Surface at the Pole
The Extraordinary Voyages of the USS Skate
Cmdr. James Calvert
In this 1960 book, Surface at the Pole: The Extraordinary Voyages of the U.S.S. Skate, U.S. Navy Commander James F. Calvert described his experiences captaining at the Pole.
In 1959, after traveling 3,000 miles (4,800 km) to the pole in 12 days, Skate became the first submarine to surface through the ice when it reached the North Pole on March 17, 1959. There they released the ashes of Australian polar explorer Sir George Hubert Wilkins, who died in November 1958, and who had been the first to try to reach the pole by submarine.
The ability to travel under and break through the ice was a major achievement during the Cold War as it allowed the U.S. Navy’s submarines to avoid detection under the ice while being within range to launch their Polaris missiles from points far closer to the Soviet Union.