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Oral History interview of Kenneth Lee. Interview conducted by Roark, Phil at The University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL.


1:00 Early life and family; 4:15 Time at Purdue University; 5:51 ROTC experience; 7:09 Early experiences in the Navy; 7:51 Naval Education; 10:04 Transition to Navy life; 10:50 Duties on first submarine; 11:43 Early travel experiences; 12:30 Choosing duty assignment; 13:01 Treatment of ROTC cadets; 13:35 Favorite ports; 14:37 Liberty and leave; 16:11 Keeping contact with family; 16:59 Computer programming at Purdue; 17:19 Teaching at submarine school; 18:39 John Walker and security measures; 20:45 Deployment experiences; 22:30 UNITAS; 23:19 Time spent in Rio de Janeiro; 24:42 Keeping in contact with old shipmates; 25:29 Most memorable experiences in the Navy; 30:17 Leaving the Navy; 31:36 Most memorable submarines; 32:42 Captaining a submarine; 33:06 Jumping the equator; 36:42 Opinions on the past and present roll of submarines; 38:47 Submarine symposiums; 41:00 Career after Navy; 44:40 Visiting Russia; 45:25 Boris Niemtsov; 46:34 Missile test launches; 51:21 Attending a Russian submariners' reunion; 54:26 Public attitudes towards military; 56:31 Volunteering with the Navy League; 57:47 Opinions on recent military operations; 0:59:16 Physical demands of life on submarines; 1:02:06 Opinions on the integration of women on submarines; 1:04:43 End of the Cold War; 1:09:25 Working around nuclear weapons; 1:11:28 Environmental impact of submarines.

Date of Birth


Place of Birth

Fort Wayne (Ind.)




White - Non Hispanic

Home State


War or Conflict

Cold War Era



Begin/End date of Service - 1st



Video; MovingImage


Entrance into Service


Branch of Service

U.S. Navy

Unit of Service

USS Gato (SSN 615); USS Thomas Jefferson (SSBN 618)G; USS Simon Bolivar (SSBN 651)B; USS Sargo (SSN 583); US Naval Submarine School, New London, CT; Sub-Group Five, San Diego, CA; the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington DC

Location of Service

West Lafayette (Ind.); Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

Highest Rank

Captain; CAPT

Prisoner of War


Service Related Injury





Legion of Merit; Meritorious Service Medal; Navy Commendation Medal; Navy Achievement Medal; Navy Expeditionary Medal


Served on 4 nuclear submarines; commanding officer of nuclear submarine USS Gato (SSN 615); naval submarine school instructor; deployment to Mediterranean, 1981; deployment to South America, 1982; fired 7 test missiles (ICBM's) from USS Simon Bolivar (SSBN 641); usher at memorial service for Admiral Hyman G. Rickover.


Served 23 years 3 months in US navy submarine service. Retired from navy Oct. 1988 and worked for Lockheed Martin underwater technologies division in Riviera Beach, Florida for 12 years and retired from there in 2000. Active member of Navy League volunteer organization supporting navy, coast guard, marines and merchant marines, including 3 years as NL Palm Beach council president. Was commissioned through navy ROTC program at Purdue University in 1965 and was inducted into Purdue University ROTC Hall of Fame in 2004. Deployed sub ops. Captain of US Navy O-6. Awarded meritorious service medal four times

City of Birth

Fort Wayne

Country of Birth

United States


Roark, Phil

Interview Date


Location of Interview

The University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL.


Lee, Kenneth A.; Cold War -- Personal Narratives; United States. Navy

Collection Description

Contains logs, audio and video recordings of interviews with Central Florida's veterans as part of a history class project for the students at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The UCF Community Veterans History Project(CVHP) started in fall 2010. It collects, preserves, and makes accessible to the public the experiences of Central Florida's veterans so that future generations will better understand the realities of conflict. It is a collaborative endeavor supported by multiple departments and offices at UCF. The veterans' histories are archived and made digitally available through the UCF library and selected materials are contributed to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.

Contributor Affiliation / Organization

RICHES; University of Central Florida


Roark, Phil

Length of Interview

76 Minutes


Department of History, University of Central Florida




All rights are held by the respective holding institution. This material is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. For permission to reproduce and/or for copyright information contact Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries, (407) 823-2576. http://library.ucf.edu/about/departments/special-collections-university-archives/


University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives

Contributing Project

UCF Community Veterans History Project

Document Type