket Price:

Free for EC student members, $5 with a valid student ID

Reservation Notes:

Reservations are allotted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

To secure a reservation, please call us at 212.628.8383 or email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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