The USS Scorpion Buried at Sea | HistoryNet

The USS Scorpion Buried at Sea

By Ed Offley
8/26/2009 • MHQ

Scorpion crewmen come topside in April 1968 as the sub nears another American ship.
Scorpion crewmen come topside in April 1968 as the sub nears another American ship.

Did U.S. and Soviet navy officials deep-six the real reason the American nuclear attack submarine Scorpion sank with 99 sailors aboard?

The crisis exploded without warning across the sprawling U.S. Navy community in Norfolk, Virginia: A nuclear submarine and its crew had vanished in the Atlantic. On May 27, 1968, USS Scorpion (SSN 598) failed to return as scheduled to its home port at the destroyer-submarine pier complex at the southern end of the waterfront.

Within hours the sub’s failure to arrive escalated into a major military crisis that spread to the Pentagon E-Ring and White House. From Atlantic Fleet headquarters to dozens of homes and apartments across Hampton Roads, a day of anticipation and celebration had suddenly turned into an open-ended vigil of fear and uncertainty.

Scorpion and its 99-man crew had left Norfolk on February 15 for a three-month Mediterranean deployment. The crew participated in several naval exercises with the U.S. Sixth Fleet and NATO, conducted ongoing reconnaissance of Soviet naval units in the Med, and paused to enjoy liberty at ports in Italy and Sicily before reentering the Atlantic for the homeward voyage on May 17. Scorpion’s skipper, Commander Francis A. Slattery, had radioed Atlantic Submarine Force headquarters early on May 22 that the sub would arrive in Norfolk at 1 p.m. the following Monday, Memorial Day. Officials had released the arrival date 72 hours earlier and, despite a spring nor’easter that had swept the navy base with high winds and heavy rain, family members and Submarine Squadron 6 officials anticipated seeing the low silhouette of the Skipjack-class submarine coming into view on time.

The 1 p.m. arrival time came and went with no sign of Scorpion. Unknown to the families of the crew, the submarine’s failure to break radio silence by late morning had already sparked concern that by early afternoon was swelling into near panic throughout the Atlantic Submarine Force headquarters staff. At 3:15 p.m. the navy made it official, transmitting a flash message over the Fleet Broadcast System to naval bases from Brunswick, Maine, to Jacksonville, Florida, and out to Bermuda, the Azores, and the Mediterranean. Its terse technical phrases meant only one thing: Scorpion was missing:

Executed Event SUBMISS at 271915Z for USS Scorpion ETA NORVA 271700Z….All submarine units surface or remain surfaced until this message cancelled. Units in port prepare to get underway on one hour’s notice….

The curtain opened on what a navy admiral involved in the Scorpion incident would later describe as “one of the greatest unsolved sea mysteries of our era.” The 251-foot-long submarine and its crew had inexplicably disappeared somewhere in the trackless Atlantic Ocean. For four decades, the navy and U.S. intelligence communities have revealed little about the facts of the Scorpion sinking, citing the need to protect military secrets. The full account of its loss has continued to elude and frustrate researchers, journalists, and family members of the 99 sailors who died aboard the sub. But a careful reexamination of the public record—as well as interviews with former U.S. and Soviet military officials, men involved in the search for the sub, and sailors stationed on Polaris missile submarines on patrol in 1968—suggests the sinking may not have been an accident. Instead, it may have been the outcome of a deadly Cold War confrontation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union that both sides chose to bury at the bottom of the sea.

As documented in press accounts, U.S. Navy situation reports, and the official court of inquiry convened to probe the incident, by nightfall on that Memorial Day, Atlantic Fleet commander Admiral Ephraim P. Holmes had ordered what would become the largest U.S. naval operation since the Cuban Missile Crisis six years earlier. Officials announced that Vice Admiral Arnold F. Schade, the Atlantic Submarine Force commander, was out at sea in the Atlantic in the Connecticut-based nuclear attack submarine USS Pargo (SSN 650), and had directed it to head south at full speed for the Virginia Capes to organize a search of the shallow waters off the East Coast.

Meanwhile, the first members of what would become a task force of nearly sixty ships and submarines and dozens of land-based patrol aircraft raced into the Atlantic that Monday night to search for the missing sub. For nine days the searchers scoured the ocean from the continental shelf to the Azores, looking for any sign of Scorpion. They failed to find a single clue. Nine days later, on June 5, Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, chief of naval operations, declared that both submarine and crew were “presumed lost.”

Throughout June and July 1968, two Scorpion investigations proceeded on parallel paths. A small group of scientific research and support ships headed by the oceanographic research vessel USNS Mizar (T-AGOR 11) scoured an “area of special interest” southwest of the Azores that scientists had identified by examining underwater signals that they believed came from the submarine’s sinking at 1844Z (GMT) on Wednesday, May 22.

In Norfolk a seven-member court of inquiry convened on June 5 to probe Scorpion’s disappearance. In his message appointing retired Vice Admiral Bernard L. Austin president of the Scorpion investigation, Admiral Holmes set out the inquest’s mission: “The Court is directed to inquire into all the facts and circumstances connected with the disappearance of the Scorpion; death of, or injuries to personnel aboard…and to fix responsibility for the incident. After deliberation, the Court shall submit its findings of fact, opinions and recommendations.”

The seven-member panel had legal powers equivalent to those of a civilian grand jury, and the authority to review classified information up to the level of top secret. Its mandate did not include determining criminal guilt or innocence. The court’s chief function was to determine the facts. During eleven weeks of hearings—most of them closed to the press and public due to the classified information under examination—the court took sworn testimony from ninety witnesses and reviewed 232 separate exhibits.

By mid-August, the court had scoured the submarine’s operational and administrative history, reviewed detailed records of its two shipyard overhaul periods since joining the fleet in 1960, examined what records were available on the Mediterranean deployment, and received updates on Mizar’s ongoing “technical” search in the eastern Atlantic. After huddling for two weeks, the panel completed an initial report of over eighteen hundred pages—classified top secret at the time—that Admiral Austin submitted to the navy’s uniformed leadership for review.

Two months later came stunning news: On October 30, 1968, the navy announced that Mizar had found the wreckage of Scorpion. A towed sled gliding fifteen feet above the ocean floor at the end of a three-mile cable had photographed the sub’s broken hull. Several thousand images of the site were rushed back to the United States, where the hastily reconvened court of inquiry met with navy photo analysts to see if the new evidence might lead them to a firm conclusion as to what had caused Scorpion’s destruction.

On January 31, 1969, the navy tersely announced an unclassified summary of the court’s findings. In effect, Admiral Austin and his fellow panelists had thrown up their hands. Their conclusion: “The certain cause of the loss of Scorpion cannot be ascertained by any evidence now available.” For the Scorpion families and many navy personnel, the court’s findings were a major disappointment. The court did rule out foul play, an underwater collision with an undersea mountain, and a reactor malfunction, and expressed confidence in the crew’s training, the submarine’s overall material condition, and the safety of its torpedoes. By implication, the court let stand an unstated premise that some unconfirmed mechanical malfunction had sent the submarine plunging to the Atlantic abyssal plain two miles down.

For fifteen years afterward, that was the extent of what the navy, submarine service, Scorpion families, and the public knew about what had happened to the sub and its crew. Citing the operational requirements of the nuclear submarine force and the sensitivity of all information on the Skipjack-class submarine’s capabilities, the navy kept the Scorpion archive locked away in a top-secret vault.

However, when I talked with Admiral Schade, the retired Atlantic Submarine Force commander, fifteen years after Scorpion’s mysterious demise, he lifted a corner of the navy’s opaque security cloak that had long concealed most details of the incident. In an interview for a fifteenth-anniversary retrospective article on the tragedy, Schade offered up details of events in May 1968 that contradicted the official account of the sub’s disappearance.

Despite the many unknowns that still kept the Scorpion narrative incomplete, on one key point U.S. Navy officials, reporters, ordinary sailors, and family members had all agreed: The crisis had flared up suddenly—on that May 27, after Scorpion’s 1 p.m. arrival time passed with no sign of the submarine. Slattery had announced the arrival date and time in an encrypted message to Atlantic Submarine Force headquarters composed late on May 21.

Officials briefing reporters in the hectic first days of the Scorpion search had related the sub’s last known position as 29:19 north 27:37 west, about 400 miles southwest of the Azores. The message, officials said, also included Slattery’s homeward course track. Admiral Schade and other staff officers who appeared before the court of inquiry said the same thing: The crisis had begun on May 27.

Captain Wallace A. Greene, who as Submarine Division 62 commander in 1968 was responsible for Scorpion and three other nuclear attack boats, remained adamant on that point many years later: “There was no reason for us to have been the slightest concerned for her safety.” Schade himself had flown to Connecticut earlier that Monday morning for the ride on Pargo.

A second premise on which all officials agreed was that Scorpion had been operating under radio silence following the transmission of the May 21 message, a common practice for submarines at sea. This explained why there was no concern in Schade’s headquarters in Norfolk over the lack of messages from the submarine during the five-day period between the actual sinking on May 22 and its scheduled arrival on Memorial Day. In his own testimony to the court of inquiry on June 5, Schade mini­mized the significance of his command’s lack of awareness that anything had happened to Scorpion: “Polaris subs go on 60-day patrol and never broadcast,” he explained to the court.

But when he talked with me in April 1983, Schade revealed that Scorpion’s radio silence had in fact been a cause for concern. He disclosed that the Atlantic Fleet had actually launched a highly classified search for Scorpion sometime shortly after May 22. When pressed, he said the submarine’s failure to respond to a message from his headquarters prompted the alert. “We got that position report,” Schade said of the May 21 Scorpion message. “That was the basis for our initial search operation. But that was really all we had and we didn’t consider that too significant, other than just as the last known position that we actually had. They were due to report in to us shortly thereafter. It was at that time we got a little suspicious, because they did not report, they did not check in, and then, when we got to the time limit of their ‘check-in,’ they were first reported as overdue.”

Pressed on this point, Schade elaborated: “As far as we were concerned, all was clear and she should have kept coming and then within about 24 hours after that she should have given us a rather long, windy resume of her operations and what she would need upon her return to port…you know, transition from one command to another, homeward-bound voyage. We have absolute confidence in our communications, both in the reception and the response and when they did not respond, almost immediately that’s when we first became suspicious, that’s when we followed up with other messages, and really, it was just a matter of hours that we became somewhat concerned.”

Realizing that no one’s memory is perfect, it was not unreasonable to surmise that fifteen years after the event, Schade’s recollections might have been incomplete or inaccurate. But then the old submariner made another surprising revelation: “I happened to be out at sea in the Ray [SSN 653], which was the…”

Q: (Referring to press reports that Schade had been aboard the Groton-based Pargo on the morning of May 27): “Was this off Connecticut?”
A: “No, I was out at sea off Norfolk in the Ray, which was the flagship of the [Atlantic] Submarine Force, and when we first got the report and it looked like we needed to do something in the way of a search operation, I got Admiral Holmes on the radio and said, ‘Would you place the facilities of CINCLANTFLT [commander in chief, Atlantic Fleet] at my disposal for the next day or two until we can organize a search operation?’”

Q: “Was this before May 27?”
A: “I can’t remember the dates. As soon as we were concerned that she had not checked in.”

Q: “SUBMISS was declared several hours after the Scorpion’s arrival time on 27 May. Was this before…”
A: “No—well before her scheduled arrival because we worked back from Norfolk all the way to her last reported position, which was in the neighborhood of the Azores.”

Q: “Prior to the day she was supposed to get back you had already asked CINCLANTFLT if he could put some resources at your disposal?”
A: “Well in advance of that. And in fact, he had placed them all at our disposal and this was quite an amazing set of operational circumstances because we controlled the entire resources of the Atlantic Fleet from a submarine at sea. Working through CINCLANTFLT headquarters and their communications, but we organized a search from both ends—both by air and surface ships and other submarines.”

Q: “The [newspaper] clips don’t tell all of the story. You’re saying that you were looking for Scorpion before the 27th of May?”
A: “All I know is that long before she was actually due in Norfolk we had organized a search effort. We had two squadrons of destroyers, a lot of long-range antisubmarine search planes operating out of the Azores, Norfolk, and other areas, and we had several ships that were in the Atlantic that were in transit between the Med and the U.S. Some [were] diverted [and] some of them were just told to come over to the track which we presupposed the Scorpion would be on. They searched up and down that. This went on for quite some time, until it was quite obvious that she was long overdue arriving in Norfolk.”

Q: “But you kept this on a classified basis?”
A: “Well, it was classified more because we didn’t know where she was or what had happened and we were just trying to find out. It was no sense making a big brouhaha over something we really couldn’t explain.”

The admiral’s revelations suggested that there was a lot more to the story of what had happened to Scorpion than the navy had publicly revealed. Moreover, it became apparent that winnowing out the actual Scorpion story from the official account would take more than a recitation of known facts and newly released details.

To begin with, a veil of secrecy surrounded Scorpion’s final operational assignment before it sank on May 22. Shortly after reentering the Atlantic, Schade diverted Scorpion nearly twelve hundred miles south of its homeward track to conduct surveillance on a group of Soviet warships—including at least one nuclear submarine—operating near the Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa. The court of inquiry noted the presence of the Soviet ships but was silent on whether or not Scorpion had conducted any surveillance against them, noting only that the evidence it had reviewed showed no indication of hostile Soviet acts. Schade in 1983 told me he had indeed dispatched Commander Slattery to spy on the Soviets, but backpedaled on whether or not the mission had actually occurred. Navy officials and declassified documents paint contradictory conclusions, with some asserting that the mission took place and others denying it.

Nevertheless, the pre-May 27 search revealed by Schade remained a key for penetrating the navy’s security cloak on the Scorpion incident. Two other senior admirals serving in 1968—Thomas A. Moorer and Philip A. Beshany—confirmed during on-the-record interviews that the secret search had indeed taken place. Moreover, sailors on several Atlantic Fleet ships that participated in that classified hunt later provided compelling details of a sudden scramble to sea four days before May 27, so abrupt that in at least two instances it resulted in large numbers of the ships’ crews being left behind.

The significance of the secret Scorpion search was pivotal to uncovering the details of what had really happened to the sub. Schade and Admiral Moorer, the chief of naval operations at the time, had both explained that the secret search effort was a precautionary step ordered after their concern had grown over the submarine’s failure to respond to messages. They explained the navy’s failure to subsequently reveal the existence of that search—even when Scorpion’s disappearance could no longer be concealed after May 27—as an effort not to further upset the grief-stricken families.

That rationalization, however, failed to explain why Schade and others did not reveal the secret search to the court of inquiry charged with determining what had happened to Scorpion. To this day, the official navy line is that such a search never took place.

Troubling mysteries also surround the five-month span between the time the navy declared the submarine presumed lost on June 5 and the announced discovery of the wreckage two miles down in the eastern Atlantic on October 30. Responding to acoustic evidence, the “focused operations” search involving Mizar initially plotted an area about twelve miles by twelve miles wide in what was believed to be Scorpion’s final resting spot, several hundred miles southwest of the Azores.

As the weeks turned into months, the ship doggedly dragged a sled mounted with strobe lights, cameras, magnetometers, and sonar transducers across the seabed in the search area. It was, one official later recalled, “like looking through a soda straw to find a lost contact lens in the front yard, at midnight in the rain.” With little sign of progress, the tragedy eventually faded from the newspaper pages and public interested waned. Then, on October 30, came the stunning news: The navy announced that the searchers had located the lost sub’s hull. Thousands of images of the torn hull photographed by Mizar’s towed sled provided the navy with new evidence in its search for a cause of the sinking.

In retrospect, it appears that this dramatic five-month technical search for Scorpion was an elaborate charade. During a span of fourteen years (1993-2007), several dozen participants in the classified pre-May 27 search, the highly publicized open-ocean search-and-rescue mission, and the Mizar search have admitted that the navy actually knew where the Scorpion wreckage lay on the Atlantic seabed from the outset.

Numerous participants in the Scorpion search mission confirm that the navy actually located and photographed the submarine’s wreckage nearly five months before Mizar’s “official” discovery on October 28. “We found that submarine…in the early part of June,” said Bill Sebold, a crewman aboard Compass Island, a ship with advanced sonar capabilities that used multibeamed sounding instruments to create detailed contour maps of the deep-ocean floor. His account is echoed by several other crewmen on the ship, including Bill D’Emilio, who said unequivocally, “I was on board the Compass Island when we found the Scorpion.”

