SAN DIEGO — Retired Navy Capt. Walter Mazzone, a decorated submarine officer in World War II and later a key figure in the development of deep-sea diving and submarine rescue procedures during the Cold War, has died at age 96.
As a submariner, Mazzone was involved in two of the war’s most harrowing undersea missions.
For his war service, Mazzone was awarded a Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, and a Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V. He went on seven combat patrols.
Later he was assigned to the Naval Medical Research Laboratory and joined the effort to enhance the Navy’s deep-sea diving capability. With the Cold War underway, U.S. officials believed that maintaining superiority in diving and submarine capability was key to thwarting the Soviet Union at sea.
He became project manager for the Sealab program that sought to test how humans could adapt to long periods on the seafloor.