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Old 05-27-2018, 06:47 PM
Chuck24 Chuck24 is offline
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Default U.S.S Scorpion

Here in the Hampton Roads area, returning ships are always a big deal with live coverage on tv of the families on the pier waiting for the ship to return. On this day 50 years ago I remember watching as the estimated arrival time came and went with the families waiting on the pier in the rain and finally being told to go home. Then the shock when it became apparent that these men would not return. How sad it was, especially when it was later learned that while these families waited, the Navy already knew what the probable outcome was going to be.
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Old 05-27-2018, 07:13 PM
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Yeah, I recall them both, the Scorpion and the Thresher...
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Old 05-27-2018, 07:17 PM
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I had a High School friend that was in the Silent Service. He said it was a taboo to talk of a down sub, so he had nothing to add. Hell of a way to die, playing a game of "Chicken"!

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Old 05-27-2018, 08:47 PM
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A sailor on board the USS Scorpion, Julius Johnston, III, was from my home town. He was a Quartermaster II. He was a graduate of UNC - Chapel Hill. I did not know him, but knew his father and brother very well.
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Old 05-27-2018, 09:00 PM
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I vaguely remember the Thresher loss, but I remember well the loss of the Scorpion as I was 12 years old then and interested in nuclear powered ships. Both were sad losses. It's hard to believe it has been 50 years since her loss.
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Old 05-27-2018, 09:31 PM
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Default USS Scorpion didn't hit me like....

..... I remember plain as day sitting in 3rd grade class when office personnel came and got a girl out of our class. We didn't know what was about, but we knew it wasn't good, especially from the tone of the people that came to get her. The teacher told us what happened when she returned to the class. That hit very close to home. There were a lot of Naval personnel living in the Charleston area back then. We had a Navy Yard and shipyard as well as a brand spanking new 'Naval Weapon's Station' where they loaded 'Polaris' missiles onto submarines. The base was huge, with a lot of forests. It's practically shut down, but you can look on Google Earth and see the areas where they kept the missiles.

Either disaster, though, represents the loss of a lot of good men in a short period of time.
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Old 05-27-2018, 10:00 PM
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When the Thresher was lost, my ship out of Newport RI & several other DD's went looking for it for quite a few days with our sonar.
Never found anything.....
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Old 05-28-2018, 01:01 AM
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Tragic day.

My dad, a WWII navy vet, knew a diver who helped rescue the USS Squalus which sank in 1939. She was raised, renamed the USS Sailfish and won 9 battle stars in WWII.
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Old 05-28-2018, 03:46 AM
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May they all rest in peace.
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Old 05-29-2018, 12:01 PM
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I had a friend 2 years older than myself & we hung around together a lot. When he got out of high school he went into the Navy in 1970. I saw him on his first leave & he told us he was going to training to be on a sub. He made it & told me that was the toughest thing he had ever done or will ever do. He retired after 25 years on what he called a "boomer". Said he spent a lot time under the ice. He was the COB but I can't remember what boat he was on. When he retired he was moving to SC. All his family is gone & I haven't seen him in years. Andy, thank you for your service.
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Old 05-30-2018, 03:44 PM
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Default Scorpion Sinking

I just finished the book "All Hands Down, The True Story of the Soviet Attack on the Scorpion".

No small thanks to that traitor, John Walker, Jr., The Russians were able to decode every message sent to/from Scorpion and knew its track, destination, and mission.

According to the author, the Scorpion was torpedoed by a sub-hunter helicopter launched from a Russian ship. The pic shows the type of helicopter suspected of sinking the Scorpion. Normally armed with two acoustic torpedoes, it took off from one ship and landed at another so no one on the launching ship would see that it landed with just one torpedo. Clever.

