Vice Admiral William Raborn Jr. (1950–1990) is interviewed by writer James Conniff on July 19, 1961. As Director of the Navy’s Special Projects Office, Raborn was tasked with developing the world’s first submarine-launched nuclear ballistic missile. Raborn was given eight years to meet this goal; he delivered the Polaris A1 missile in July 1960 — three years early.
Creating an effective missile system also meant designing a new type of submarines capability of launching them. Under Raborn, the Special Projects Office engineered the first ballistic missile submarines, the USS George Washington (SSBN 598) class.
Conniff conducted this interview as research for a series of articles, co-authored with Raborn, about the new Polaris missiles and submarines. Both the articles and this interview appear to have gone unpublished; they are now in the collection of the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum.
Note: This interview was originally recorded on magnetic tape. There is a small amount of content missing between Part 1 and Part 2 because side one of the tape ran out of space during the interview.