He commanded USS Queenfish (SSN-651) during the latter expedition and for a total of four years. He was subsequently honored with the Societe de Geographic Paris’ Silver Medal for Polar Exploration and La Medaille de La Ville De Paris (Echelon Argent).
A veteran of more than 20 Cold War submarine operations, his awards, as a Cold War submarine captain, include the Distinguished Service Medal, the nation's highest peacetime award; two Legions of Merit and four Navy Unit Citations.
Currently a deep sea explorer and scientist, Captain McLaren completed lengthy dives using the Russian deep-diving MIR submersibles to: R.M.S. Titanic in 1999 and 2003, the Rainbow Hydrothermal Vents along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in 1999, and during June 2001; one of the first manned dives to the wreck of the German battleship Bismarck at a depth of 4,750 meters beneath the sea. He returned to Bismarck in early August 2002 to make a second dive and participate in a comprehensive high definition (HD) filming of the wreck site.
He received The Explorers Club’s Lowell Thomas Medal for Ocean Exploration in 2000. The University of Alabama Press published his first book, Unknown Waters, in 2008. It was subsequently judged a “Notable Naval Book of 2008 by the U.S. Naval Institute.
He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Naval War College. He holds masters degrees from George Washington University and Cambridge (Peterhouse) University, and his PhD from the University of Colorado.