2023-11-14 15:27:42 UTC
Sure, by 2023 there have been fully a dozen brave souls who have dared to take the Challenger Deep dive.
But for decades there had ONLY been two who pulled it off---the late Walsh, a Navy man, along with his submerging partner, the late oceanographer Jacques Piccard. The pioneering pair plumbed the depths of Earth in the white-and-maroon-striped Trieste on Saturday, January 23, 1960. (It's not widely known they elected to not abort their unprecedented plunge even AFTER a crack appeared in a pane of window glass of their tiny compartment during their descent!)
I wouldn't start kindergarten until September 1960, so I at that time couldn't read more than the most basic words. But during the spring I nonetheless visually devoured National Geographic's cover-story treatment of the expedition; so glad my folks were enlightened enough to not merely subscribe to NG, but also leave each issue lying about the house for their two ever-curious sons to absorb.
I know, I know: Titanic director James Cameron followed down there (solo) too--but many, many years later, as also have eight other courageous folk by now. So as far as I'm concerned, sailor Walsh--who died at 92 in Oregon on Sunday--and scientist Piccard remain before all of history in a class by themselves.
(Well, Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay climbed their way into in that extremities-of-the-planet class, too. But THAT was in May 1953, a year prior to my birth, whereas I LIVED through the Trieste feat, I'm so gratified to declare here in the 21st Century.)