The investigation team was directed not to consider an enemy attack as a cause of the sinking. Politics at work again. In my book, intentionally sinking a ship in international waters (mid Atlantic) is an act of war.
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Old 05-30-2018, 04:06 PM
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After all these years, I just can't get that sad image out of my mind of those families standing on the pier waiting for loved ones that were not going to return.
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Old 05-30-2018, 11:41 PM
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Default Scorpion

27 May 1968. I was out and under on patrol! A few days later we received an All Nav Radio message the Scorpion had been lost at sea with all hands on board! Not a word was spoken by 140 men but everyone knew "but for the grace of God, there go I"! May they all rest in peace on their Eternal Patrol!
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Old 05-31-2018, 03:55 AM
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Default Wasn't that the first time......

Quote:
Originally Posted by Targets Guy View Post
Tragic day.

My dad, a WWII navy vet, knew a diver who helped rescue the USS Squalus which sank in 1939. She was raised, renamed the USS Sailfish and won 9 battle stars in WWII.
Wasn't that the first time they used the 'diving bell' to rescue submariners.

Funny store: A friend of mine from the Boston area knew a family that had a stove/oven that came off the Squalus. It was referred to as the 'Squalus stove'.
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Old 05-31-2018, 05:02 AM
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rw, yes, that was the first time a diving bell was used to rescue submariners. I have a paperback book at the house about the whole incident and it also covers Swede Momsen, who was in charge of the rescue. Swede also was heavily involved with designing the rescue bell, the escape lung and mixed gas diving.

I should offer it up as a karma here I guess, for the history buffs like myself. It's not in the best of shape, but it is still readable. The name of it is "The Terrible Hours: The Greatest Submarine Rescue in History" by Peter Maas.
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Old 05-31-2018, 08:57 AM
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The navy learned several valuable lessons from the loss of both submarines, even though the exact cause of both losses is unknown. After the loss of the Thresher, the navy established the SUBSAFE program, where all seawater valves, and all critical parts and equipment, have strict quality control standards, and are fastidiously tracked within the supply system. As a storekeeper I ordered, inventoried, and stored all manor of SUBSAFE parts.
The loss of the Scorpion caused the navy to review, and revise it's overhaul standards. The Scorpion was one of several boats that the navy made to rush through,or skip entirely, scheduled overhaul periods, including periods in dry dock, as a cost saving measure . I understand that the Scorpion was a very unhappy boat, with constant equipment failures, and low crew moral. The generally accepted cause of her loss, is a battery explosion. I believe this explanation totally, because submarine batteries are prone to spectacular failures. If the Soviets sank her, that would be and act of war that could have easily led to WWIII, and the Soviets knew it! The Russians are a lot of things, but stupid isn't one of them.
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Old 05-31-2018, 09:55 AM
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Not really true.
The sinking of the USS Reuben James DD-245 on October 31, 1941, five weeks before Pearl Harbor was attacked.
With the loss of 115 of 160 crewmen, including all officers
The U.S. did not declare war on Germany till Germany declared war on us after Pearl Harbor.
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Old 05-31-2018, 11:29 AM
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Default Amazing...

I love playing internet tag. The Diving Bell was invented by Charles Momsen, who also invented the Momsen Lung. The only time the lung was ever used was in 1945 when the USS Tang got sunk by its own torpedo that ran in a circle. The results aren't very happy. Out of the 13 men who escaped from the forward hatch only 5 were picked up by the Japanese. There were a couple of people on the bridge and one in the conning tower but a total of 78 men were lost.
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Old 05-31-2018, 12:20 PM
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I once worked with a guy who was the supply officer on the USS Chopper, a diesel submarine, that experienced a near-catastophic diving accident in 1969. After the accident, he went back to the surface fleet.
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Old 06-01-2018, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onomea View Post
Yeah, I recall them both, the Scorpion and the Thresher...
I remember listening to the tapes of the Thresher breaking up in QA school at NSSF in Groton. Sobering...
...Pay attention to the procedure and details, and use best work practices as though your shipmates life depended on it, because it did...
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