KEYPORT, Wash. (NNS) -- The Naval Undersea Museum opened the Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV-1) Mystic for a tour July 22, to VIPs.
The Mystic has resided at the naval museum for approximately a year and no one had been inside until now.
Rear Adm. (Ret.) Samuel Cox, director, Naval History and Heritage Command, Cmdr. Jeffrey Barta, deputy, Museum Systems Office, and James Bruns, director, Naval Museum Systems Office attended the VIP tour of the Mystic.
"It's a rare opportunity to get inside the DSRV," said Cox. "We keep these artifacts to remember the past, and even though it was never used for actual rescue, it's still a feat and marvel of technology."
The U.S. lost USS Thresher (SSN 593) and USS Scorpion (SSN 589) in the 1960s, which changed the submarine community forever. The Deep Submergence Systems Project (DSSP) was put in line to develop a submarine rescue vehicle. The submarine rescue chamber couldn't operate at submarine's max depth and was the only rescue system in place prior to DSRV Mystic and DSRV Avalon.
"The Navy learned so much from the loss of Thresher and Scorpion to improve submarine safety," said Cox. "We never had to use the DSRV, but it was important to have on standby."
The Naval Undersea Museum plans on expanding to create room for their larger artifacts including the DSRV Mystic.
"The value for us is to refocus naval museum exhibits on rescue, research and recovery," said Bruns. "This artifact is crucial to the rescue story."
The Mystic arrived at the museum Oct. 1, 2014, six years after it began its deactivation process.
"It's a team effort to get such an artifact here," said Barta. "It was extensive and took over a year to get it here from San Diego."
DSRVs Mystic and Avalon went into construction in the late 60's and were put into official service in 1977. DSRV's were the primary rescue system for submarines until 2008.
"Mystic is unusual because it lets us interpret so many stories with just one artifact," said Mary Ryan, Naval Undersea Museum's curator. "We can talk about submarine rescue operations, the evolution of deep-ocean capabilities, the shift from manned submersibles to unmanned ROVs. The list goes on and on."
The museum has stated the Mystic will not be open for public tours, but an image gallery will be constructed to display the inside of the DSRV.
"It's a once in a lifetime event to share this history with the public and our Sailors." said Barta.
For more information on the DSRV Mystic go to http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4100&tid=500&ct=4
For more information on the Naval Undersea Museum Keyport go to http://www.navalunderseamuseum.org/
For more news from Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest, visit www.navy.mil/local/nwpacen/.