Don Walsh is an explorer, oceanographer, lecturer and former submarine captain. Enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1948, he graduated from Annapolis in 1954. During a 24 year naval career he spent 14 years at sea, mostly in submarines including command. At retirement he held the rank of Captain. Don’s polar experience began with trips to the Arctic in 1955 and the Antarctic with the Navy’s Deep Freeze in 1971. He has worked at both North and South Poles and completed a 74-day circumnavigation of the Antarctic continent. The Walsh Spur (near Cape Hallett) was named for him in recognition of his contributions to the U.S. Antarctic Research Program.
Don may be best known for making oceanographic history in 1960 with Jacques Piccard when they dove 35,800 feet down in the Navy Bathyscaph Trieste to the bottom of the Marianas Trench, deepest place in the world ocean. For this historic descent, Walsh was decorated by President Eisenhower at the White House.
Don is the Author of over 150 articles and papers, and has been an advisor for the White House, NOAA and NASA. He was appointed by Presidents Carter and Reagan to the U.S. National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere, was a member of the Law of the Sea Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of State, and served as a member of the Marine Board of the U.S. National Research Council from 1990 to 1993. In 2001 received the Explorers Club’s highest award, The Explorers Club Medal.