Robert Lee Krag – Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy

Courtesy of the USS Thresher Website

Robert Lee Krag
Lieutenant Commander

Robert Lee Krag was born on January 5, 1928, in Hannaford, North Dakota, the son of Mrs. Inga Olson Krag and the late Mr. Seren L. Krag.

Robert spent his early boyhood in North Dakota, and attended local schools there. An outstanding student, he as an accomplished musician, and an Eagle Scout. He studied the violin for 11 years and was president of his school symphony, first violinist in the school orchestra, and a member of the drum and bugle corps. He was graduated from Minot High School as covaledictorian of his class in June 1946.

He then entered the Naval Academy and excelled as a student, participated in sports, served as manager of the la crosse team, and was in the drum and bugle corps.

Graduating with the class of 1950, he was assigned his first sea duty in the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA 42), where he served for 3 years.

Selected for postgraduate study, Robert attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology for 3 years, earning his master’s degree in naval engineering, and placing highest in his class in electrical engineering. At MIT, he was a member of Sigman Xi and Tau Beta Pi, professional honor societies. He won first prize in the 1955 essay contest sponsored by Tau Beta Pi. His essay, entitled, “The Uncommon Man,” was made required reading in the executive training program of at least one prominent industrial firm.

After leaving MIT, Robert entered submarine training at New London, Connecticut. Completing the training, he was graduated as honorman, and was awarded the L. Y. Spear Prize. His first assignment in his new field was in the submarine U.S.S. Albacore (AGSS 569), the submarine with the most advanced hull design of any then operating.

He was designated qualified in submarines, and shortly after received orders to report for duty to the supervisor of shipbuilding, Groton, Connecticut, at the electric boat division of the General Dynamics Corp., in March, 1958.

His career from this time was devoted in the building and maintenance of nuclear-powered submarines.

He served as planning and estimating officer for more than 3 years, and received two commendations for his work in connection with the construction of U.S.S. Tullibee (SSN 597), and the modification of U.S.S. Seawolf (SSN 575).

In July 1961, Robert was reassigned to the staff of commander, Submarine Force, U.S.Atlantic Fleet. Robert represented the commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, on all sea trials, and was embarked in Thresher in that capacity when the ship was lost.

Robert had just been elected presiden of the All Souls Unitarian-Universalist Church. Their church school building has been named in his honor.

During his naval service, Robert had earned the World War II Victory Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal with European Clasp, and the National Defense Service medal.

Robert is survived by his widow, the former Olga Sapowicz of Manchester, New Hampshire; sons, Lee Scott, Eric Stewart, and Jeffrey Seren, and his mother, Mrs. Inga Margaret Krag of Minot, North Dakota.


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