Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The SSN-589 mystery: always Silent and Strange

There are conflicting (strange) explanations for what may have happened to the US submarine sunk mysteriously while we were attending submarine school (submariners are not superstitious). Had an intentional act of war by the Soviets sent 99 of our silent service contempories, the Scorpion's crew on May 22, 1968, to eternal patrol?

A new book provides a plausible explanation of tragic events and strange coverup efforts:
Scorpion Down: Sunk by the Soviets, Buried by the Pentagon: The Untold Story of the USS Scorpion

Reviews here. The Navy gave classified briefing on the lost sub about a year later. Although hull photos and a somewhat more detailed narrative were provided, I recall no stated resolution of cause, and lots of hush at the time. Some photos are now on the web.

Deceptions are as legitimately purposeful and routine in the silent service as for FBI undercover agents investigating the mob. Here is an off topic book related to the latter.

Old Gary at Contrary points out more journalistic error in an article about the new submarine book's local author:
"The USS Scorpion nuclear submarine sank in the Mediterranean Sea in May 1968 with the loss of all 99 men on board."The Scorpion actually was lost in the Atlantic Ocean, near the Azores.



At 12 May, 2007 05:19, Blogger Subvet said...

In "The Submarine: A History" Thomas Parrish opines that it was a battery problem with a MK 37 torpedo that caused the sinking. His writing throughout the book shows a lot of attention to detail and, besides being informative, is entertaining.

I'd tend to go with his explanation rather than the one offered by Offley. One problem with conspiracy theories is they never seem to take into account the tendency of your average man in the street to shoot his mouth off. The most popular phrase in any language is, "I know something you don't know"! Sooner or later the one uttering the phrase has to pony up and the secret is out.

Just my opinion.

At 13 May, 2007 13:21, Blogger Vigilis said...

Thanks for commenting, Subvet. Our personal experiences seem to dictate our appreciation of cover stories.

For instance, John K. Lattimer, MD examined 65 X-rays, color photos and black-and-white negatives taken during Kennedy's autopsy, and later told The New York Times the images "eliminate any doubt completely" about the validity of the Warren Commission's conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald fired all the shots that struck the president. Dr. Latimer just died at age 92.

With the necessary secrecy surrounding submarines, no ending ever seems official until a retired admiral writes a book endorsing it, knowing full well that if he lies the truth can come out in 75 years and tarnish his career.


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