Why did the navy not merely announce the discovery of the submarine when it actually occurred in early June 1968? One possibility is that the five-month Mizar search was carried out to make it appear that the submarine’s loss was an accident and the searchers had no specific idea where it had gone down. That five-month timeline conformed to the known limitations in naval deep-ocean search technology at the time. With the same technology, it had taken the navy fourteen months to find the debris of the nuclear submarine USS Thresher (SSN 593) after it sank in April 1963—even though a submarine rescue ship was in voice contact with Thresher immediately before it sank and had a precise navigational fix on the location of that 1963 mishap.

With the Scorpion wreckage now officially found, the court of inquiry wrapped up its investigation, issuing a final report on January 31, 1969, concluding that even with the photographic evidence, the “certain cause” for the loss remained unknown. The court privately elaborated on that conclusion—in a secret section of its findings that would not be declassified and released for twenty-five years—that the most likely cause of the sinking was a runaway Mark 37 torpedo that was accidentally launched by Scorpion itself and turned on the submarine, homing in and striking it.

Skeptics offer an alternative explanation. They speculate that the sub had in fact been attacked and destroyed by a Soviet submarine in revenge, because Soviet officials believed that the U.S. Navy had been complicit in the sinking of the Golf II–class missile submarine K-129 in the Pacific on March 7, 1968. That was the sub that the CIA–financed ship Glomar Explorer attempted to lift off the Pacific seabed in the mid-1970s.

Support for this theory comes from the accounts of sailors at shore stations, on surface ships, and even aboard submerged missile submarines on patrol who have broken the official silence about the incident in recent years. They have disclosed that Scorpion had radioed Norfolk that it was being followed by a Soviet submarine and could not evade it—right before communications suddenly ended.

In face-to-face interviews, telephone calls, e-mails, and correspondence since 1998, dozens of former naval officers and enlisted men have provided new information about Scorpion’s final days. Taken together, their testimonials depict a steadily growing crisis over Scorpion that began when the Norfolk-based sub reentered the Atlantic on May 17, 1968, and culminated in a confrontation five days later that left it at the bottom of the ocean.

Rear Admiral Philip A. Beshany, who was serving as director of submarine warfare on Moorer’s staff when Scorpion suddenly disappeared, provided a critical piece of the puzzle that neither Admirals Schade nor Moorer had ever revealed: In all likelihood, the Scorpion surveillance mission against the Soviet warships off the Canary Islands had been blown.

“There was a lot of classified material relating to the Soviet group [circulating in the Pentagon at the time],” Beshany explained. “In fact, there was some concern that the Scorpion might have been trailed and sunk by them, that they had tracked our submarine and decided [it] had seen things they didn’t want divulged….They had been alerted to the presence of Scorpion. They [U.S. intelligence and navy officials] had reason to believe at that time…that they might have detected her, trailed her and decided they would just eliminate her.” Beshany said the information was at a level of classification so high that he and his colleagues would sometimes jest that it was a “burn before you read category.”

Moreover, dozens of individuals who had been drawn into the Scorpion search at sea the week of May 20, 1968, provided explicit and repeated confirmation of Beshany’s disclosure. When, at Schade’s request, Admiral Holmes ordered surface ships and submarines to hunt for Scorpion during the week of May 20, his alert message included specific reference to the fact that the Soviets were trailing Scorpion. The message also said that the American sub had sent a message to Norfolk saying it was unable to elude its shadower. On surface ships, in subs, and in squadron ready rooms, sailors of all ranks and duties were aware of the ongoing encounter between Scorpion and the Soviet sub. Indeed, word that Scorpion had reported its inability to shake the Soviet submarine was so hot that it rocketed over the Navy Fleet Broadcast System to Polaris submarines on patrol. Two Polaris sub crewmen provided me with examples of the details of the ongoing Scorpion confrontation that they had learned as the crisis grew.

Ron Rule was a storekeeper on USS Nathanael Greene (SSBN 636), patrolling the North Atlantic during the week of May 20, when his commanding officer made an announcement over the ship’s 1MC loudspeaker. “What I remember about the incident is the announcement over the 1MC that the Scorpion was missing. Obviously, this was a very sobering announcement, and it had an immediate effect on all of us,” Rule recalled. “A very somber mood immediately came over all of us.”

He remembered that the information the commanding officer relayed to Nathanael Greene’s crew was explicit and detailed: “The announcement continued that what was known about Scorpion was that she was in transit back to the United States after her mission, and that she thought she was being tailed and asked for instructions as to what to do, e.g., go check it out or simply continue in transit. We were told that that was the last that was heard from her. I remember thinking and talking about the possible scenarios, ‘Russian submarine’ being foremost on most, if not all, of our minds.”

Another Nathanael Greene crewman confirmed Rule’s account. Frank Greene said he learned of Scorpion even before the formal announcement. “I was a quartermaster, and all information generally flowed through us pertaining to navigation. Word spreads quickly among a crew of 130,” he said. Nathanael Greene was returning to its home port in Charleston, South Carolina, from a seventy-day patrol when the message about Scorpion came in, Greene recalled. “We were nearing Bermuda,” he said, “when we received orders from Subflot 6 to plot new courses in order to assist in the search for USS Scorpion.” Greene concluded that the sub had been sunk by a Soviet torpedo. “The U.S. Navy has listening devices all over the floor of the ocean and taped everything.”

Despite official denials, several informed sources allege the top-secret Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) had indeed recorded an underwater duel between Scorpion and a Soviet submarine that ended when the Soviet launched a torpedo that struck and sank the American submarine. One former SOSUS operator, Vince Collier, came forward decades later to tell in chilling detail how he and other sailors in SOSUS School were shown a bootleg copy of the tape that graphically depicted the death of Scorpion.

The instructor who played the tape, Ocean Systems Technician Analyst First Class Richard Falck, confirmed the details in an on-the-record interview. Former SOSUS officials revealed that within hours of the sinking, the navy raided SOSUS facilities worldwide to seize all evidence—hydro-acoustic tapes, “lofargram” printouts, and documents—that pointed to the Soviet attack on Scorpion.

If the Soviets did in fact sink the Scorpion, navy officials at the time surely would have been mystified at how the Soviets could have overcome the clear technological superiority of an American nuclear submarine. They would not learn for nearly two decades a critical “unknown unknown”—in former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s now-famous phrase—that the only operational U.S. nuclear submarine to be lost at sea may have been caught up in a massive Soviet intelligence operation. By early 1968 that operation had led to the seizure of the electronic reconnaissance ship USS Pueblo and produced the infamous Walker Spy Ring, which ripped open the navy’s top-secret coded communications channels to Soviet intelligence, until the conspirators were identified and arrested in 1985.

Captain Peter Huchthausen, a former U.S. naval attaché to the Soviet Union during the early 1980s, revealed during a series of interviews with me that he was convinced the U.S. and Soviet navies had quickly reached a highly classified accord soon after the Scorpion sinking.

Conversations with top Russian officials, including Vice Admiral Ivan M. Komarov, led him to conclude that the U.S. and the Soviet Union had agreed to suppress evidence about the demise of Scorpion, as well as the sinking of the Soviet sub K-129 a few weeks earlier, in order to forestall a politico-military crisis that could easily have flared into a general war between the two countries. Huchthausen had a subsequent conversation, after his retirement from active service, with retired Admiral Viktor A. Dyaglo, who in 1968 had commanded the Soviet submarine division to which K-129 had been attached. Huchhausen claimed Dyaglo told him there “was an unofficial agreement by senior submariners on both sides” that would prevent anyone from ever learning the full account of what had caused the two submarine sinkings.

The Scorpion incident did not occur in a vacuum. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, scores of top-secret U.S. reconnaissance aircraft were attacked and some were shot down while attempting to spy on Soviet military capabilities. The U.S. Navy conducted aggressive tactics using submarines to spy on their Soviet counterparts. The Soviets in turn used spies and their military allies to wage limited war against America, as new information about the seizure of Pueblo shows.

A popular historical theory of the Cold War is that fear of nuclear war deterred the United States and the Soviet Union from engaging in a direct military confrontation. What the Scorpion incident suggests is that rather than preventing such confrontations, it merely drove them into the shadows.


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343 Responses to The USS Scorpion Buried at Sea

  1. Jerry L. Huffman says:

    I will go to my grave believing that the Russians sank the USS SCORPION. I will never forget the “99” as long as I live. YNCS, USN

    • Bruce Rule says:

      The following summary was sent to the Chief of Naval Operations, the Director of Naval Intelligence, Commander Submarine Forces and the Naval History and Heritage Command.


      When the US nuclear submarine SCORPION (SSN-589) was lost in the
      eastcentral Atlantic on 22 May 1968, the event produced a series of
      acoustic signals detected by underwater sensors on both sides of the

      By comparing the detection times of these signals, the position of the
      SCORPION was determined. That position provided the basis for the
      search that identified the SCORPION wreckage. The wreck is located precisely on the planned track (to Norfolk) at the distance from SCORPION’s reported position at 220001 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) May consistent with the planned speed of advance of 18-knots.

      The first reanalysis of these acoustic signals in 40-years, in
      combination with conclusions drawn in 1970 by the SCORPION Structural Analysis Group (SAG) and imagery of the wreck, has provided the following new information:

      – The initiating events that caused the loss of SCORPION were two
      explosions with an energy yield of not more than 20-lbs of TNT each.
      These explosions, which occurred one-half second apart at 18:20:44 GMT on the 22 May 1968, were contained within the SCORPION pressure-hull,

      – Based on the examination and microscopic, spectrographic and X-ray diffraction analysis of a section of the SCORPION TLX-53-A main storage battery cover recovered from the wreck-site by the U.S. submersible,TRIESTE-II, the SAG determined the battery probably exploded before flooding of the battery well occurred.

      – Collectively, this physical evidence and the acoustic data confirm
      SCORPION was lost because of two explosions that involved the ignition
      of hydrogen out gassed by the battery, i.e., these explosions were the
      initiating events responsible for the loss of SCORPION.

      – These explosive events prevented the crew from maintaining
      depth-control. The SCORPION pressure-hull and all internal compartments collapsed in 0.112-seconds at 18:42:34 GMT on 22 May 1968 at a depth of 1530-feet. The energy yield of that event was equal to the explosion of 13,200 lbs of TNT, the essentially instantaneous conversion of potential energy (680 psi sea pressure) to kinetic energy, the motion of the water-ram which entered the pressure-hull at supersonic velocity.

      – Imagery of the wreck indicates the SCORPION pressure-hull collapsed at two points separated by about 100-feet. The second collapse was triggered by the shock-wave from the first collapse which propagated
      through the pressure-hull at the speed of sound in steel (about 15,000
      f/s); hence, the time separating the two collapse events was
      approximately 0.007-seconds.

      – The acoustic data indicate the sink-rate of the SCORPION wreckage could not have exceeded 28-knots and probably was about 14-knots based on the instrumented intentional sinking of the USS STERLET (SS 392).

      – The more than 15 acoustic events that occurred during the 199-second period following pressure-hull collapse were produced by the collapse of more pressure-resistant structures, including the six torpedo tubes, within the wreckage. The final collapse event, probably a small
      spherical structure, occurred at a depth of about 6000-feet.

      – During the 152-second period that elapsed between pressure-hull
      collapse and the 11th acoustic event in the series of more than 15
      follow-on small collapse events, the difference in arrival (detection)
      times of these signals by underwater sensors located to the east and to
      the west of the wreck-site changed not more than plus/minus one-half
      second. This requires the wreck to have sunk with a departure from the
      vertical of not more than 100-feet at depths between 1530- and
      3600-feet, an assessment supported by the distribution of the major
      wreck components on the bottom at a depth of 11,100-feet. This
      measurement also is consistent with the conclusion that the force of
      the collapse event was sufficient to cancel all pre-existing directions of

      – Reanalysis of the acoustic data also confirmed: (1) SCORPION did not reverse course to deal with a torpedo conjectured to have become active in its launch tube; (2), there were no acoustic detections of either a
      torpedo or any other naval surface ship or submarine when SCORPION was lost, and (3), there were no explosive events external to the SCORPION pressure-hull.

      In summary, SCORPION was lost because the exothermic effects of two
      battery-associated explosions incapacitated the crew who could not then
      maintain depth control. There was no Soviet involvement with the loss of
      the USS SCORPION (SSN 589).

      Those who place any credence in the conspiracy theories that the Soviets sank SCORPION should read my reviews of SCORPION DOWN and RED NOVEMBER. If you want the detailed technical assessments upon which the above conclusions are based, write the Naval History and Heritage Command and request copies of my letters of 14 Mar, 3 Apr, 30 Jun and 28 Oct 2009 via the Freedom of Information Act.

      Bruce Rule

      • bob hughes STSCSS says:

        I served on Scorpion form Jan 65 till Aug 67 as leading St and stood many Diving Officer Watches. In all the info I have read concerning the loss of Scorpion, I have yet to hear about the unstability of that class of boat in a high speed turn.

    • Bruce Rule says:

      I should have added the following to my comment posted at 1107 on 23 Jan 2011:

      – This information, which identifies two battery explosions as the initial events that resulted in the loss of the SCORPION may be posted elsewhere as useful in convincing the Navy to terminate Project OSTRICH and acknowledge why that disaster occurred.

      – In 2003, the originator wrote what remains the official classified Navy assessment of the acoustic, temporal and dynamic characteristics
      of submarine pressure-hull and internal bulkhead collapse events. All data used to derive the noted conclusions were derived from unclassified material that had been in the public domain for nearly 40-years. The Office of Naval Intelligence, for whom the originator worked for 42-years, did not
      hold any SCORPION acoustic data until the originator provided it in Nov 2009.

      – Jerry Huffman: I hope that, when you go to your gave, you will not still be misinformed with regard to why the SCORPION was lost, i.e., a battery explosion; there was no Soviet involvement.

      Bruce Rule

    • John Wouldridge says:

      A torpedo contacting and exploding against the USS Scorpions bow at depth would have made it totally unrecognizeable. It would have blown the bow to pieces. That would have been an act of war had she been torpedoed. The USS Thresher, I believe she had a reactor scram at great depth while at negative bouyancy and could not restart while slowly sinking until she imploded. I was 12 years old in 1963 and my father was in submarines home ported in Groton at the New London Submarine Base. That was a very sad day when that happened. In fact a few kids at my school, Pleasant Valley Elementary, lost their dads on that boat. My dads best friend, CSC Rufus Weaver was to report to Portsmouth, N.H. 0001 10 April 1963 before she departed and ride her out for tests and then arrive at New London. The thing that prevented that from happening was that the sailor he was to replace, told Weaver that he would ride the USS Thresher to New London and the transfer would happen then. Rufus Weaver still has his copy of those orders to this date. I saw them when I visited him two years ago.

