Remembering Captain Don Walsh, a Pioneer in Deep-Sea Exploration

Remembering Captain Don Walsh, a Pioneer in Deep-Sea Exploration
(From left to right): Triton CEO Patrick Lahey, deep-sea explorer Victor Vescovo, and Captain Don Walsh on stage for Dr. Rick Spinrad's address at Oceanology International 2022. (Image credit: ON&T)

Retired Navy Captain, Don Walsh has passed away at the age of 92. Walsh was a pioneering deep-sea submariner, held a Ph.D. in oceanography, and served 24 years in the US Navy, during which he became the Navy’s first deep-sea submersible pilot.

He dedicated his life to the advancement of ocean exploration, both through his in-field experiences and written work. Just this year, he was presented the Naval Order of the United States’ Admiral of the Navy George Dewey Award. In 2021, he received the National Maritime Historical Society’s Distinguished Service Award.

However, Don Walsh’s most notable achievement was arguably when he piloted the bathyscaphe Trieste in the famed 1960 dive to the Mariana Trench in what was then the deepest dive completed by a human-occupied vehicle. The successful expedition brought him immense credibility and notoriety from the deep-sea exploration community.

The Society for Underwater Technology (SUT) will continue to keep Walsh’s legacy alive through their annual Captain Don Walsh Award for Ocean Exploration.

In a statement released by SUT on November 14, 2023, the organization described Walsh as, “A true renaissance man and someone whose attributes we should all strive to emulate.”


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