Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Where is Their Ballad?

Bubblehead of TSSBP has an interesting discussion going related to remembering the men of the USS Scorpion (SSN-589), who were declared lost June 5, 1968 [2], the month before I reported to my first sub.
Unaware she was even missing at the time, I had been in training at Newport, R.I. when the navy realized Scorpion's comms were overdue late in May. Press coverage of Scorpion's loss was almost nonexistent compared to the daily TV-news updates that had prevailed after USS Thresher (SSN-595)'s loss on April 10, 1963.
When should the brave men of Scorpion be remembered? By submariners on the anniversary of their deaths May 22nd? By their families on June 5th, the anniversary of when declared lost? Or by all Americans as submarine sailors memorialized in popular music?
How should these brave men be remembered? As hapless victims of an accident, or as helpless victims of a Soviet aggression (example)? We certainly do not know. Perhaps her brave crew will deserve a bit more than the empty graves and eternal patrol for which they are currently remembered, don't you think?
At the very least, the Scorpion's crew easily deserves a ballad like this, in M.E.'s humble opinon. But, no one will ever write much less sing such a ballad until the Navy reveals all that it has learned from Russia's Cold War archives.
Documents declassified in 1993, made the public aware the Court of Inquiry had considered a possible cause of malfunction was one of Scorpion's own torpedoes, although the panel qualified its opinion saying the evidence it had available could not lead to a conclusive finding about the cause of her sinking. Oddly, the Court of Inquiry appears not to have reconvened after the 1969 Phase II investigation to take testimony from a group of submarine designers, engineers and physicists who spent nearly a year evaluating the data.
Submarines are always silent and strange.



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