      • Bruce Rule says:

        John Wouldridge:

        I concur with your conclusion that THRESHER experienced a reactor scram while heavy at test depth and sank to collapse before the reactor could be restarted. There was not in 1963 – nor is there now – any evidence to support the conjecture by the Board of Inquiry (BOI) that the rupture of a silver-brazed, sea-connected pipe was the initiating event responsible for the disaster. That conjecture was advanced in the absence of any then more acceptable explanation. The BOI considered it “inconceivable” the 593 could have been lost because of operator error.
        In May 1963, I testified before the BOI, with supporting testimony from two others. That testimony incontrovertibly identified the initiating event responsible for the loss of THRESHER. Those testimonies reportedly were stricken from the record by VADM Rickover. I’m still working on this issue in an attempt to get the Navy to acknowledge the cause of an event that occurred almost 48-years ago. Will advise if there is any progress, but note, I am not sanguine with regard to this possibility. Bruce Rule

    • RK ALLEMAN says:

      My silence on this matter has also ended. The book I wrote on this mystery was not published, and I was advised not to publish it from the standpoint of the Navy Department. Well, the fact is the proof the Scorpion offloaded its MK-45 inventory prior to making the transit across the Atlantic should have been mentioned from the outset. Ergo, there is no ‘stinger’ theory to suggest it was cooked by its own weapons, meaning a malfunction either in the tubes, or a reversal homing. I was on watch, a mid-watch, at the time I first heard the Mayday of “Brandywine,” and that was 2:30 in the morning, not the afternoon that “Newsweek” mentioned in its article. I was in Gtmo at the time and “Ivanhoe,” that was in charge of H-Com cleared the network, so that I could work with the Scorpion. Her message was 3 by 5, though still readable. We were in contact, briefly, for a few times, and then she went down for her last dive. If the U. S Department, and the Navy Department, and President Johnson, et al., were more forthcoming in their reports to the American citizens, their declaration of the Scorpion and a collision with a Golf Class II Ruskie, might have been easier to accept. But the Scorpion was way overdue for a reactor overhaul, and this being the Tet Offensive time of the year, and because relations with the Russian Government were awry to say the least, it was decided to create another myth about this haunting incident. I think I’ll pitch this book again and see where it goes, I mean now that there are more people, like me, who are willing to say “Hell no!” And that is no way to treat a submarine and her crew, besides. I’ll use my nom de plume for the time being. I mean, we know how the so-called intelligence agency folks like to make people disappear, at least those who want to tell some secrets about some of the nonsense that goes on in this government. I also worked for one of those agencies at the naval base. They’re not the kind of people I want to pal around with or anything else. RK Alleman

      • Bruce Rule says:

        R. K. Alleman:

        In response to your numerous postings on the loss of SCORPION, the
        following information is provided, much of which repeats earlier postings
        I made on this and other sites.

        – SCORPION message 220001Z May provided a position for that time and stated her course for the remainder of the transit to the Norfolk SUBLANE would be 290 and her SOA would be 18-knots.

        – The SCORPION wreck site lies bearing 290 from the 220001Z position at a distance from that position consistent with an SOA of 18-knots, i.e., the wreck is 33 nautical miles (nm) from where SCORPION should have been at 18-knots at 18:20:44Z, the time of the battery explosions. This is well within the allowed position limits for a transiting submarine to be relative to a projected track at 18-knots which permits a moving box from 50 nm in advance of the projected position to 100 nm behind – this to avoid any conflicts with other submarines.

        – These data indicate SCORPION was deep and transiting at very close
        to her planned SOA – specifically, 16.9 knots for the entire period from
        0001Z to 18:20:44Z, the time of the battery explosions. Had SCORPION
        spent any time at periscipe depth to transmit or operated at reduced speeds, the wreck would not have been located at the position where it was imaged on the bottom.

        Collectively, all available information – both the acoustic data and the metallurgical analysis of the recovered battery component – indicate the initiating events responsible for the loss of SCORPION were the battery explosions that were contained within the pressure-hull and which would have incapacitated the crew, i.e, there were no problems on SCORPION until the battery explosions at 18:20:44Z on 22 May 1968.

        Again, it is suggested you read my one-star reviews of
        SCORPION DOWN and RED NOVEMBER for additional information,

        Bruce Rule

    • RKAlleman says:

      Imagine being a radio operator who got Brandywine’s brief SOS’s. That was me, Barbaric, and her signal was 3 X 5. She never responded, so I can’t be sure my signal ever reached her. Still, there was a similar radioman’s voice on the other end of that haunting S.O.S. I also live with the crew somewhere in my mind and heart.


      • Bruce Rule says:

        R. K. Alleman:

        Did you maintain a log of (SOS) messages you intercepted from SCORPION on 22 May 1968?

        Was such a log provided to the SCORPION Board of Inquiry in 1968?

        Does such a log still exist?

        Bruce Rule

      • RK ALLEMAN says:

        Bruce, that traffic and recording of same on HiCom (Norfolk’s broadcast to the network) was turned over, and I believe to Comsublant. “Ivanhoe” had cleared the broadcast to allow me time to work with Brandywine, which I believe was about two hours, starting sometime after midnight on the 21st. I do not know if such an entry was submitted to the Board of Inquiry. Should have been. I do know there was an article written by “Newsweek” months later (and I can’t be sure of the time) that mentioned there was a sailing vessel somewhere in the Caribbean that reportedly picked up an SOS, but the time was listed as 2:30 p.m., not a.m. Besides that incident took place, as you know, early in the a.m. So, that is all I can tell you about the matter. Perhaps you know more about such. You appear to have a lot of information I certainly never had. RK

      • John Wouldridge says:

        I did hear about that “Brandywine S.O.S” that was picked up and reported by a sailing vessel at the time the Scorpion sank. They never again heard from that sailing vessel and I believe the Navy thought it was a hoax. I was a radioman in the Navy. I went to A-school in Bainbridge for 2300 and 2304 training. My dad who retired Radioman CPO in 1965, was off of subs at the time and was assigned to communication Bldg. 119 at the New London, Submarine Base when the Thresher went down.

      • Bruce Rule says:


        I have no information from any Navy source. Everything I know was derived from unclassified open source acoustic and collateral data. A naval activity is very upset with what I have published and has initiated a security investigation which will go nowhere because they cannot prove I got any of my data from classified sources, i.e., all of it was obtained after I ended my 42-year career in acoustics at ONI.

        I am perplexed about the timing of the intercepts you refer to. As previously noted, the last SCORPION message I have any info on was transmitted at 220001Z – the first minute of the new day ZULU 22 May.
        Can you confirm the times of the SOSs you refer to. Thanks.


      • Bruce Rule says:


        Among the unclassified SCORPION acoustic data I recovered from the public domain were the original Columbia University Canary Island Hydroacoustic Station helicorder (paper) displays of detection of the
        acoustic events associated with that disaster. These displays were
        hand-annoted with the date of 22 May and the times of each event.

        There is absolutely no doubt the battery explosions occurred at 18:20:44Z
        and the SCORPION pressure-hull collapsed at 18:42:34Z on 22 May 1968.

        How all of this fits in with your intercepts and the 220001Z May message
        from SCORPION that gave position, course and speed to Norfolk, I
        cannot assess.


    • rhonda cook says:

      hello,my name is rhonda,my father robert e bryan on the uss scorpion that went down in 66.i am the baby of mother never remarried or had a boyfriend.she really loved my dad.i was only 2 .dont know mother has been one time to washington to see his tombstone.never had the money to go .she will be 80 in 2 months.she is the best mother ever.rhonda cook

    • cl doherty says:

      I agree with Mr. Huffman. John Walker had given the Russians the codes.I was waiting for the boat that awful day.Some good friends were lost when the Scorpion went down.My heart still aches. The Navy’s actions with the families at that time was dispicable and deplorable.

      • Denise (Foli) Jarratt says:

        yes the navy’s actions at the time were deplorable and questionable. I also agree with Mr. Huffman’s statement

    • Denise (Foli) Jarratt says:

      thank you Mr. Huffman.

  2. Kevin Connelly says:

    Words from a song by Phil Ochs (a protest singer of the 60’s of all things). For some reason the incident stuck in Phil’s mind and he felt that the popular media was ignoring the incident.

    This one sticks in my mind, a melancholy song and unsettling lyrics.

    Let’s not forget these men.

    “The Scorpion Departs Never to Return”

    by Phil Ochs

    Sailors climb the tree, up the terrible tree
    Where are my shipmates have they sunk beneath the sea?
    I do not know much, but I know this cannot be
    It isn’t really, it isn’t really,
    Tell me it isn’t really.

    Sounding bell is diving down the water green
    Not a trace, not a toothbrush, not a cigarette was seen
    Bubble ball is rising from a whisper or a scream
    But I’m not screaming, no I’m not screaming,
    Tell me I’m not screaming.

    Captain my dear Captain we’re staying down so long
    I have been a good man, I’ve done nobody wrong
    Have we left our ladies for the lyrics of a song?
    That I’m not singing, I’m not singing
    Tell me I’m not singing

    The schooner ship is sliding across the kitchen sink
    My son and my daughter they won’t know what to think
    The crew has turned to voting and the officers to drink
    But I’m not drinking, no I’m not drinking
    Tell me I’m not drinking

    The radio is begging them to come back to the shore
    All will be forgiven, it’ll be just like before
    All you’ve ever wanted will be waiting by your door
    We will forgive you, we will forgive you
    Tell me we will forgive you

    But no one gives an answer not even one goodbye
    Oh, the silence of their sinking is all that they reply
    Some have chosen to decay and other chose to die
    But I’m not dying, no I’m not dying
    Tell me I’m not dying

    Captain will not say how long we must remain
    The phantom ship forever sail the sea
    It’s all the same.

  3. Ken Brenner says:

    God Bless the crew and their families!

    ETR3 (SS)
    USS Haddo (SSN 604)

  4. Bob Moore says:

    So it was a tit-for-tat and we agreed to it. As a former member of Subron 6 in that time frame I am left speechless that the Navy would just write off 99 men, including some personal friends of mine, to avoid stirring up the soviets.

    Bob Moore, TM-1(SS)

    • Bruce Rule says:

      Bob Moore:

      Sorry you are so misinformed. Read above to learn SCORPION was lost because of two battery explosions. The Soviets were hundreds of miles away minding their own business. There was no “tit-for-tat.” Read Norman Polmar and Michael White’s AZORIAN to learn the Soviet K-129 submarine was lost because two R-21/D4 missiles fired to fuel exhaustion within the hull. The crew was killed by 5000-degree F exhaust based on the condition of bodies recovered from the first compartment which showed evidence of burning and then crushing from hydrostatic pressure as the K-129 sank. The K-129 wreck lies near 40-06N, 179-57E, 1590 nautical miles from Hawaii. So much for the wild conjecture in Kenneth Sewell’s RED STAR ROGUE that the K-1290 was lost while tryng to fire a 755 nautical mile range missile at Hawaii to start a Sino-American war.

      Bruce Rule

    • RKAlleman says:

      And just think what the government’s still doing! Take the Pat Tillman case, for instance. Talk about a sham and cowards, all. These cover up incidents are only covered up because people don’t fight back. I do. I am very much still in the hunt for the truth, which I think best begins by sorting out the liars. Sure were a lot of those folks in the Navy Department in my day (also the State Department).


  5. Chuck Jeffries says:

    As a former Scorpion crewmwmber I say BS to this article. No visual evidence of a toroedo attack exists in the existing photographs …too the contrary they imply an implosion as the sub passed crush depth. A torpedo attack would have caused rapid internal flooding with the internal bulkheads giving way and filling the sub with water before it reached crush depth resulting in the submarine being intact on the bottom ,the photos reveal the opposite …. a massive destruction from implosion occurred.. This was more than likely caused by flooding from an internal explosion probably from the battery which may have disabled some critical crew positions or equipment causing the submarine to slowly sink to crush depth. Acoustic data supports this premise. some twenty minutes before the massive implosion occured a small explosion was detected on the same hydophones, the locaation of which has been correlated in the imediate vicinity of the major implosion signal.

  6. LT Charles R Bailey, USN(Ret) says:

    All of us, Qualified in Submarines, stand solemnly in respect to those submariners on eternal patrol…

    Eternal Father, Strong to save,
    Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
    Who bid’st the mighty Ocean deep
    Its own appointed limits keep;
    O hear us when we cry to thee,
    for those in peril on the sea.

    O Trinity of love and power!
    Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
    From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
    Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
    Thus evermore shall rise to Thee,
    Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

  7. emil levine says:

    As an all source intelligence analyst at navy intelligence, I was responsible for the study of the Scorpion loss. This is a piece of fiction. We had very bad to no SOSUS coverage in this area. Other studies show Scorpion was lost due to probably battery explosion. We had not intelligence showing Scorpion was being trailed. Scorpion was in radio silence and would not have sent the alleged message.


  8. Gilman R. Carlson says:

    Read two books on the subject of the loss of Scorpion.

    “Scorpion Down” by Ed Offley and “All Hands Down” by Sewell. These two books confirm without a shadow of doubt that the Soviet Navy planned and carried out the sinking of Scorpion. The event described in “All Hands Down” is the more realistic – sinking using a helecopter launched torpedo.

    Gil Carlson

    • Bruce Rule says:

      Gilman Carlson

      Sad that you believe these conspiracy novels written for profit. Go to and read my one-star reviews of the Offley book on SCORPION and Sewell’s books on SCORPION and the K-129; then buy Project AZORIAN by Polmar and White.

      Reply to

      Bruce Rule

    • John Wouldridge says:

      Don’t believe a lot of things because they sound realistic, because it is not hard to come up with a realistic scenario. I read those articles/books, and sure they got my attention to the point where I read them, but I don’t believe that the Russians planned and carried out an attack on Scorpion and torpedoed her. A collision maybe, where the Scorpion received severe damage which could have caused her sinking. There was a lot of physical bumping between their boats and ours. But that is a scenario also. We will probably never know anything more than speculations.

      • RKAlleman says:

        Now you’re onto something that some of us believe is more the case. And those pictures. . .what if there were two different pictures taken in that vicinity, one the Scorpion, the other a probable Echo II that went well below it’s crush dive limits?


  9. Bill Elrod says:

    As a former Scorpion crewmember who was sent off the boat on emergency leave May 16th 1968 days before the tragic loss of my shipmates I agree with the article by Chuck Jeffries. I have never seen any scientific evidence that convinces me that “The Russians did it” or that it was a hot run torpedo. If you look at the photos taken by Dr. Bob Ballard the boat had to have been flooded when it exceeded crush depth was when the shaft was expelled and the telescpoing of the engineroom occured. The ops compartment sail and bow were damaged upon hitting the bottom at 11,000 + feet. I think the Offley and Sewell stories are fiction and the Johnson book wanted to find fault with the material condition of the boat and morale of the crew. Neither of which was true.

  10. Tom Bartlett says:

    As a sub vet of that very time period, we heard, and I have heard numerous times since, that the mechanical condition of the Scorpion was very very bad. Can anyone provide any knowledgeable input to that aspect of her condition??

    • RKAlleman says:

      As far as I know, Sublant has, or had, copies of all repair and problem incidents. I was with COMASWFORLANT and that ill-fated boat wasn’t one of ours, though I know ASW boats kept similar records and the command kept those in storage. Write to COMSUBLANT and see what comes of it.


  11. Steven Scott says:


    If the K129 could be lifted off the ocean floor, why not the Scorpion? If I recall the K129 was in deeper water, and the official story, when released was that we at least got part of it. If not lift it why not have Alvin do a full sweep around the hull and video tape it. If we can send a ROV to the bottom of the Marianas, on a fiber optic wire, we can film the Scorpion. I believe the last time we checked on any degradation of the reactor was in 1982.

    • John Wouldridge says:

      There is a video/taping of the entire wreckage of the USS Scorpion ssn-589 and the USS Thresher ssn-593. The U.S. Navy will not release the footage or declassify the video. I have seen flashes/pieces of a clip which show the propellor and shaft of the USS Scorpion lying on the bottom. It even gave you a brief glimpse of the detached forward section of the hull. Other than that I have only seen the still photos of the wreckages. Those still photos came from a video/taping of the wreckages.

      • Bruce Rule says:

        When two after sections of the pressure-hull telescoped (one within the other), the velocity of the acceleration to hundreds of MPH as they compacted was essentially instantaneous which left the screw and attached shaft “standing there.” held back by the resistance of the water
        against the blades. The result: the shaft was separated from the thrust block and fell away separately from the after hull sections. Telescoping could only have occurred if force had been applied symmetrically around the pressure hull as would be the case with hydrostatic pressure at great depth. Explosive force from a torpedo would have been applied only at the point of impact and no telescoping would have occurred.

  12. Tom Dougherty says:

    Recent analysis of the acoustical evidence by expert Bruce Rule has eliminated a Russian torpedo as having any role in the loss of the Scorpion. For detailed information on the attempted recovery of the K-129, I suggest you go to:

    • John Wouldridge says:

      I think, and have always thought, that she was not torpedoed as a lot of his want to believe. No evidence to support that other than we wanting to believe that it happened. I believe had that happened, think of the book that could been written and sold by the Russian Captain, or one of the crew members. Imagine him defecting years later and writing a book on the incident. A lot of us would have purchased it to satisfy our curiosity. If there is a story to sell, it will be written and read. I’m as guilty as anybody else when it comes to reading these books by whoever.

