Monday, May 12, 2008

Rest in Peace - CAPT Hugh Rosania; kept Cold War mission secret during long naval career

From the San Diego Union Tribune...

Capt. Hugh Rosania; kept Cold War mission secret during long naval career; 87


May 10, 2008

Capt. Hugh Rosania kept a secret for 17 years. Nobody outside of a tight group of submariners, a few sailors and some Pentagon brass knew what he knew.

Every day when Capt. Rosania went to his job as a submarine division commander, his wife, Lois, thought he was going to his office, sitting at his desk and doing the things an administrator did. Just routine.

But the Cold War had the nation and the world on edge.

Even after Capt. Rosania retired from the Navy, he said nothing for years about that day in May 1962, when he put himself in harm's way aboard the submarine Razorback during a classified nuclear test about 370 nautical miles southwest of San Diego.

“He did his duty,” Lois Rosania said. “He did what he had to do for the Navy and his country.”

Capt. Rosania died April 26 of bladder cancer at his home in Coronado. He was 87.

Capt. Rosania spent more of his 25-year Naval career in San Diego than in any other place. He served five tours of duty here, including commanding the submarine division, surface vessels and a ship convoy. He also held a senior position on the command staff of the Training Center at the Coronado Naval Amphibious Base.

But it's what he did in 1962 that his wife and former Navy colleagues say exemplified Capt. Rosania's call to duty.

The captain and crew of the Razorback were submerged about two miles from where a secret nuclear depth bomb was exploded. They were the closest people to the 10-kiloton blast and were in a position to assess the underwater shock wave generated by the bomb.

The test, dubbed Operation Swordfish, remained cloaked in secrecy until being revealed in the late 1970s, when concerns over exposure to radiation were raised about such tests.

That's when Capt. Rosania felt free to acknowledge his role.

Even then he was nonchalant.

“He just said he was a part of one of the tests,” his wife said. “He didn't go into much detail or make a big deal about it.”

The full obituary can be read on the San Diego Union Tribune Website


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