Navy Capt. Paul “Bud” Rogers will get his wish when he is laid to rest with his comrades — at the bottom of the ocean, more than 200 miles off the New England coast.
During routine operations, a submarine from the Naval Submarine Base will transport Rogers’ cremated remains to where the USS Thresher (SSN-593) sank in 1963. According to a report in The Day (New London, Conn.), the Navy is not releasing the name of the submarine or the date the burial, since it does not discuss submarine operations.
Back in 1963, Rogers was supposed to be an observer on the Thresher during the boat’s sea trials. Before the ship left, his supervisor decided that Rogers wasn’t experienced enough to go on the trials, so he was replaced by another sailor. Two days later, on April 10, 1963, the Thresher sank. None of the 129 crewmembers survived.
According to the Navy, a leak in the boat’s engine room was the cause of the disaster. Seawater flooding an electric panel would have triggered the nuclear reactor to shut down. With no propulsion, and with the added weight of the water, the ship sank below its crush-depth and imploded. The Thresher was the first nuclear submarine to be lost at sea.
“Bud felt that he should’ve been the one to go down with the Thresher, not this other man,” his wife, Barbara “Bobbye” Rogers, 86, told The Day. “All those years, it bothered him.”
Rogers, a 41-year Navy veteran, died on Oct. 28, 2015, at the age of 86, and requested in his will to be buried at sea. Though he did not specify where, his family thought it would be fitting to bury him with the 129 men who went down with the Thresher.
While the ashes are often left on a submarine’s sail as it submerges, given the family’s request to bury Rogers at a specific location, the submarine carrying his remains will transit on the surface to a point where Navy Chaplain Lt. Cmdr. Paul Rumery will be able to lower the cremation urn into the ocean. The Navy will provide the family the date and coordinates of his burial.