      • RKAlleman says:

        And you’re right – even if it was touchy between us and the Ruskies, especially during this period, America wouldn’t stand for one of her boats and crews being taken out by the Russians. And it wasn’t a torpedo, as in the Scorpion’s own, that caused the incident. Have to keep fishing. Take a long, hard look at the Soviet naval activity at that time and the known vessels involved.


  13. JJ says:

    Scorpion’s loss will never be solved. I was in Navigation in may ’68 on an SSN in the Med. We met Scorpion at the Gibralter light and waited for the Russian boat to enter the straits. She went by or south and Scorpion was ordered to follow. I wonder the outcome had the Russian entered Med.

    • Bruce Rule says:


      The loss of Scorpion has been solved: two explosions of hydrogen out gassed by the TLX-52-A main storage battery as confirmed not only by
      the acoustic data to have occurred one-half second apart at 18:20:44Z on 22 May 1968 but also by examination and metallurgical testing of a battery
      component recorded from the debris field by the TRIETE II. See far above on this thread.

    • John Wouldridge says:

      Sounds like you may believe the torpedo theory.

    • John Wouldridge says:

      What SSN were you on at that time?

  14. Wes says:

    The Scorpion was struck portside by Torp. Look at front section of hull, see the crumpling and how it is blown inward?
    Now, look at sail. Area where it was hit is blown away totally, Missing! Impact did not do this!
    They leave out the aft section of sub where impact is due to more evidence of weapon impact. They fabricated story to confuse people of an accident. But it was NO accident.
    LOOK at the wreckage closely…see blast marks on hull?
    A 6th grader can tell what did it.

    • DK Dalke says:

      This incident occured while I was still on actiuve duty as a master chife sonarman stationed on the USS George Washington, and I can tell all of you that the incident has been covered both truthfully and also by some sources as part of some vast millitary conspirecy being carried out by polittions in both Russia and the US.
      The photos clearly show the explosion occured with in the hull.
      I lost friends in the tragity,please let thgem rest in peace.

      • John Wouldridge says:

        I believe it was an accident. My opinion because of lack of evidence to support anything else.

    • Bruce Rule says:

      Again, very sad that you appear to approach the data with the preconception that it “was no accident.” The SCORPION Structural Analysis Group concluded in 1970 that the TLX-53-A main storage battery exploded BEFORE there was any flooding. The first reanalysis of the acoustic data in 40-years established that these explosions occurred in two-stages one-half second apart at 18:20:44Z. The exothermic effect of these explosions incapacitated the crew who could not then maintain depth-control. Read my reviews of RED NOVEMBER and SCORPION DOWN for more information. The US did not sink the K-129 nor did the Soviets sink the SCORPION. Please try to stay both informed and objective. Thank you, Bruce Rule

      • John Wouldridge says:

        Which diesel-electric boat was it , Bonefish or Barbel, I believe had that bad fire that was caused by a battery explosion. They retired her right after that. Also, the Sargo, I believe had the low yield torpedo explosion in her after torpedo room. They had to move her away from the pier and submerge her with the after hatch open to extinguish that fire. One crewman died in that incident. The hull was not breached by that explosion.

    • Bruce Rule says:

      You are a voice in the uninformed wilderness feeding on conspiracy theories. Read above and be informed.

    • John Wouldridge says:

      That is the starboard side of the bow.

    • John Wouldridge says:

      Starboard side. Right where the forward torpedo room is located on the
      skipjack class boats. Implosion cased the sail to appear to have been blown away. Thresher lost her sail when she imploded, as did Scorpion’s. She also broke up into 4 or 5 pieces. Her propeller with shaft also separated. These are single hulled subs which will break up like this. Double hulled subs may not break up like that. The inner hull, which is covered by the outer hull, would implode and possibly not break up to that degree. Since the Skipjack class we have only built single hulled boats except for Triton and Halibut. The Missile boats may have double hull because of the missile compartments.

    • Denise Jarratt says:

      thank you Wes for your controversial input and opinion

  15. Richie Polgar says:

    The Mizar did ASW work in the Atlantic checking undersea cables and we would pull into Bermuda,Puerto Rico and the Azores on trips,our homeport was Wash.D.C.We was in Norfolk for about 2 days when all leave was cancelled abruptly and we would be sailing at 0800 if you wasn’t back on board they were leaving without you ,everyone made it back on time.It was a long time ago but I thought we were told right away when we got underway what the mission was and we should be on the lookout for debris.What was the largest search conducted by the Navy after about 10 days it was us, the Compass Island,the Petral and a Russian research vessel which stayed close off our beam for a week. We would stay at sea for about 28 days at sea and pull into the Azores for 2 days to get fuel and supplies.After a few months of this and going back and forth in a grid pattern and along with MSTS not letting anyone transfer off made one seaman crack.We lost steerage leaving the dock and almost wound up on the rock jetty but was saved by a tug.There was an investigation of all crew members by the mIlitary ‘s FBI and they found the steward poured sugar into the hydraulic steering system.He had a large family back in New York and he wanted to get off,well they took him off. We was scheduled to be in New York for the summer in a shipyard and to get ready for a trip to the West Coast so I guess there was some disappointed sailors on board.My family was in New York and the trip included San Diego,Alaska and Hawaii so I guess I was one of them but we had a job to do as long as it took.
    I don’t agree with the article saying this search was a charade and that the wreck was photographed 5 months before.Having located the Thresher and the atomic bombs off of Spain the Mizar was the only ship that had the capabilities.Like it was said it was trying to find a needle in a haystack and that they only had to go by the approximate location of the explosion.I was only a seaman but we lived and became friendly with the scientific team and I saw their frustration When the Scorpion was found you could see the mood change in everyone,we had finally did it and we were going home.I think to show their appreciation the chief scientist
    had each crew member come to the Captains cabin to see the photos and said not to talk to the press when we got back to the states
    what we saw in the photos.
    On the way home to the Brooklyn Navy Yard we had a close call with a large Russian freighter.They were overtaking us and cutting right in front of us.Captain Hobbs was a 30 year man that worked on all kinds of ships and came up the hawspipe and he said we had the right of way so we didn’t change course and speed.All the crew members on both ships were on deck yelling at each other.It was close’ to but I guess Captain Hobbs
    felt he wasn’t backing down and with the Mizar’s ice breaker bow we would do some serious damage to them.Back in 1985 I asked a retired nuclear submarine Captain what he thought happened to the Scorpion and he said we’d probably never know.Thanks for the interesting article and discussion and please forgive my computer skills.

  16. Grover W. says:

    I was driving my Bus yesterday and I pulled behind a car with a Bumper sticker that read: “USS Scorpion SSN 589: on Eternal Patrol” It peaked my curiosity and I ended up here on this website. Thank you for the History lesson. I was 11 years old in 1968.

  17. Raymond Mesloh says:

    In the Internet leadin to above article it stated–Aug 30, 2009 … If you look at the photos taken by Dr. Bob Ballard the boat had to have been … LOOK at the wreckage closely…see blast marks on hull?

    Where are Ballard’s photogvraphs???

  18. Ronald Keller says:

    This would not be the first nor the last time the ‘public’ has been deceived. Just prior, 1967. The USS.Liberty. Either way,tragic.

  19. George Hubbard says:

    I am a retired Master Chief Electrician and have pondered possible causes of the Scorpion loss many times and have reviewed the sequence of events that had to occur for the hull to fail as it did.
    Certain things had to occur in sequence for the hull to react as it did. I have considered slow flooding,medium speed flooding and rapid flooding.
    Certain things are facts and certain things remain unknown.
    If you disbelieve the reports and data, you are acting as though you have been lied to and nothing will change your mind. If you believe the reports, as I do , then it is possible to envision what occured. Many people worked on the data … It is practically impossible for none of the researchers to come forward and say the reports are bogus.
    I feel more information could be brought forward .. such as … Was an equalizing chare due to be performed ? At the end of an equalizing charge, H2 gas builds rapidily. A loss of ventilation near the end of the charge could result in very high H2 levels. Entering the well at this time could be a bad mistake … This could expose the well to smokers, static discharge or a maintenace mistake. If a problem such as a ground or other observed problem intitiated a battery well entry … conditions were poised for an explosion. Those are just some thoughts on how the explosion could have occurred. Sometimes acting to solve a problem can compound the problem. I have seen ocasions when sailors have been motivated to open the battery well hatch when it was better to wait. ( I believe and have believed for a long time that submarines need a very specific procedure to follow if battery ventilation is loss near the end of a charge. )
    First I rule out flooding … slow,medium or rapid ( without the battery explosion ) …. Slow or medium would have been solved by the crew. Rapid flooding could have been solve by the crew or in any case would have caused the boat to sink in far less than 20 minutes. So flooding was not the problem.
    One must understand breathing toxic gases can immediately incapcitate anyone. The pain of seriously toxic gases totally immobilize a person.
    Now lets assume a serious battery explosion submerged … The pressure would have caused the gases to go thoughout the boat virtully immediately … The gases would have gone through both the supply and return piping … It would have caused airflow to accelerate in the supply piping and reverse in the return piping. This would have incapacited the entire crew.
    Assuming this happened … The crew would have take no corrective action … as the crew became immediately incapacitated and died shortly. The ship then proceeded with the control surfaces unadjusted. This lead to the low down agle drift to crush depth and produced the sound events in the sequence addressed in the accoustic report.
    There is a graphic video that shows a fairly good depiction of the sinking …. but there are two errors. The hull rupture at the time of explosion did not occur and the forward compartment did not flood as shown. Why do I say that ? If the ship were open to sea the ship would have flooded and collapsed the internal compartment bulkheads causing the ship to fllood entirely with the exception of trapped air. ( This occurred on the Thresher. ) Further the Engine Room would not have telescoped forward as it did. For the Engine room to telescope , the ship had to be intact when crush depth was reached.
    Why were the topside hatchs open ? The telescoping of the Engine Room ( acting as a piston ) caused a hydraulic shock that blew the hatches open. The hatches could stand large pressure from the outside … but a relatively small pressure from the inside could cause them to fail open.
    Now let’s assume an external torpedo explosion. IMO it would be almost impossible for the conditions to exist to cause the Engine Room to telescope from a torpedo explosion. IMO the ship would have to be near crush depth when the torpedo exploded.
    Sadly … I believe the crew died of toxic gases from a battery explosion and the ship drifted to crush depth …. I believe that all released photos, accoustic data and scientific inspection of the debris mesh to an accurate cause of sinking.

    • John Wouldridge says:

      Scorpion’s hatches blew open too, due to the force of the implosion. Scorpion and Thresher are single hulled subs. They both broke up the same way when they imploded. Both are in 4 or 5 pieces, their sails broke away, and their propeller with shaft also detached from the hulls. The major pieces are in close proximity of each other, at the site of each boats location on the bottom. It appears that all forward motion had ceased at the time of the implosion. The only motion was probably when they were losing depth and sinking.

  20. Lou Mezie, VP10 says:

    I was attached to VP10 deployed in the area at the time of loss.
    We flew many hours searching for her.

    May God keep the 99 in His arms

  21. Thanks to for the great suggestions! I’ll read anything if it’s good.

  22. charles mitchell says:

    as a former submarine sailor 1960-64 i can tell you its called the silent service for a reason ,some things are better left unsaid ,the navy takes care of its own and there are always those who try to gain from personal tradgedy.god bless the crews and families of all the boats and ships lost at sea.

    • Bruce Rule says:

      Charles Mitchell:

      Very regrettably, the Navy has not taken care of its own. Because of obdurate silence from the Navy with respect to the battery explosion
      issue, the relatives of the SCORPION crew are, emotionally, where
      they were on the afternoon of 27 May 1968 – left standing in the rain
      at a Norfolk Naval Base pier waiting for a submarine that never returned.

      Bruce Rule

  23. Corinne O'Hara-Johnston says:

    As a person who believes in not forgetting those who have died on the oceans of the world, I have researched many ships and submarines whose crews have died. I have files saved that contain not only the events leading up to the disaster, but also the names of those lost and On Eternal Patrol.

    Does it really matter if it was a conspiracy? Or an accident?

    These brave men are dead, and they left behind families to grieve for them and yes, crewmembers who were not with them when they left on their final mission. Forget the conspiracy theories, just for a moment, because if they are true no one will ever be brought to justice anyway.

    Instead focus on the brave men who died and take a moment of respectful silence and hope that death came too quickly for them to suffer.

    Check out the website “On Eternal Patrol” for the names of hundreds of men who died on subs. The USS Scorpion was not the only one to leave grieving families behind. It’s also not going to be the last.

    Corinne Johnston

  24. George Hubbard says:

    My intent here is not to be argumentative .. but hope that the Navy has considered all aspects of the loss such that every reasonable effort has been taken to prevent its reoccurrence.
    The conspiracy has been logically put to rest IMO. It is futile to pursue that further. However the battery explosion finding is really quite recent. There are several likely scenarios that need to be pursued.
    Further IMO the problem most likely occurred in the sequence of equalizer charge, test discharge and subsequent equalizer charge. Further IMO the most likely period would have been at end of test discharge where hydrogen buildup could have been drastic.
    1. Training …. Several areas need reviewed.
    A. Spark prevention in the battery well and surrounding area.
    B. The electrical hazards associated with ” cell reversal ” during test discharge. The details of how radically hydrogen is generated upon cell reversal and stopping the discharge promptly.
    C. Detailed procedures for jumpering cells to include diconnecting all related circuits, proper wiring of the jumpers, preventing sparks and other considerations.
    D: The hazards of ventilation interruptions when the battery is in the gassing period. This area needs special consideration. Should ventilation be continued or manually interrupted for any reason prior to removing hydrogen gas buildup during gassing. This interruption could cause very high concentrations of hydrogen.
    E. Hazards of opening the battery well hatch when water could enter or sparks could enter. Seawater could lead to chlorine gas. Sparks, especially if ventilation is interrupted, could result in explosion from high hydrogen concentrations that would be present.
    The hatch should not be opened if any possibility of high hydrogen exists,
    IMO at least three areas could be considered for improvement :
    1. Step by step procedures for jumpering cells.
    2. Actions to be taken if ventilation is interrupted prior to thorough ventilation after battery gassing.
    3. The opening of the battery hatch should be closely addressed to prevent entry of seawater, sparks, open flame, electrical conducting objects or other hazards.
    There is no disrepect for those lost. My intent is to honor them and to protect those serving now and in the future.
    The US Government spent a lot of money investigating this event. Probing to find the cause of the explosion IMO is worthwhile.
    ( I was a classmate of James Twyford at nuclear power school and a shipmate on Skipjack. I appreciate you honoring him on your website. His death is yet another example of the extreme hazards that exist on submarines. I have often wished that his death had been prevented. )

  25. Corinne O'Hara-Johnston says:

    Very well said. You have proven that submarines have other areas that can contribute to catastrophic failures.

    People should not write controversial novels without knowing all the facts, if they are only doing it to make money off a tragic situation.

    Again, remembering and honoring those who died on any submarine (or ship) should be first and foremost and the reasons why they died should be used to prevent anything similar from happening in the future.


  26. Corinne O'Hara-Johnston says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if half of the anger on this site could be directed towards other submarines that went down.

    Let’s see. Recently released classified documents in England explain why 28 Royal Naval vessels circled the HMS Thetis and did nothing to help her while her whole crew died. Turned out keeping the sub in one piece was more important.

    Or the Squalus and the brave work of Swede Momsen when everyone else had given up on the sub.

    Or the many submarines that went down and morse code signals from the men who survived asking if there was any hope for rescue, went unanswered because everyone on the surface knew they were going to die HORRIBLY – SUFFOCATING IN DARKNESS – COLD – ALONE – PROBABLY DRIVEN INSANE AT THE END.

    The USS Scorpion sank – her crew died as did the USS Thresher. Is it really that important what happened so long ago or should more effort be made into finding ways to save the crews of the subs that go down.

    Proving who is right and who is wrong WILL NOT BRING THE DEAD BACK so maybe it is time to let it go.

    Corinne Johnston

    • Bruce Rule says:

      The conspiracy theories that conjecture the Soviets sank SCORPION
      dishonor the crew by implying they were so professionally inept as to
      be sunk either by a slow and very noisy Soviet submarine or by a noisy
      helicopter using a torpedo not yet available for use as an ASW weapon.

