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A Modern American Odyssey
Marc DeLamater

Imagine going around the world under the sea aboard the world's most advanced submarine. It sounds like 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, but it really happened. An American nuclear submarine captain announces to his new, untested crew that their maiden voyage is now a far more dangerous top-secret mission.

The year 1960 begins with great hope and anticipation. The world is still caught up with the euphoria from last September�s spirit of Camp David following the meeting between President Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Khrushchev. The Cold War seems to be thawing, with fears of global nuclear war beginning to ease.

For CAPTAIN EDWARD L. BEACH, 1960 will see him take his new ship to sea on her maiden voyage. Her name is Triton.

Ned Beach is a respected naval officer and a submariner par excellence. He is driven by a hunger for adventure, an unshakable sense of duty, and a desire to supersede past tragedies that befell his father�s own naval career. Ned strives to balance the demands of his own professional career with his role of being husband to his gracious and beautiful wife, INGRID, and father to his three growing children.

On February 4, 1960, just twelve days before his ship�s scheduled departure, Captain Beach receives an urgent summons to the Pentagon for a top-secret meeting. When Captain Beach returns to New London, Connecticut, his simple shakedown cruise takes an unexpected turn as preparations for Triton�s maiden voyage takes on a sudden urgency.

The ship�s navigators acquire the charts for all of the world�s oceans at the squadron headquarters. An experimental inertial navigation system, scientific equipment, and a new communication suite are quickly installed. Civilian scientists and a photographic team join the crew. The entire crew is ordered to pay their car insurance for the next three months, file their income tax returns early, and make out their last will and testament before the ship departs. The crew begins storing nearly 78,000 pounds of provisions on board Triton, enough for a 120-day deployment.

Scuttlebutt is working overtime. How long are they going to be away from home? Why the extra stores and special preparations? Is it a simple shakedown cruise? Or is it something else?

Finally, on February 16th, Triton set sails from New London. Once underway, Captain Beach makes a dramatic announcement:

Men, I know you�ve all been waiting to learn what this cruise is about, and why we�re still headed southeast. Now, at last, I can tell you that we are going on the voyage which all submariners have dreamed of ever since they possessed the means of doing so. We have the ship and we have the crew! We�re going around the world, nonstop! And we�re going to do it entirely submerged!

Code-named Operation Sandblast, Triton�s attempt to make the first submerged around-the-world voyage is a political stunt concocted by the Eisenhower administration. Its objective is to impress the Russians about American technological prowess in the face of Soviet successes with their Sputnik satellite program prior to the start of the upcoming diplomatic summit in early May.

For Captain Beach and his stalwart but untested crew, this mission is an all-Navy job, and theirs to get done as they race the clock to get back in time. Illness, infighting, mechanical failures, and the many hazards of the sea will test Captain Beach and his crew during their voyage as Triton sails through uncharted waters. The price of failure is high, but if they succeed, Captain Beach and his crew will have made history.

For Ned Beach, Operation Sandblast will not merely be an operational assignment but a journey that will challenge him as he seeks to find closure to the many professional, personal, and familial issues that run through his life.

This journey will also include other members of Triton�s crew who will face the unknown and the unexpected.

AL STEELE will be confronted with an incident that not only will threaten the success of the mission but also the safety of the ship and his crewmates.

EDWARD CARBULLIDO will see the family home that he helped build back on Guam for the first time through the viewfinder of Triton�s periscope.

WILLIE JONES and DUTCH BECKHAUS, the Lewis and Martin of the Triton, will also make this journey in their own way. Class clown Jonesy will himself become the butt of a joke perpetrated from the most unlikely source while lover-boy Dutchie copes with a cruise devoid of liberty ports as he dreams of the many girls in every port that he will not see.

PAPPY BEACHAM is the cigar-chomping veteran who keeps his fellow shipmates squared away while keeping up their morale.

This is a story of a ship, her crew, and their skipper, as well as those waiting back home for their safe return and the turbulent and troubled Cold War era in which they lived.

Triton�s voyage is not just a journey of time and place, crossing every longitude on the map, but it is also a voyage of self-discovery and revelation. It is a journey everyone makes, facing the unknown and unexpected, where failure is always an unwanted outcome, and hard-fought victories often elusive and unsung.