Donald R. Briggs, LT
Semmes 1962-1963

Died 20 July 1993, Arlington, VA

BRIGGS, Donald R., Commander, USN (Retired)

After graduation I headed to the USS Saufley EDDE-465 in Key West, Florida. Served as B Division Officer, CIC Officer and Operations Officer conducting new sonar and torpedo evaluation work for OPTEVFOR. I met Aleta at Gordon Wilson's wedding in June 1955 and was married in April, 1956. Our first son Bill was born during our transfer to Newport in November, 1956.

In November 1957 I was assigned Staff COMDESFLOTSIX, in Newport R.I. Served as Aide and Flag Lt. for this traveling staff where we spent most of our time at sea as an OTC for Second Fleet preparing Med replacements in the fine art of fleet air defense. Our second son Bob was born during our transfer to Monterey.

In June 1959 I started Post Graduate School, Monterey, California. Enjoyed three good years of shore duty while picking up an MS in electronics engineering with emphasis on information theory and systems analysis. The academic environment syndrome struck and our first daughter was born in June, 1960.

In June 1962 I reported to USS SEMMES DDG-18, Charleston, S.C. Served as Operations Officer in the Precommissioning detail, commissioning, and shakedown training. We participated in the naval blockade following the Cuban Missile crisis. Having gotten this new ship and crew off to a good start, I had received orders to Command the USS Observer MSO-461 out of Charleston when I received telephone direction to interview with VADM Rickover for nuclear power training.

In October 1963 I went to Nuclear Power School in Vallejo, CA; SIW Prototype Training in Idaho Falls; Submarine School, New London. It was great to have shore duty again, although the three moves to three different states began to get old. Academic environment and late night studies struck again and our fourth child, Katherine Grace, was born in Idaho.

In June 1964 I was ordered to USS Thomas Jefferson SSBN618. Served as MPA, Operations and Supply Officer. Being a Division Officer again was great fun as LCDR while qualifying in submarines.

In March 1965 my next tour was in USS George Bancroft SSBN 643. Served as Executive Officer for six more Polaris patrols.

Then in February 1968 it was USS George Washington Carver SSBN656. Following a short tour in Naval Reactors, took command of Gold crew for six more Polaris patrols. Combined the crews for overhaul, refueling and Poseidon conversion at Electric Boat, then commanded the Blue Crew for two more patrols before retirement in September 1974. Early retirement was possible because of three years enlisted service.

September 1974 - My civilian career commenced when I joined the Potomac Electric Power Company in Washington, D.C. to manage a prospective new nuclear power plant at Douglas Point in Southern Maryland. Fortunately, the plant was canceled before construction began and I shifted careers to managing coal fired electric generating stations. I was promoted to Vice President Production in 1979 and now spend my time keeping the lights on in Washington. 

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