      If you are not a relative or friend of the SCORPION crew, I suggest you
      go up on the SCORPION-99 website and see what has been said about
      efforts to establish what really happened on 22 May 1968. If you are a
      relative or friend, you should see that your opinion that it s time to let
      the matter go is not shared by others.

      Perhaps you should better ask whether the Navy, which has been obdurately silent about both SCORPION and THRESHER since 1993,
      when they released erroneous conclusions used by the SCORPION conspiracy theorists, should be allowed to continue to ignore their responsibility to tell those still living relatives and friends what is now known and, in the case of THRESHER, has been known since May 1963 but which has been swept under the rug.

      Bruce Rule

      • John Wouldridge says:

        Bruce, you could not have put it better. I believe the same thing as you said in the first paragraph. In my opinion, our subs and their crews were and still are better than the Russians. I don’t think and never have thought differently. Their boats were noisy, they were not focusing and quietness at the time. Speed was the norm then. Not until the Japanese turned over propeller design to the Russians, over some islands, did their boats start to become quiet.

    • George Hubbard says:

      Wouldn’t it be nice if half of the anger on this site could be directed towards other submarines that went down.
      It appears that the anger here is quite mild considering the various viewpoints.
      I feel that the crew and relatives can be given little respectt that has not been afforded them.
      The first sub that I served on , USS Chopper SS 342, was saved by the action of one person .. EMC (SS) Ken Taylor. As it neared 2.5 times test depth, he used propulsion to stop the descent.
      I strongly believe that, in many cases, arriving at facts is the most important thing that can occur. A few examples: 1. The Firestone tire failures on Ford Explorers, 2. The Toyota accelerator problem. 3. The three space accidents.
      I am addressing the Thresher incident only because I feel the Scorpion incident from a technical point has been laid to rest.
      May I inject a side comment here. Mr. Rule is indeed an expert and was present for much of the discussions that took place. Being there made him aware of many facts that we will never know.
      Although there are errors in the information in this link … It provides more background on the Threasher incident .. .. And attempts to explin what may have occurred on board.
      I will make a few statements that I believe to be facts ….. .
      1. I made several test depth dives prior to the loss of the Thresher aboard Sam Houston ( SSBN 609 ) … On every dive the ship was trimmed with positive buoyancy at each plateau ( stopping point to check for leaks ). At each plateau the trim pump was tested and additional positive trim attained.
      2. There was virtually no experience with serious flooding casualties on nuclear subs and limited experience with loss of depth control. The proper speed to maintain at test depth was not adequately addressed.
      3. There existed a conflict between ship’s safety vs reactor safety. ( In my opinion there was a priority given to reactor safety. )
      4. The way to maximize efficient use of available propulsion was inadequately addressed.
      5. Significant changes to the ballast blow system occurred after the incident because of ieffectiveness.
      Here I would like to know if Mr.Rule thought a serious flooding occurred because I believe it did.
      Assuming it occurred in the Engine Room …. propulsion would have been loss even if a reactor shutdown did not occur.
      Assuming it occurred in the AMR ( Auxiliary Machine Room ) .. A reactor shutdown would have occurred early …
      In either case, the key was not whether the reactor was operating .. but was propulsion maximized or could it have been .. Flooding in the Engine Room could have caused propulsion loss no matter what the crew did.
      In any case restarting the reactor was irrelevant .. because it would have not occurred before the ship was lost.
      I feel very confident that That if Rickover felt that propulsion was maximized … He was wrong. It was not the culture at that time to do so.
      I feel this discussion should proceed without insults or name calling as it has so far.

      • Bruce Rule says:

        Thank you, George Hubbard, for the kind words. If I remember correctly, the CHOPPER (SS 342) incident provided an example of just how complex a series of events that place a boat at risk can be – and how difficult it could be to determine what those events were without a survivor or hard data.

        I recall – correct me if I’m wrong – that CHOPPER was submerged on the battery at 10-knots when hydraulics failed and threw the dive planes into
        the maximum deflection down and all internal communications including the sound-powered phones also failed. Only when the down angle/depth reached dangerous values did EMC Ken Taylor, on his own, throw the
        main motors into reverse. Still, the stern reached 1020-feet and grease in
        the galley was found to have dripped down the wall indicating an angle
        of 82-degrees. CHOPPER made it to the surface only to go down again but this time only to 400-feet. I think deformation of the hull was so severe
        that she was ultimately scrapped.

        With regard to THRESHER, the answer to flooding is implied in the
        UWC transmission at 0913 to SKYLARK (ASE-20): (quote) ..experiencing minor difficulties; have positive up-angle; attempting to blow. (end quote)
        Obviously, a problem already had occurred by 0913 and that problem was
        not then considered to be anything more than (quote) minor (end quote).

        I have great difficulty reconciling this UWC transmission with the Board of
        Inquiry conclusion that there was flooding. There was not in 1963 – nor is there now – any evidence to support the conjecture that the failure of a silver-brazed, sea-connected pipe produced flooding that resulted in a reactor scram (shut down). That conjecture was a default explanation for THRESHER’s loss of power made in the absence of any then more acceptable explanation.

        There is a LOT more to this and I have written the Navy to try to get them to acknowledge why THRESHER was lost based on data they still held as of Mar 2007. Those data, and the 0913 UWC transmission, are inconsistent with the flooding conjecture; they are consistent with collapse of the still-intact pressure-hull at extreme depth at 09:18:24, i.e., there was
        no flooding prior to implosion.

        Note; however, I am not sanguine about any positive response from the Navy to my request on THRESHER, especially since there has been no official Navy statement about SCORPION even in the face of overwhelming technical data – including the SCORPION Structural Ånalysis Group Report of 28 Jun 1970 that concluded the battery exploded.

        Bruce Rule

  27. Corinne O'Hara-Johnston says:

    Gee, the navy was also silent about the Thetis, Kursk, Squalus, Dakar and a million other subs which have been covered brilliantly on the website “On Eternal Patrol”

    The biggest oxymoron in history – naval intelligence is followed closely by naval cooperation. (I’m sure Captain McVay of the USS Indianapolis would have lots to say on this matter). I know a great deal about the Thresher, Dakar, Thetis, Kursk, Squalus, Robalo, Flier, having been a longtime member of the World Naval Ships Forum. Maybe YOU should check out the site “On Eternal Patrol” that lists crew members who died on an extremely large number of subs.

    The United States Government likes conspiracy theories – otherwise they would have laid to rest a long time ago what REALLY happened to TWA Flight 800.

    Please do not verbally attack me. I know more about marine matters than you realize – subs, battleships, battlecruisers, aircraft carriers, corvettes, destroyers, frigates, flower corvettes, heavy and light armored cruisers, ocean liners, T-2 Tankers and the dirty steel that caused them to sink (SS Marine Electric), Bulk Freighters, tankers, and salties and lakers.

    I don’t care HOW the Scorpion and Thresher sank – what I care about is the men who died on them and that’s it. I am not part of any of your theories.


    Corinne O’Hara Johnston

    • RKAlleman says:

      WOW, you are quite outspoken and that’s to be admired. Thanks for the other take on the matter, the one seldom taken up in these ongoing debates. I just happened to be connected with another phase of the sub fleet, the ASW side. It seemed to me there were more knowns than unknowns and it was rather like a tangible business we were in. Meaning, you either got results, or you didn’t. Anyway, thanks for your missive. Your point about empathy. . .well taken.


  28. Dennis Mosebey says:

    Mr. Rule speaks truth. His detailed paper is written at a level of scientific expertise and the pieces all fit. Now what will maybe never be known is what caused the battery issue, Until I read Silent Steel by Stephen Johnson, I too was taken in by Offley, Sewell, and company. There were enough interviews and “facts” that I was mightily suckered. But fortunately I sent a comment to Stephen on how much I enjoyed his book and he actually called me and we talked about an hour and he informed me of the Scorpion Web Page on yahoo, not the 99 web page but another site that was populated by many and for over a year I got to monitor and participate albeit as a novice comparted to Captains Patten, Bryant, Chuck Jeffries, and others. We considered all kinds of scenarios. But Bruce clinched it for me with his detailed analysis of a lofaragram that had been in the public domain for over 40 years. It was available to the Navy at the time but they wanted to go with Dr John Craven who developed the hot run theory. Well Craven was wrong. He is a very smart man and contributed much to our country but he was wrong and the Navy bought it hook, line, and sinker.

    Finally I too believe we owe it to the families not to let it die, even if we just keep talking about it and we go into bookstores like I did here in town and requested they move All Hands Down to the fiction section of the store. We do our own crew and the Russian submariners an injustice to allow the myth to be perpetuated. So read Silent Steel and read Bruce’s paper. You will be glad you did.

    Dennis Mosebey, civilian and trainer of nuclear propulsion personnel for 4 years at S1W prototype and avid attack boat person.

  29. Bruce Rule says:

    Dear Corinne:

    What can I say about you, Corinne O’Hara Johnston, that you have not said about yourself? If discussing such topics are so distressing for you Corinne O’Hara Johnston, and carry you beyond the arena of the rational, perhaps you should not become involved. You may not want it but you have my sympathy.

    With regard to my sympathy for the surviving relatives and friends of
    the SCORPION crew, have you gone up on the SCORPION-99 website or asked the moderator of that site for his assessment of your assertion?

    One story for you, Corinne O’Hara Johnston. Years ago, I attended a Navy function where I encountered a nuclear submarine officer who was wearing a tie that had small groups of the same three letters as a pattern in gold against a background of Navy blue. When I asked if those letters – MCP – stood for Main Coolant Pump, his response was that I was probably the only person in the world who would come to that conclusion.

    Best wishes, and Happy Valentine’s Day,

    Bruce Rule

  30. George Hubbard says:

    More information on the Chopper. Here is the full report.
    The serious situation was set up by the speed at which Chopper was traveling. It was initially compounded by the total loss of AC and further compounded by the actions taken at the planes control station.
    The majority of power on a submerged sub is provided by DC from the battery. However some functions can only work using AC or work much better using AC.
    The loss of AC was an unexpected event. I have no knowledge of all AC being lost on any other submerged diesel submarine.
    Hydraulic power was never lost throughout the casualty… but due to confusion was believed to have been lost.
    Four critical pieces of equipment became inoperative on the loss of AC .. The ” Normal” bow and stern planes angle indicators, The amplified voice communication with the men controlling the motors and the motor order telegraph ( the device that is used to tell the motor controllers at what speed to drive the motors).
    Here is where I feel it is best to explain why things got far worse that they could have if other actions were taken. This is not second guessing. The path the operators followed were really quite natural when the confusion set in.
    There are three ways to position the bow planes and stern planes from the planes station and two methods to determine at what angle the planes are.
    First the planes angle indicators. The normal indicators look like a replica of an airplane wing .. this wing moves smoothly like a speedometer.
    Due to human nature the planesmen are lulled into relying on the normal planes angle indicators and for the most part ignore the ” emergency” planes indicators. The emergency planes indicators are lights that indicate .. 5,10,15 etc degrees. For the most part the planesmen over time ignore the emergency indicators.
    The planes control pistons can be positioned by normal,emergency and hand power. In normal and emergency the planes move rapidly with little effort by the planesmen. In hand control the planes move very very slowly with extreme exertion by the planesmen.
    While normally controlling the depth and the angle of the ship, the palnesmen put the bow and stern planes in a down angle position. This just happened to be where they were when AC was lost. Because of reliance on the normal indicators … the planesmen and the Diving Officer concluded the planes could not be operated by the available hydraulics and shifted planes control to hand. By now the down angle was increasing rapidly .. and eventually went to more than 80 degrees. The planesmen now were in an impossible situation. They could barely prevent themselves from being thrown foreward and were unable to control the planes.
    The men controlling the motors. one controlling the stbd motors and one controlling the port motors, were driving the ship to the bottom. The ship was going even faster due to the angle, temperature change and hull compression. The men did not receive orders to reverse the motors because amplified voice and the motor order telegraph were inoperative. ( Soundpowered communication was available but no one manned the phones. Understandable in that merely staying one location was nearly all that could be done.) However EMC ( SS ) Ken Taylor , knowing the fate that awited them, took it upon himself to reverse the stbd motors and direct the other controllerman to do the same.
    This motor reversal pulled the ship upward. This lead to the down angle eventually leading to a severe up angle with a violent pop to the surface followed by another depth excerion.

    • Bruce Rule says:

      George Hubbard:

      Thank you for clarifying my understanding of the CHOPPER incident.

      Bruce Rule

  31. George Hubbard says:

    Typo .. depth excursion … not depth excerion

    For me there are interesting side stories …
    First, Ken Taylor eventually received the Navy Cross for his heroic actions.
    During decommissioning process the “starboard reversing lever handle ” ( one of several devices that needed to be operated to reverse the motors ) was cut off and chrome plated , mounted on a plaque and presented to Ken. He has now donated it to the Chopper Association.
    ( I served with Ken on Chopper in 1960 and 1961 and consider it an honor to know him. )
    Almost amazing fate put Ken at the Lead Controllerman station during the deep dive. Ken exited the Navy at the end of his first enlistment and returned to civilian life. He later decided to return to the Navy and later returned to Chopper. Ken was scheduled to be ashore that day but another electrician neded to go to sick bay … so Ken rode in his place.
    In a personal conversation with the man that was ashore .. he stated to me that it was unlikely that he would have taken the action that Ken took. It must be remembered that the power supplied to the motors is viewed as a ” sacred trust ” … You WILL supply the power .. both speed and direction ordered.
    When I had the ocasion, I discussed the things that he observed during the casualty and asked him his reflection on the events. He stated that he wished that he had acted more propmptly.
    Here I want to give credit to an unsung hero of that day … EMC (SS) Carl B. Lewis ( later a comissioned officer ). Chief Lewis is a brilliant man and an exceptional leader. He had a profound influence on me and my career. To become a Senior controllerman on Chopper you needed to be both very knowledgeable and operationally proficient. He demanded a level of understanding of the propulsion system far above what I am sure was the fleet norm. He long before the deep dive accident stressed the importance of propulsion and its relation to depth control …. including backing down to prevent exceeding crush depth. Not to take away from Ken’s actions … but in the back of my mind Carl B. Lewis was a ” guiding hand” in saving the Chopper.
    Chopper ,after her damage ,was a reserve training boat in New Orleans. Later she was equipted to be “towed target ” and made unmanned dives in this capacity. On the day she was scheduled to be intentionally sunk by torpedo … she sunk accidently.
    During her career … I am aware of four serious angle or depth incidents … 1.The snorkel induction pipe collapsed due to corrosive weakening … saved by blowing safety tank. 2. A “hand dive” incident … a hand dive is an evolution where the ship is submerged not using hydraulics .. it is usually a training event .. During this dive a severe down angle was encountered due to trim error .. an extremely strong Stewardsmate named Long shut the bow bouyancy and #1 main ballast vents allowing control to be regained .. I was on board for this event … and although I was stronger that average, I needed Long’s help to shut the vents 3. the deep dive and 4. the accidental sinking.

    I hope that I have not bored you with these comments or taken away from this being a Scorpion site.
    Please forgive any typos, spelling or grammatical errors .. if anything is unclear .. I will attempt to clarify.

  32. John Wouldridge says:

    The mk-45 or astor torpedo as it is better known as, has no homing capabilities other than it being wire-guided. It is a straight running torpedo when not being guided by wire. It has a pretty heavy warhead. I’m quite sure that if they had a mk-45 inside it’s tubes it would have been hooked up for wire guidance. The torpedo could have been guided away from Scorpion. The Mk-45 was replaced by the highly capable Mk-48 several years afterwards. If you look at the Scorpions bow photos, the one that was taken when the wreckage was found and the one taken after 1968, the early photo shows damage to the bow. The one taken after 1968 shows no damage. The photo that shows no damage has me suspecting that the photo may have been “doctored.” No one but the Scorpions crew knows what really happened, and they can’t tell us. I may tend to believe that the crew was possible battleing a leak that they could not control and she eventually travelled below crush depth despite their efforts. But, that is speculation. Sure, I don’t want to believe that the Russians sank her. It could have been a reactor scram and a torpedo warhead could have exploded during implosion. The way she broke up was almost identical to Thresher, 4 or 5 large pieces. In both cases the propellor and shaft seperated from the stern section and the sails detached from the hulls. Try to imagine the futility and mental agony that the crews of both boats went through knowing that the end was coming as those boats slipped deeper into the depths before implosion. The noises that the hull probably made as it was stressing as the pressures increased.

