Admiral Hyman G. Rickover
Admiral Rickover, the Father of the Nuclear Navy, was born in Makow,
Russia (which is now Poland) on January 27, 1900. At the age of six, he
emigrated with his parents to the United States, settling in Chicago,
Illinois. Admiral Rickover entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1918 and
was commissioned an ensign in June 1922.
Following sea duty aboard USS LA VALLETTE (DD-315) and USS NEVADA
(BB-36), Admiral Rickover attended Columbia University, where he earned
the degree of Master of Science in Electrical Engineering. From 1929 to
1933, he qualified for submarine duty and command aboard the submarines
S-9 and S-48. In June 1937, he assumed command of USS FINCH. Later that
year, he was selected as an Engineering Duty Officer and spent the
remainder of his career serving in that specialty.
During World War II, Admiral Rickover served as Head of the Electrical
Section of the Bureau of Ships and later as Commanding Officer of the
Naval Repair Base, Okinawa. In 1946, he was assigned to the Atomic
Energy Commission laboratory at Oak Ridge, Tennessee and, in early
1949, to the Division of Reactor Development, U.S. Atomic Energy
As director of the Naval Reactors Branch, Admiral Rickover developed
the world's first nuclear powered submarine, USS NAUTILUS (SSN 571),
which went to sea in 1955. In the years that followed, Admiral Rickover
directed all aspects of building and operating the nuclear fleet.
Admiral Rickover's numerous medals and decorations include the
Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Navy Commendation Medal,
and the World War II Victory Medal. In recognition of his wartime
service, he was made Honorary Commander of the Military Division of the
Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Admiral Rickover was twice awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for
exceptional public service. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter presented
Admiral Rickover with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's
highest non-military honor, for his contributions to world peace.
Admiral Rickover retired from the United States Navy on January 31,
1982, after over 63 years of service to his country and to 13
Presidents. His name is memorialized in the attack submarine USS HYMAN
G. RICKOVER (SSN 709) and Rickover Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Admiral Rickover died on July 8, 1986 and is buried in Arlington