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Naval or Submarine history buffs may be interested in this!


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#1 Kirk

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 09:33 AM

Having left the Submarine Service only six weeks before the loss of the USS Scorpian, she went down with several folks on board that I knew. It has always been a mystery as to exactly what happened, or at least to the public and the sub veteran's organizations. This sounds like they may actually determine what happened.

USS Scorpian mystery...............

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#2 just enuf

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 09:46 AM

Having left the Submarine Service only six weeks before the loss of the USS Scorpian, she went down with several folks on board that I knew. It has always been a mystery as to exactly what happened, or at least to the public and the sub veteran's organizations. This sounds like they may actually determine what happened.

USS Scorpian mystery...............


Thanks for that link Kirk... I would have probably missed that news. I've intermittently done searching for "new news" regarding that incident as well as the Thresher loss. I too knew people on the Scorpian when she went down. I was on patrol in the Pacific on the USS Benjamin Franklin (SSBN640)(B) at the time of the incident. We had a SK1 on board that had just been transferred from the Scorpian. (I can't remember his name right now) but it sure made a long patrol a lot longer and tougher for sure...


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#3 Stanley P. Miller

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:25 AM

Interesting article, it would be good to get answers for the public. Either new information or declassifying what we now know after almost 50 years.

I noted the mention of the nuke-tipped torpedoes, reminding me of back-pack nukes the army had for demolition purposes. The whole trick of using the back-packs being how to run far enough away fast enough to survive the blast. I'd expect a nuke torpedo to suffer from the same "how do I not kill myself with this thing" problem in real world use.

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#4 VetRVer

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:57 AM

As a SCUBA diver I've always been interested in shipwrecks of any type. Interesting article and I'd be very interested to see what they find.

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#5 Mark & Dale Bruss

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 12:15 PM

I thought the explanation in Blind Man's Bluff was pretty good. That being that one of the non-nuclear torpedoes the Scorpion was carrying had a battery problem where the the torpedo would cook off in the stored position. And the Scorpion was turned around back toward Spain in an effort to trick the torpedo to shut down using the safeguard of a launched torpedo not turning back and homing on the sub. This was supposed by the appearance of a side internal explosion.

But the story back then sounded better, the Scorpion was messing around with a Russian killer class sub to keep it from tracking a boomer and the game got of control.

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#6 Sheldon

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 01:14 PM

Thanks for the link. I've always been interested in that story and sub ops as well.

#7 WilliamD

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 05:57 PM

Very interesting, thank's Kirk.
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#8 Smitty

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 08:24 AM

Thanks Kirk - I've never served, but a Navy brat. My father was an experimental diver 'in the early days'. Has his name of several patents alongside Swede Momsen. He was one of the divers that was involved in the 37-39 Gax Mixtures. He also was one of lead divers on the Squalus. Blacked out on one of the early dives, and his mate helped him. Good book by Peter Mass 'The Terrible Hours' about the rescue. And and older account 'Blow All Ballast' was good too. Some of my best memories of my Dad, was him sitting around in the backyard with some of his early diving gang talking about the old days. I did not know until I 21, when I lost my Dad, that he was awarded the Navy Cross for the Squalus. It was his nature, he kept things like that to himself.

I really enjoyed reading the link, thanks again for sharing.

Here is a Wiki cut on Swede. You sardine can guys probably know of the diving bell:)!

Best to all, and for those of you who did serve - many, many thanks!
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Gas mixtures
From 1937 to 1939, Momsen led an experimental deep-sea diving unit at the Washington Navy Yard which achieved a major breakthrough in the physiology of the human lung's gas mixtures under high pressure.[1] At depths greater than 30 ft (9.1 m), on pure oxygen, and 270 ft (82 m), on air, the oxygen turns toxic. Underwater, breathing air, nitrogen enters the blood, then tissues, and below 100 ft (30 m) may cause euphoria commonly called "nitrogen narcosis". Also, divers who ascend too rapidly can get decompression sickness, commonly known as "the bends," which happens when nitrogen in the blood forms bubbles. These bubbles can block blood flow and cause intense pain, even death.
In experiments often performed by Momsen himself, the team replaced the nitrogen with nontoxic helium and mixed it with varying levels of oxygen depending on the depth.[2] Today's divers use the knowledge to operate safely deeper than 300 feet (91 m).
[edit]The Squalus rescue