  33. RK ALLEMAN says:

    To one and all who have given me your opinions on this matter, which I am honored to entertain and respect same.

    Bruce, and John I believe, you two fellahs really know your stuff, and I am nowhere close to your level of intelligence on the matter. The S.O.S., those awful triple key, triple letters, no one wants to here, are almost as deeply buried in my subconscious as the brave crew of SSN 589 are entombed in their eternal patrol boat. I know what the “Z” reports, as timing, say, but for some reason I can’t get it out of my mind that urgent call came in around 1 in the morning? I know “Ivahoe” (who later became a good pal of mine, after exiting the Navy) cleared the circuit and let me sweep and focus only on that weak signal, which was 3 x 5, though readable. I certainly turned in my logs about the matter when m watch was over, and from there those records went to CINCLANTFLT and COMSUBLANT. I never thought too much about it (thereafter), though of course we were all stunned, if not haunted, by the Scorpion’s disappearance. Later that year when I read the Newsweek report of the sailing vessel and alleged ‘hoax’ of the S.O.S. I began to have my suspicions about everything. Sorry, it’s just my nature. I also worked for covert ops and quite a bit of that stuff in the ‘Blindman’ book fit my billet. But that’s all I can say. I did not, however, sign any peculiar documents about the Scorpion, though I did sign a mess of same upon exiting the Navy concerning other stuff, like, uh, “Canasta,” which I know has been downgraded to GP-3 scores of years ago. Anyway, guys (ladies), I once approached a well known writer about my version of the story, and my writing a ‘hypothetical’ novel about same. He advised me not to go forward with it. So I haven’t. As much as all of you know about this matter, and I do applaud the singular intelligence, indeed, the passion for what I read of your reports. there remains missing links. And I am sure all of you who have ever worked black ops understand this terse saying. But thanks to all of you for lending a part of my troubled soul on this matter some comfort. I am nowhere in your league, and our respective billets are very different, so it seems, but to read the objective and subjective reports you give, all of which I believe the Navy Department, et al., is not alarmed reading, denotes quite the legacy of this crew. . .and, yes, was there one other crew that went down with her? RK

    • John Wouldridge says:

      R.K., at the end of the last sentence you said, “and, yes, was there one other crew that went down with her?” I did consider that possibly an underwater collision or bumping could have inflicted enough damage to have sent both boats to the bottom. They may have went in different directions after wards as they fought to save their boats, and may not be in close proximity on the bottom. They could be miles apart. But, they were not looking for two boats. The noise s.o.s.u.s. picked up was described as Scorpions sinking. Could it have been a combination of both boats? I don’t know. The Russians were/are known to be quiet about such catastrophys. But who knows, I’m just speculating on this one.

    • John Wouldridge says:

      I must say, I enjoy reading, and I have read everyone’s comments. When I come home from work, I open up to this page to look for, and read comments. I respect everyone’s beliefs, speculations. and whatever they have to say. I didn’t get the opinion that anyone displayed any anger about anything. It’s all good and fun conversation. I consider everyone here a friend now. I can go on about any kind of warship, but submarines have always been my number one. When I was in the 1st and 2nd grade when we lived in Groton in the military housing project called Dolphin Gardens, my childhood dream was to go into the Navy when I grew up. To see my dad come home in his dress blues and whites was something I could not wait to do. My childhood dream came true. When living there, I knew every submarine that was assigned to the Sub Base. I could look out my bedroom window and see them heading from the base towards the Gold Star Memorial Bridge and sail under it and the train draw bridge. I would even see them returning from sea. Coming from sea as they approached the bridge, if the draw bridge did not raise, I would notice on some occasions some of them would sail under with their decks awash. Those were mainly the diesel electrics that would do this. I was quite fascinated by that. I would have my binoculars looking seaward, looking to see if something was coming in. I would even run down to the river and sit on the rocks on the shoreline to get a better look. I just added this little bit just to highlight how it all started with me. I am also member of the United States Naval Institute and I love my Proceedings Magazines. Thank you for enduring this. Much respect to everyone

  34. George Hubbard says:

    I would appreciate some comments on this article …

    What errors exist in it ??
    A few comments in it are interesting .. ..
    1. ” ordered ahead full … fifteeen degrees up “.
    2. Flooding was reported … What words were used ??
    3. “Experiencing minor difficulties. Have positive up angle. Am attempting to blow. Will keep you informed,” the Thresher reported to the Skylark at 9:13. === The word minor tells me the C.O. either was playing down the reality, was misinformed or arrived at the worong conclusion. In reality he had a serious problem or was within seconds of having a serious problem. In my opinion, he already had a serious problem. Attempting to blow also poses questions. I believe he had already blown and was evaluating why it didn’t respond as expected.
    There are other areas of interest.
    After reading some recent comment, here are some questions I have.
    1. Where is there present photos of the Thresher with any of the following …. The shaft and propellor separated from the ship, a periscope ejected from the ship or shown in the raised position or a photo of an open external hatch.
    2. Where is there indication that seawater did not rapidliy enter the Engine Room ? ( Does not have to be 2” pipe failure. The question is there documentation that seawater was early on entering the Engine room.)
    3. Where is there direct records of the report that seawater was entering the Engine Room ?
    Can anyone answer these questions ?
    1.When ahead full was ordered … How long was it before any of the following ocurred … loss of propulsion, reactor scram, clutch disengaged or mcp’s lost?
    2. Was there any indication Tthresher rose significantly upward before descending ?
    I am not trying to dispute anyone’s comments. I am simply trying to locate corroborating info.

    • Bruce Rule says:


      There are so many errors in the article that it is difficult to know where to begin. My perspective comes from having analyzed the acoustic data that
      provided the search position and identified why THRESHER scrammed. I testified before VADM Bernard Austin’s Board of Inquiry (BOI) in May 1963 at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard with supporting testimony from BUSHIPS 345 and the David Taylor Model Basin, the organization that ran the submarine noise trials for NAVSEA. Our testimonies were reported to have been stricken from the official BOI transcript at the direction of VADM Rickover, probably because the assessment of why the reactor scrammed, which was – and remains – incontrovertible, was not what the Admiral wanted to hear.

      Basically, my complaint about the article is that it contained invented dialogue and events. What we know about the loss of THRESHER comes from two sources: (1), the underwater coms with SKYLARK and
      the acoustics which, very unfortunately, in detail, remain classified for no good reason. Specifically: (1) where did the author get the fact that THRESHER was making 18 knots at 0902 when the CO ordered 28-degrees right rudder and five-degree down angle. There are a lot of
      individuals on this site who know more about sub ops than I do but to me
      those values seems extraordinarily robust to the point of being dangerous. I do know that at 0902 THRESHER was reported to have transmitted CORPEN 090 (turn to course 090T), and the op plan called for six knots at test-depth; (2) where did the author get a loud clap that rang out and the scattering of pieces of valves about the room? (3) How did the author know the CO ordered full speed, up 15 degrees?

      All of this is just made-up stuff – mere conjecture about what might have happened – and is no better than some of the conspiracy novels published on the loss of SCORPION.

      Immediately below is the summary from a document I am writing on the loss of THRESHER.

      THRESHER Underwater Communications (UWC) to her escort ship, the USS SKYLARK (ASR-20), at 0913 local ((quote)…experiencing minor difficulty; have positive up-angle; attempting to blow. (end quote)) and at 0916-0917 ((quote) 900N (end quote)) provide the basis for advancing our understanding of why THRESHER was lost at 0918 on 10 April 1963, almost 48-years ago. The acronym UPDI (Unclassified Public Domain Information) is used in this assessment as appropriate.

      THRESHER was lost because her nuclear reactor scrammed (shut down) while the submarine was out-of-trim (heavy) at test depth ((1300-feet (UPDI)) and unable to blow ballast because ice formed in the high-pressure air system as verified by subsequent tests with another submarine of her class (UPDI). Without propulsion and heavy, THRESHER sank to collapse (pressure-hull and all internal bulkheads) in one-tenth of a second at an estimated depth of 2400-feet with an energy release many multiples of the USS SCORPION (SSN 589) collapse event energy release of 11.77 GJ (13,200 lbs of TNT) (UPDI)). That force was produced by the essentially instantaneous conversion of potential energy (sea pressure) to kinetic energy, the motion of the water-ram which entered the pressure-hulls of both THRESHER and SCORPION at supersonic velocity.

      There was not in 1963 – nor is there now – any evidence to support the conclusion by the THRESHER Board of Inquiry (BOI) that the rupture of a silver-brazed, sea-connected pipe caused flooding that resulted in a reactor scram or that there was any intrusion of sea-water into the THRESHER pressure-hull before that structure collapsed (imploded). That conjecture was advanced in the absence of any then more acceptable explanation for the scram.

      As of March 2007, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) still held data that established incontrovertibly why the THRESHER nuclear reactor scrammed, and from which a detailed timeline of the evolving situation that ended with pressure-hull collapse can be derived. Regrettably, even after 48-years, the specific details of that information remain classified.

      Bottom line: this is a dangerous article because it contains enough detail to make the author appear to have known what he was talking about when, if fact, many of the conclusions about what was happening aboard THRESHER are pure conjecture and, in some cases, are in direct conflict with what is known.

      IRT your questions:

      – There are no “records” of a report that sea-water was entering the engine room.

      – There is no evidence that full speed was ever ordered.

      – The timeline of loss of electrical power and reactor scam is known but remains classified.

      – There is no information on how far – if at all – THRESHER was able to rise before sinking. We only know she had an “up-angle.”

      Bruce Rule

      • George Hubbard says:

        Thank you. Very interesting.
        I am absolutely positive that your analysis of the sound events is correct. I am confident that a scram took place … and believe you know why. I have an idea why even without the benefit of sound data. People are prone at times to make simple mistakes … Like counting sheep … 1,3,2,4 instead of 1,2,3,4 …..
        I also agree that it is likely and almost certain that Thresher was trimmed heavy .. although careful execution would have minimized that. I am somewhat amazed that she was able to proceed to test depth in the elapsed time after 0635. The thorough checks and at times leak correction always was time consuming on the boats that I was on. She was in my opinion moving quickly.
        The thing that I find baffling is that I sense that you feel there was no abnormal water entry .. I will not try to back you in a corner on that. More on that later.
        I am certain/confident that the blow system malfunctioned due ice. How long that took would mattter. I tend to believe that a properly trimmed ship would have begun to ascend. Even one with a modest negative trim IMO would have begun to ascend.
        However water in the bilges without affecting electrical equipment could have been a bad thing … and this is conjecture with no data to confirm. Water in the bilges would have free surface effect and on an up angle would shift aft compounding the up angle in a manner the planesmen would not expect.
        Loss of propulsion and being trimmed heavy aft would have been a bit unsettling and would have added to angle control problems. Even if the forward tanks blew more fully than the aft tanks another loss of up angle control could have been prompted. The up angle would have caused the forward air to expand more rapidly than the after air. I can even envision a severe up angle … severe. With a loss of speed angle control could have been totally loss. Again conjecture. Enough of angle would have lead to even spilling air from the ballast tanks.
        A subject that I have never heard addressed is that below test depth ( times a factor ) there were seawater relief valves that would have opened.
        Isolation of these would have been futile. There would have been too much going on to attend to that.
        I’m sure that there were sounds that were identified that lead you to your reactor scram conclusion and its cause.
        I would be interested in any comments on these items.

      • George Hubbard says:

        One further question. Is there even a remote possibility that Capt . Harvey said ” 900 and ….. ” ….. vs.. ” 900n …. ” ?

    • John Wouldridge says:

      George, I agree with Bruce. I did a lot of speculations on your questions and what I came up with was very similar to what Bruce wrote. Where did this info that you were asking about come from? Who witnessed and reported this? I don’t think she rose significantly upward, if at all from test depth. I believe that everything happened at or near that depth. And I believe it happened very rapidly, once the descent happened. Bruce saved me from writing a whole lot. I had just completed a rough draft when I noticed that he answered.

      • George Hubbard says:

        Where did this info that you were asking about come from? Here .. posted above ..
        It appears that the author is a Lawyer in New London. Politely .. He appears to have taken some editorial license … and I will leave it at that.
        The questions are all my own. Having been on five fully operating nuclear subs performing a wide variety of operations for twelve years and I have never observed and unplanned scram … I am inclined to believe something preceeded the scram. While I can think of two likely ways operator error could have led to a scram … many more ways exist. I do not doubt that an operator error could have occured. It seems Bruce is alluding to the fact that it did occur .. and if he feels that way, he likely has evidence because he seems to rely on evidence. I have seen the likely causes almost occur several times but were prevented by stopping the operator prior to taking the improper action. If other things were distracting the people that would have stopped the action .. the action would have taken place. If taking the action rapidily , because an emergency was perceived or commotion existed, the operator may have proceeded spontaneously rather than in the methodical correct manner.
        In certain circumstances people are far more likely to commit errors …such as,slam on brakes when firm pressure would be better, step on the gas instead of the brakes .. absolutely numerous things lead to errors. Qualified submariners are not exempt from mistakes .. Trust me many errors are made … few result in damage or death. ( The Thresher had just finished an overhaul period and likely somewhat rusty relative to months of daily operation. This may or may not have had a bearing on the situation. )

    • John Wouldridge says:

      George, Dr. Ballard filmed the entire wreckage sites of Scorpion and Thresher, the same as he did the Titanic. There is no evidence that Thresher broadcasted to Skylark of water entering the engine room. From whom did the direct records come. Skylark was the only boat in communication with Thresher. I never believed the 2″ pipe theory. I was 12 yrs old at the time and I did not believe that then. Periscopes are lowered inside the sail after submerging. They have no use underwater. They are lowered for maximum streamlining of the boat and to enhance speed and silence. Periscopes could become damaged. If anything, the implosion that ripped the sail from the hull caused movement or dislodging of the periscope. Photo #NH97567 does show a hatch/water tight door lying on the bottom. I don’t believe that the Thresher was traveling at speed when the reactor scrammed. I believe that everything happened at test depth. Any rise from that depth would have been minute. Her forward speed would have started to diminish, which in turn, would have made the sail and stern planes become ineffective. She became heavy in the water and drifted down to crush depth. Being that it happened at test depth, it didn’t take long for implosion to occur.

      • John Wouldridge says:

        The USS Triton SSN-586 had a double reactor scram during her last deployment to the north atlantic in 1967. She was the only US submarine built with twin reactors. She was not in close proximity to the surface when that happened, but her crew was able restart and she traveled the rest of the way to New London on the surface. She had not had sub-safe modification prior to that. She was subsequently retired from service after that deployment in 1969. Her dual reactors allowed her to travel at more than 30 knots on the surface, being able to keep up with surface forces. At 447 ft and nearly 7,000 tons, her size proved her to be too noisy at top submerged speed. Was not a good ASW platform for that reason.

      • George Hubbard says:

        Periscopes are lowered inside the sail after submerging. They have no use underwater.
        ——– You might want to reword that ….
        I’m afraid you misundertood my questions and the purpose of my questions …
        I certainly was not suggesting the periscope was up or raised … anywhere near test depth ..
        ( Trust me … The periscope will lower itself if not lower at the proper depth … You might find that event a little unnerving.)
        The photo is stated to be a WTD .. which was not what I asked …
        The hatches do not open as a result of the result of the implosive force directly.
        My questions are quite specific ….
        1. Is there absolute evidence that no preceeding specific event .. such as water entering or any other event prior that may have lead to operator frustration or confusion .. There is a suggestion that operator error caused the scram … Did something specific unsettle the operator ?
        ( Other than the possible/probable negative trim. )
        2. Was there or is there presently evidence that a scope ejected or is visible outside the hull.
        3. Is there existing evidence that the propellor and shaft exited the Thresher ??
        4. I understand that there is no evidence via communication to Skylark that a ” full bell ” was ordered. The question was … ” Is there evidence that a ” full bell ” was not ordered? ”
        If the evidence exists .. I am simply trying to find it.

