Before the time when America made excuses, apologized for being us, was afraid that someone might take offense, we were good. Actually we were great!
The impossible task of raising a Soviet Nuclear submarine nearly 3 miles deep in the Pacific Ocean, and keeping it secret, came to fruition because no one said that couldn’t be done or the Soviets’s might get pissed off. No one questioned going into the final resting place for drowned sailors might be bad karma, just not nice or correct. No one worried about the fish or the possibility of a nuclear explosion.
So, with American steel, American design, American imagination and ingenuity, and American engineering we did it. Global Marine Development Inc., the research and development arm of Global Marine Inc., a pioneer in deep water offshore drilling operations, was contracted to design, build and operate the “Hughes Glomar Explorer” in order to secretly salvage the sunken Soviet submarine from the ocean floor. The ship was built at the Sun Shipbuilding yard near Philadelphia. Billionaire businessman Howard Hughes — whose companies were already contractors on numerous classified US military weapons, aircraft and satellite contracts — agreed to lend his name to the project in order to support the cover story that the ship was mining manganese nodules from the ocean floor, but Hughes and his companies had no actual involvement in the project. The K-129 was photographed at a depth of over 16,000 feet (4,900 m), and thus the salvage operation would be well beyond the depth of any ship salvage operation ever before attempted. On November 1, 1972, work began on the 63,000-short-ton (57,000 tons), 619-foot-long (189 m) Hughes Glomar Explorer (HGE).
On July 4, 1974 they began to raise K-129.