Momsen, already famous for the invention of his Momsen lung, achieved even more fame for directing the rescue and recovery of the 33 crewmen of Squalus,[1] which sank in May 1939 in 243 feet (74 m) of water off the Isles of Shoals, New Hampshire. Working from the submarine rescue ship USS Falcon (ASR-2), Momsen instructed the team of deep-sea divers as they dived to the submarine and attached cables to the rescue chamber. Commander McCann supervised rescue chamber operators as it made four dives to bring the submariners to the surface and a fifth to check the flooded aft section for survivors. The fourth dive was marred by a cable jam, and the chamber had to be hauled to the surface by hand over hand pulling by all on board. All 33 surviving crewmen were rescued.
Momsen led the effort to salvage the Squalus, which took 113 days. She was taken to the drydock at the Portsmouth Navy Yard.
Along with Commander McCann, Momsen received a letter of commendation from President Franklin D. Roosevelt for the successful rescue of the crewmen from the Squalus and the subsequent salvage of the submarine. After her repairs, the Squalus was renamed the USS Sailfish, and the name Squalus was never used by the U.S. Navy again.
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#9 Kirk

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 09:06 AM

Thanks for that link Kirk... I would have probably missed that news. I've intermittently done searching for "new news" regarding that incident as well as the Thresher loss.


There was a lot of information that came from the Thresher loss, even back while I was still in. The CO, LtC Harvey was the XO that I qualified in submarines under while on the Seadragon in Pearly Harbor. There were several others that I knew and Pam was a classmate of James Phillippi. I was nearing completion of the classroom phase of nuclear power school when she went down. Over the years following there was a lot of information that came out about the incident and it was the cause of a major change in refit procedures for boats in the yards, to prevent it from happening again. Thresher is deep, but not as deep as Scorpian and much closer to home. Since Thresher was doing test dives after leaving the shipyard there was a surface ship monitoring the entire incident and so she was never missing like Scorpian was.

The whole trick of using the back-packs being how to run far enough away fast enough to survive the blast. I'd expect a nuke torpedo to suffer from the same "how do I not kill myself with this thing" problem in real world use.

That is absolutely true, or at least it was back in that time. I have been on a boat that had some of those and the target for one was not a ship, but an entire convoy or a harbor. The word was that you launched it and since the early ones were wire guided, you then stayed on target and feed updated information into it for about the first half of it's run. At that point the wire was cut at both ends and the sub was to turn tail and run for their lives in the hope that you could be far enough away to survive the shock wave.

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#10 Stanley P. Miller

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 07:53 PM

Note to self: Find longer wire, bring clean underwear. :-)

I'd rather stick to quiet operations, I never was involved with this one but reading up on it is fascinating.

https://en.wikipedia...ation_Ivy_Bells

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#11 Dick&Joyce

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 08:53 PM

Would be good if the truth could come out after all these years.
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#12 Kirk

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 06:03 AM

I was never a part of that operation as I left the Navy in 68, but we did do some things that as far as I know, have never been discussed publicly. In those days all of the boats at times played some touchy games with the Soviet boats. Our subs were far superior and we knew that. The best explanation that I ever heard for what we did, and the reason why, was given by Captain Buck Dietzen, to his crew on the USS Woodrow Wilson, once while on patrol. He said, "Even if you hold a loaded gun to the head of your enemy, in order for it to be effective you must make certain that your enemy knows that the gun is at his head and than there is nothing that he can do to make it go away."

For those interested in the USS Thresher incident, check this current Legacy of USS Thresher story.

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#13 Trucken

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 04:20 PM

Dont want to hijack your thread Kirk, I was deployed to this ship but was talked out of it by my 22 year old frend, so he and I swapped. I went to Spain and he went to the Liberty.

I came across him twenty years later, both of his legs were gone. he was very bitter about the cover up. Truth has never come out!

http://en.wikipedia....iberty_incident

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