  35. RK ALLEMAN says:

    John, Bruce may have me on the exact time of those S.O.S.’s, insofar as I really can’t be positive when I received those transmissions. That was many years ago, and apparently the investigators didn’t see fit to register those logbooks that were sent from ‘Barbaric’ to ‘Ivanhoe,’ then dispatched to the various ‘coms.’ However, considering some of you are stuck on the fact ‘radio silence’ at the time was definite, well, I can’t change your minds. Some of you are also stuck on just those supposed pictures of SSN 589 in deep water. But did you see all of the pictures, or was it only what was finally presented at those investigative hearings. John, you’re right about the bumper car driving (my analogy) given the tense competition between the Russians and us. Our respective navy’s liked to play ‘chicken,’ and it was common to do so whenever one side or the other suspected too much spying, too close to home (as crowded space). Has the Russian Navy ever released all of its data about all of its boats, as in crews and boats missing? I know we have, but that competitive streak on their side doesn’t always come clean. And you know the USS Scrap Iron reputation was also well founded. The Navy Department certainly didn’t want the public thinking their boys were put into harm’s way because of those problems, because of the lack of SUBSAFE repairs that weren’t taken care of the year before. This may sound like treason to some of you, but our government tends to play fast and loose with the facts if it feels its back is up against the wall. I thinking of the most recent example, which is another military branch, given the Pat Tillman coverup. Anyway, I submit there is a lot more that went on behind the acoustic science Bruce, et al., continually support. I submit not all of the photos were revealed. I submit the Scorpion should not have been ordered to take on that added assignment given her performance was less than stellar, and certainly her depth range was hampered. She was basically sent into harm’s way without adequate maneuvering ability and speed capability to do the job. Well, let’s just say unless there were some last minute repairs before she headed back to Norfolk for a complete retrofit, including her reactor. Thus, to boldly go where she should not have gone in the first place. RK

    • Bruce Rule says:


      Contrary to public belief, neither the US nor the Soviets played underwater “chicken.” The untoward events that occurred were the result of one or both submarines not having a good handle on the operational situation, i.e., relative speed, range and depth separation. The risks of intentional contact are just too great since you could lose your own boat. Further, it provides unambiguous confirmation that you are there – something no US submarine CO wanted to advertise.

      I know of only one case of an intentional collision and that involved an
      ECHO-II Soviet SSGN and the USS VOGUE (DE?) in the Med. The E-II had been badly harassed by our ASW forces for an extended period and just lost his cool and, with sail broached, collided with the VOGUE which lost propulsion and had to be towed to port.

      I can assure you RK, there is not “a lot more that went on behind the acoustic science” than what has been published. I did the first reanalysis of the Canary Island data in 40-years and brought a lot more to the table
      than what was available in 1968 when the SCORPION Court of Inquiry
      got lead down the primrose path by John Craven and his unsupported conjecture that own ship’s torpedo was involved. Craven was told at 2130
      EDT on 18 July 1968 that the time-difference measurements of 2.0-
      seconds upon which he based his conjecture were dead wrong and the
      real value was less than 0.04-seconds. While Craven had SCORPION
      reversing course during a 111.6-second period, the wreckage was
      sinking vertically because the event that started the 111.6-second period was pressure-hull collapse. Craven is still alive in Hawaii and I
      have told him why he was wrong but I doubt he has changed his mind.

      Since, unlike THRESHER, all the SCORPION acoustic data is unclassified – much to the irritation of the Navy. I have published everything I was able to derive, almost all of which is summarized far
      above on this site and all of that is new information.

      All I have said to you is that you should try to accommodate your contentions with the timeline that is based on the original Canary Island
      acoustic data which can in no way have been altered. The Navy never
      had these data until I gave it to them in Nov 2009. I have no reason to
      hide anything derived from the acoustics; indeed, I have every reason to
      publish everything, much to the discomfort of the Navy.

      Bruce Rule

      • John Wouldridge says:

        Bruce, I remember that incident when the Echo-II, with just it’s sail above water, steered towards the USS Vogue, and collided with her stern. Either Sea Classic or Sea Combat magazines had that story with pictures. The pictures were taken by a USS Vogue crewman that was on the stern.

    • John Wouldridge says:

      R.K., I don’t believe that the bumping happened with the Scorpion. I just threw that out there for comment.

  36. Bruce Rule says:

    And now for a brief digression:

    Accessing Project Azorian and K-129

    The Washington Times
    7:35 p.m., Friday, February 11, 2011

    The otherwise fine review of Project Azorian, the CIA and the Raising of the K-129 in the Feb. 4 edition of The Washington Times makes one unfortunate misstatement: Navy Intelligence officers did not pinpoint the location of the lost Soviet submarine (“Bringing the K-129 to the surface,” Books).

    As discussed on Page 46 of “Azorian,” it was Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) personnel using acoustic data who determined the location of the K-129 wreckage and provided that information to the Navy.

    In May 1968, the Navy took the acoustic data from AFTAC before it could be analyzed to determine why the K-129 was lost. The Navy then compartmentalized the data so that not even Office of Naval Intelligenceacoustic analysts could review it.

    Consequently, it was not until 2009 – 41 years after the event – that analysis of the AFTAC data obtained from public-domain sources determined that the K-129 was lost because two R-21 missiles fired to fuel-exhaustion within their breached missile tubes.

    As discussed in “Azorian,” the 5,000-degree exhaust plume from those missiles vented inside the submarine, killing the crew and causing enormous structural damage that reached as far forward as the first compartment. The Navy made no contribution to locating the K-129 wreck site and delayed identification of the cause of that disaster for 41 years.


    Louisville, Ky.

    © Copyright 2011 The Washington Times, LLC.

    • John Wouldridge says:

      Bruce, K-129, that is very interesting what you wrote. I missed that article. I will look up the K-129 disaster and loss. Thanks for the info.

      • Bruce Rule says:


        As discussed in AZORIAN, there is an enormous amount of misinformation and outright fabrication not only about the K-129 but also, as we well know, SCORPION. Polmar sorts all of it out – exposes it for what it is – in the book.

        As noted in my WASHINGTON TIMES letter to the editor, none of the crew – and very little of the internal structure – survived a total of three-minutes of 5000-degree (F) flame from two R-21 missiles venting into the pressure- hull. Not only the acoustics but also the condition of the recovered bodies showed the sequence of events had to have been burning and then pressure.


  37. John Wouldridge says:

    George, Submarines have submerged with periscopes deployed to periscope depth and remain there possibly taking observations or for whatever reason. Then if they decide to go deeper than periscope depth, then of course the periscope or whatever antenna they have deployed will be lowered into the sail. I’ve observed many submarines on the surface, just cruising on the surface, with periscope and other antennas deployed. It’s a common sight, even in photographs. They have a video of the USS Skipjack diving until only her periscope and the feather it was creating was visible. Then the periscope disappeared below the surface, being lowered in to the sail. They don’t have to have the periscope deployed while diving. That would be at the Captain’s discretion. Maybe I still don’t understand what your question was. Excuse me for not understanding, if that is the case. I withdraw my comment.

    • RK ALLEMAN says:

      Again, to post and say it, John, catch me on the non circus site, my own,

      and we can chat about old times and common interests. See my last reply sent to you about that old pea coat you still have. Mine’s older. Ha!


  38. George Hubbard says:

    John , it would be nice if you would provide us a little more info on your background so that the nature of your comments could be more easily interpreted.
    The periscope is very useful even underwater. While to coming to pericope depth, before reaching water shallow enough to cause a collision with a ship on the surface , a thorough 360 degree seach for hulls should be made … The Greenville incident may have been avoided ..
    In years gone by the periscope was critical in attacking surface ships … It was critical indetermining , range,direction and speed of the target. It is far less important for that purpose now because of other equipment.
    Periscopes have now been replaced by cameras.
    While terminology is not precise and various people say things differently, When discussing masts and antennas .. My Ole Bud , Willie T. Burnham, would say … ” The snorkel induction mast and various antennas lower “into the sail” but the periscopes lower ” into the hull ” ( via a hull penetration). Sea pressure is trying to push the periscope down when you are submerged.
    External hatches are not opened on a collapsing subs by collapsing forces but by the shock wave/impulse function generated by the piston effect of the collapsed mass being shoved into the previous unoccupied internal areas. As unblieveable as it may appear, the pressure inside the ship exceeds the sea pressure that caused the collapse.
    At this time the pressure on the periscope is an ejection force. I lack the calculating skills to estimate the magnitude and duration of the impulse so I cannot calculate if a scope could ever be ejected.
    As Bruce pointed out additional forces are present on the propellor and shaft. In the case of the Scorpion , It is well known that the Engine Room shot forward at a tremendous velocity and acceleration. The propellor was restained by the forces on the blade to remain relatively stationary. So the ER yanked forward and the propellor couldn’t go with it. As the ER shot forward, internal pressures built rapidly ( the propellor shaft by now was outside the hull). The internal pressure that was building blew the hatches open.
    The WTD is a different story … if it is a WTD. The photo is unclear to me. Assume it is a WTD. It was sheared from its hinges which are quite strong. IMO it was shut when the hull collapsed and was violently flung open by the pressure build up.
    Back to the Scorpion . In the article that began this discussion, the author states that a simultaneous hull collapse took place and separated the forward section from the Operations Compartment and resulted in the extensive debris to being deposited on the ocean floor including damaged battery parts. I am not an expert .. not even close, but I find that not to be what happened. I feel the ER piston action contributed to the violent motion of the ship, internal shock forces and etc ruptured the Operations Compartment area ( and possibly a scope being dislodged).
    Now a note on the Thresher. Cork and poly bottles were found on the surface soon after the accident. This is confirmation of a severe hull rupture. Because there are very limited photos and discussion officially of the Thresher, a layman such as myself, is left without a logical sequence of events. I believe all of what Bruce has said and I respect what he has said … further … I respect what he has not said.
    While being trimmed negatively was very very likely … what else happened that could have bore on the problem? If it was trimmed wrong .. was it forward, aft, overall .. what combination? I don’t expect an explanation but it matters. By the time Thresher went down several nuclear boats had made test depth test dives. Surely in those wardrooms the manner to proceed had made it to Officers training programs. Surely the dive was planned .. wasn’t it ?? Hadn’t the CO,XO and Ship’s Diving Officer laid out a detailed plan?
    My primary interest is not what took place in the Operations Compartment during the dive … I hope they were prudent in their descent. I am interested in the (likely and) known events that took place aft.
    I am not free to speak freely about what may or may not have happened there other than what I have said already. If an operator inadvertently caused a scram were there things that might have, more than normal, confused him or distracted those that may have prevented his incorrect actions?? I am curious what public accurate info relates to this.

    • Bruce Rule says:


      With reference to the following from your posting (but I find that not to be what happened. I feel the ER piston action contributed to the violent motion of the ship, internal shock forces and etc ruptured the Operations Compartment area ( and possibly a scope being dislodged).), note that the
      shock-wave from the first collapse that triggered the second collapse
      had a velocity in steel of about 10,200 mph (15,000 f/s), several times
      greater than the velocity with which the ER would have moved forward
      when the after sections of the pressure-hull telescoped.


      • George Hubbard says:

        several times
        greater than the velocity with which the ER would have moved forward
        when the after sections of the pressure-hull telescoped.

        Understand. My comprehension of the dynamics at the moment of collapse is quite limited. Thanks for your comments !! I wish that I better understood the dynamics. I appreciate your clarification.
        The telescoping of the ER is easy for me to visualize. I have more difficulty in understanding the forward hull failure as I am seeing it as secondary event and I cannot accurately assess the flood rate following the telescoping fracture or the internal distortions resulting from the after machinery filling the space forward.
        Nonetheless I am fully satisfied with your calculations and your sequence of events. I am very satisfied with the likelihood that your calculations were done with reliable data and that you were prudent in allowances for error.

      • Bruce Rule says:

        This replies to posting 39.1.1


        No one has a good understanding of the dynamics of pressure-hull collapses. The only temporal durations – and derived velocities – for such events come from knowing the reciprocal of the bubble-pulse frequency (BPF) . For SCORPION, the BPF was 4.48-Hz and the reciprocal was was 0.223-seconds (1/4.48). This is the time required for the bubble (air within the hull) to collapse and re-expand to the sea-pressure equalization point; hence, the time for the water to intrude to the maximum compression point is half that value or 0.111-seconds. Based on the assumption that the point of maximum compression was half the 31.5-foot
        diameter of the SCORPION pressure-hull, we have a velocity for the
        wave-front of the intruding water-ram of roughly 300 f/s or about 100 mph.
        This assumes a linear event and does not consider the slowing of the wavefront as it encounters increasing pressure with the approach of the
        point of maximum compression. In reality, the velocity of the wave-front
        may be more like 600 f/s or 200 mph upon the initial entry into the pressure-hull but this is little more than an educated (I hope) guess. That said, there is no better estimate because this is a completely unexplored
        area, one the Navy has shown zero interest in investigating.

        It is a safe conclusion that the second point of collapse of the SCORPION pressure-hull occurred about 0.007-seconda after the first collapse because 15,000 f/s (10,200 mph) is the velocity of the triggering shock-wave through the steel of the pressure-hull and the collapse points were separated by about 100-feet. This is another original assessment; you won’t find any discussion of such matters anywhere else.

        So, you have the water-ram expanding within the pressure-hull from the first point of collapse at an initial velocity of circa 200 mph meeting the water-ram wave front from the other point of collapse essentially midway between the collapse points because the velocity of the shock-wave was about 50 times greater than the velocity of the advancing water-ram (10,200 mph versus 200 mph).

        Now, how fast would the ER have accelerated? I think it is a safe assumption that it had to be not much less than 200 mph.

        Bottom line: as I have said elsewhere, the SCORPION pressure-hull and
        all internal bulkheads were completely destroyed in no more than 0.111-
        seconds which is slightly faster than Usain Bolt, the current world-record
        holder in the 100m and 200m sprints, reacts to the starting gun (0.133-seconds in the 200m record run).

        Thank you for making me redo these calculation (you should check my math) which are dedicated to Vince Collier, that paragon of rationality.

        Bruce Rule

      • George Hubbard says:

        I would like to attempt a simplified hull construction and the collapse events. I am not declaring myself correct but laying the scenario out for discussion.
        First I would like to make a very simplified somewhat similar hull to Scorpion. I will make it with five pieces. A: Forward cone with an after edge of 30 feet in diameter and then 30 foot cylinder section ( The after cone is identical ). B: A transition piece from the forward cone to the center piece. The forward diameter is 30 feet and the after diameter is 31 feet. C: A center piece a cylinder of 31 feet. D: An after transition piece with a foreward diameter of 31 feet and an after diameter of 30 feet. the last piece a cone with the forward diameter of 30 feet and a cylinder section . The pieces are welded together.
        Now a few assumptions. A: The ship is level at zero speed. B: The After transition ring has a slightly lower fail point than the forward ring.
        All the hull has compressive forces … but the transition pieces have complex forces due to the different diameters of the connected pieces.
        The forward cone is pushing aft on the transision piece with a force of about 100,000,000 pounds. Pi X r squared ( inches ) x (Depth/100) x 44 … or 3.1416 X 32499 x 22 x 44 = 98,931,694 pounds.
        The after cone is pushing forward on the transition piece with the same force … So the center cylinder has forces being applied toward the center of about 100 million pounds.
        Now I’m going to make a couple of assumptions…. A: The after cone is not a solid ( like a piston ) but has some of the characteristics of a biscuit cutter. I am going to assume the transition piece fails as though it did a brittle fracture.. ( I know this is not completely true. )
        At the very instant the after transition ring breaks … there is no 100 million pounds of force directly connected to the after end of the center cylinder… So the center cylinder has the forward cone pressing with compressive forces and the after forces of the forward cone … but is somewhat relieved of the forward forces of the after cone. The point that I’m trying to make is … There is a shock wave … but at the same time the forward transition ring is relieved of some of its stress ..momentarily … but a heck of a shock is coming soon. So in my mind the second hull failure is delayed.
        So what I’m saying is the after cone, acting as a biscuit cutter , heads forward with, for a moment, very limited retarding forces. The water entering around the smaller aft cylinder acts somewhat as a spacer and a lubricant. As the water rushes in it fills the space between the smaller and larger cylinders and moves faster than the ER ( after cone ) .. but the water must make a u-turn to enter the void in the after cone.
        In my opinion this give the after cone a significant head start before the forward collapse begins.
        Additionally … when the fracture occurs aft .. in my opinion.. The forces acting on the center cylinder from the rear are relieved and the forces from the forward cone accelerates the forward cone, the forward transition piece and the center cylinder rearward … but muct slower than the ER goes forward.
        Asuming that I am anywhere close to what is happening … The forward three pieces ( and part of the after transition piece ) are headed rearward .
        The after section travels forward mimimally impeded at first, gains velocity ( and thus mv squared ) …
        At some point the retarding forces start to rise rapidily …
        ( To digress : As I see it the forward collapse is delayed .. ever so slightly by the reduction in forces caused by the breaking of the after transition ring … This is a momentary disconnect of the after section from the forward three pieces. )
        Now to resume … The forward group of pieces are headed aft slowly .. The ER is moving forward at high speed and .. As the internal pieces and water collide … complex forces develop breaking the forward transition piece.
        That is how I visualize the the sequence of events.
        In my opinion the action of the ER contributes to the the seconday telescoping prior to the collision with the forward group.
        This is simply how i visualize the events.

      • Bruce Rule says:

        This responds to Posting 39.1.3


        I applaud your efforts and wish i could provide more useful input. As previously discussed, I am confident the first collapse event triggered
        the second event and the sites were separated by circa 100-feet. It’s
        difficult for me to conceive of anything that would delay the collapse of
        the second site which already was stressed by sea-pressure at a depth of 1530-feet. The Canary Island station helicorder gram – with a best time-resolution of circa 0.2-seconds shows no double energy peak for the
        pressure-hull collapse event.

        That gram did clearly show the two battery explosion events that were
        separated in time by about 0.5-secnds. Looking at that display, it can be
        estimated that you could separate events as close as 03-seconds if
        there was a sharp drop-off of the peak energy of both events.

        I suggest you check with Stephen Johnson and/or the 589 website that
        is concerned with technical issues to see if others have made similar investigations.

        Best of luck and keep this site informed.


      • George Hubbard says:

        seconds shows no double energy peak for the
        pressure-hull collapse event.
        I have one last question ( I think ) … I have been lead to believe that there were two after telescoping events at two transition joints .. Do you feel there were one or two telescoping events or one ? ( … or are you unable to determine.)
        Thanks !! I appreciate your tollerance of my layman’s attempt to understand the sequence.

  39. John Wouldridge says:

    I am aware of the capabilities of the periscopes that the Seawolf, Virginia, and the Ohio class boats have. Totally different from what the Scorpion, Thresher, and other boats built back in the 60’s. The comments were based on those two boats at the time of their demise. As for me, at 60yrs old, I am double retired. I was a radioman (2300,2304) that got my training at Bainbridge, Md. My 2nd Pension comes from working 21 yrs at a maximum security prison in which I recently retired a captain. That was a 20 yr pension system also. My father, who also was a radioman and is also is a retired Navy man man. He also worked as a correctional officer for 27 yrs and retired a Lieutenant. My brother also retired from the Navy as a hospital corpsman. He is a track inspector for the transit rail I am also a master model builder of navy ships. I like driving late model mustangs with v8 engines only, no v6’s here. I am still working today trying to get my third pension. anything else you want to know. Furthermore, if you carefully read my comments, I described them as SPECULATION from my point of view. It appears to me and probably others that you are angry and arguementive. But about what, comments, please. Don’t lose sleep over whatever someone else says or believes.

    • John Wouldridge says:

      George, I forgot to mention the Los Angeles class boats when I mention the Sea Wolf, Virginia, and Ohio class boats. And also I forgot to mention, I have two lionel train sets. I got my first train as a present at birth in 1951. My dad also bought me another one in 1961. Both of them are fully operational and in excellent shape. I still put one of them around the tree at Christmas. I no longer casually drink alcohol and I never smoked cigarettes in my life. I am happily married. I also have good auto mechanical skills. Is there anything else you want to know about me.

    • RK ALLEMAN says:

      Thanks, John, I knew you would understand. Those ‘farms’ with my temporary temporary TAD platforms prior to getting onboard my next hop. I usually hung out with the ‘real’ captain of the ship, the LDO, and enjoyed watching the lads play with the models up there in that sector. Never saw one incident, ever, other than the fact one of the lads almost grabbed the first cable. That’s a no-no in that line of work. And of course, watching night quals, where pilots could not be more than 1/4 inch off the ILS, and in roiled seas, well, what can I say except I knew who in the military has the biggest cojones landing those craft. Anyway, your dad reminded me of one of my mentors, an RMC. He knew his stuff, except he never knew what blittttt-dahh meant. I told him ‘shit at a hundred wpm.” I got points for that one. HA!

      I also served in the jail system, as a sheriff and booking officer, there in Flagstaff, and if you made captain in such a field, my hats off to you. I couldn’t stand the job. Maybe it was the idiots I worked with, because I thought the people I booked there in Intake were more intelligent than those that I worked with. Hope that doesn’t sound too offensive to you. Now I’m back with the feds working at the Grand Canyon. Catch me here at and we can chat about that and let the HistoryNet site do the job it was meant to do.

      By the way, I also have my pea-coat, circa 1963, mint condition, and isn’t that funny you claim the same. i also think mine’s older, so let’s compare coats one of these days upon meeting. I’m living in Santa Fe, New Mexico these days, though I still run some backpacking treks for the NPS educational outreach program, there in my other office, the Grand Canyon. AT 65 years and counting, I’m still able to lead classes and tote a 65 plus pound backpack, so I have nothing to complain about, sailor.

      Let’s do talk F-4s, (my favorite), carriers, Rm-crypto stuff, and of course the Scorpion stuff, which is what initially got me into the intrigue of this website. I still enjoy all of you and all of your comments. Talk about free education.


  40. George Hubbard says:

    I have no emotional issues at all. Mine is an interest in facts as best they can be determined.
    In that a periscope passes through a hull penetration appeared to have received minimal consideration as well as its usefulness below the surface. It was difficult to determine from your comments that you are so well versed in periscopes and their usefulness.
    If you had presently available sources of public domain information, I was interested in how it could be obtained.
    Answering a full bell is quite different than a lower ordered bell in that on many ships it requires much more operator action that opens the potential for error. A full bell is a simple impossibility after a scram , before the scram was a different matter. Any sound recording may have indicated that a full bell was ordered or attempting to be answered. If that was observed by any means was my interest.
    If I had anger issues … my responses would have been somewhat different. If you will review you will find my comments only referred to accuracy .. and made no negative comments toward you.

    • John Wouldridge says:

      George, I respect your interest in facts as best they can be determined. That is all any of us want also. As far as I know, periscopes have always passed through a hull penetration when raised or lowered since the advent of periscopes. They have changed tremendously over the years as far as what they can do. The boats today have monitors in areas of the boat that are wired to allow the crew to observe, I know that. You are right. It has received minimal consideration or comment. I am not well versed on periscopes. I have seen footage of what you can see through a periscope when the boat is submerged, especially when seal teams or the boats divers are departing. You can see quite well. I never said I was well versed on the usage of the periscope. My comment was in reference to the Thresher at test depth. Is/was her periscope that she had on board useful? No, I don’t presently have sources of public information. I’d have to look that up. Scorpion wreckage photos #NH 97222-KN, which show the highly crushed hull section where the sail was attached, you can visibly see what is identified as a periscope tube sticking out of a hull penetration. There are a couple of hull penetrations in that photo. Also, look at photo #NH 97223-KN, which is a photo of the separated sail. These two photos are the ones that I view the most. I don’t know anything about the answering of a full bell or lesser bell being used. I don’t know who could factually expound on that matter, in the Thresher’s situation, other than the Skylark. I have never read or heard that mentioned until now. Everyone is looking for accuracy, but where and whom is it going to come from? I’m sure that the Navy has not released the full communication between Thresher and Skylark, other than what they want known. In my comments I mentioned speculation. I never said they were facts or how accurate they were. Only those Thresher and Scorpion crew members know that.

  41. RK ALLEMAN says:

    It’s been a while since I’ve been on this site and I’m sorry to see, read and hear there’s a bit of upset writers given one another’s comments. We have to remember these are all opinions expressed from varying points of view. You are all very intelligent in my view, and with respect to my original comments about the S.O.S. I first got, and Bruce telling me maybe my times were off, well, that’s possible. It was a long time ago. As far as the bumping and the playing chicken activity, in my former line of work, ASW, I have to deny those who claimed that never happened. It really did. We did the same with Soviet aircraft. They were crazy and tense and unsteady years. I can’t tell you how many ‘flash’ and ‘zulu’ and ‘TS’ and ‘OEO’ material I received and transmitted, but I can tell you it really was crazy times back then. I actually loved what I did and was proud that a young man who had no prior training in such stuff would be entrusted to that world. Anyway, let’s agree to disagree, gentlemen, about this issue. My own novel you have all richly enhanced with your comments. If it ever gets published I will site this source, not the names, for helping me find my way through a narrative that will, for a change, attempt to get inside that hapless boat and promote a humanitarian theme, along with a few other points a film director friend suggests I focus on.

    Again, I am in awe of most of you given what you know, what you did and how frame your arguments, your commentaries. I used to think I knew a thing or two about the silent service, being in same, but next to you, well, I suppose I might think of myself as an empty-headed bubble head type. RK

    • John Wouldridge says:

      Very well put RK. I respect that and whatever your endeavors are.

  42. VINCE COLLIER says:

    (This may be too big to all post. I have saved a copy)
    If you have read Scorpion Down, you’ll know who I am. I have read thru the comments, considered the data and references offered here. I keep an open mind, as I would want to know if there was any new evidence to consider. So far, I have seen people trying to promote their books, or trying to defend something they have already written that now looks faulty by offering different theories, etc. I still haven’t the slightest doubt that the tape I viewed when a graduate student at FLEASWTRACENLANT Norfolk Va. accurately depicted the death of the USS Scorpion as it tried to evade a Soviet torpedo. My position isn’t based on second hand info or something overheard from someone else. I SAW THE TAPE recorded by Station Bermuda on May 22, 1968. I didn’t hear about it, no one “told me” about it, I SAW IT PLAY OUT. I and several others analyzed that tape, and came to the same inescapable conclusion. The Scorpion sank trying to evade a Soviet torpedo. You will NEVER convince me that the Scorpion wasn’t trying to evade a Russian torpedo when she sank. The DSA gram writers of the day didn’t show detailed acoustic data with respect to how long individual events happened, the destruction happened in the space of about 3.3 minutes. What they did show was a Soviet (not American) Torpedo signature that ran for between six and seven minutes and a massive seimic event, during which the blade rate and turbine signature of the Scorpion and the torpedo blade rate ended.
    I was sent a copy of the Canary Island acoustic data that Mr. Offley had gotten from the Navy. thru the Freedom of Info Act. The first thing I noticed was that the data within the hertz range where you would find a Soviet torpedo was blank. As in just missing from the gram spectrum. All the rest was there, above it and below, including background noise. That part of the strip was blank, incuding the background noise. I conclude that the copy was censored to remove the torpedo signature, and that’s why the background noise was gone as well. He also obtained a copy of the signature held by Station Argentia, and the Navy’s copy had the “postit” with the labeling info right over the area we wanted to see, effectively blocking it out on the copy. The request for the Station Bermuda copy went unreplied. That piece would show what I saw on the tape. They just flat don’t answer. Imagine that.
    In my still unwavering opinion, the 99 men aboard the Scorpion died in combat, and deserve that respect.

  43. VINCE COLLIER says:

    I see Bruce Rule touting his “re-examination” of the Canary Island acoustic data. I have seen the same data. The official copy of the data supplied by the Navy due to the Freedom of Information Act is from a hard copy print out and starts sixteen seconds before the implosion sounds began. His conclusion dosen’t allow for the fact that he doesn’t know what happened more than 16 seconds before the implosion took place. Such as an explosion from a Soviet torpedo, close enough to cause severe shockwaves that can cause any number of failures, including the battery explosions he mentions. Tests showed that the batteries could be made to explode due to severe vibration. he contends that the sub was cruising under routine conditions. Routine submarine operations rarely produce mild vibrations, let alone severe ones. Bruce Rule has disproven nothing with this tact in his posts. He does however, encourage you to follow a link that eventually tries to make a sale.

    • Bruce Rule says:

      Vince Collier:

      You have NOT seen the data I used to derive the previously posted assessments. I did NOT get it from the Navy. Provide your address and I’ll send you the Canary Island gram for the one-hour period that included the 200-second period of detection of SCORPION collapse events. The first major event, which had the force of 13,200-lbs of TNT, was not preceeded by any event other than the two relatively weak battery signals nearly 22-minutes earlier.

      I have made an intentional effort to keep these exchanges on a non-acerbic plain. I suggest you do the same. I further suggest you read the reviews and address the issues discussed therein point
      by point on this site.

      I know of no tests that show excessive vibration can cause a submarine battery explosion. Can you cite documents that support that contention?
      OBTW, do you have the SCORPION Structural Analysis Group Report
      of 29 June 1970 which discusses the battery explosions and was released into the public domain in 1993?

      Bruce Rule

      • Bruce Rule says:

        I want to add exactly what data Vince Collier never saw:

        – Lofargrams, both original and those reproduced from the Canary Island tape.

        – Plots of the time-difference fix solution for the wreck-site.

        – Helicorder displays from both the Canary Island and Argentia, NFLD
        sensors that had time-resolutions of 0.2-seconds that were critical for
        determining the trajectory of the wreckage between 1530- and 3600-feet.

        – Plots for the positions of the Canary Island hydrophones accurate to
        the tenth of s second.

        – A high quality copy of the original Canary Island tape which I gave to
        the Office of Naval Intelligence in Nov 2009. This was the first time ONI
        had ever had any such data.

        – The list goes on and on but the above establishes that Vince Collier
        never saw any of the acoustic data and collateral information criticial
        to establishing that SCORPION was lost because two battery explosions
        were the initiating events responsible for the disaster – there was no
        conspiracy; there was no Soviet involvement.

        I still await Vince Collier’s answers to the numerous questions I have asked about the ASW Training School tape that so obviously was fabricated to deceive the analytically uninformed.

        Bruce Rule

    • Bruce Rule says:

      Vince Collier:

      I do not question that you saw a tape that contained the acoustic signatures you describe. What I question is the authenticity of that tape, In that regard, I pose the following questions to which your answers should be informative:

      – Do you believe Richard Flack’s comment (quote) on page 285 of SCORPION DOWN that “split-plant” propulsion mode used at the time of the SCORPION encounter. was the “silent version” for Soviet operation of an ECHO-II SSGN? Beside the fact that Flack has the propulsion train
      line-up for that mode wrong, i.e., one drive train in gear reduction, the
      other in turbo-electric rather than both in turbo-electric, there is the fact
      use of the split-plant mode would have made the ECHO-II MORE NOT LESS detectable than if both drive trains had been operated in gear-reduction mode. This is because a single driving shaft must operate at 25-percent higher rpm than both shafts to achieve the same speed. This increased propeller shaft speed would be more likely to produce cavitation because the off-axial thrust produced by one propeller encountering turbulence produced by the required rudder off-set angle will lower the cavitation inception point. Additionally, the misalignment between the course steered and the attitude of the submarine (crabbing) would create a gyroscopic effect that would increase hull-excitation and the detectability of propeller sources.

      Now, a few questions:

      – Based on the above, do you believe that an ECHO-II operating at
      speeds probably no higher than 12-knots could catch and kill a near
      30-knot SCORPION?

      – How do you rationalize your contention that SOSUS detected an
      encounter between SCORPION and the ECHO-II when such an event
      was not identified by the entire SOSUS Headquarters staff when they
      exhaustively reviewed all WESTLANT SOSUS data for the date?

      – Do you believe Offley’s contention in SCORPION DOWN (pp 290)
      that ONI agents impounded all SOSUS data as part of a massive operation (pp 287) to confiscate and destroy all relevant acoustic data, and that ONI agents (pp 288) threatened SOSUS watchstanders about disclosing such an effort?

      – Given that such an ONI operation actually occurred, how can you explain why one critical tape survived that massive effort and turned up
      14-years later at an ASW training school and what has happened to it since?

      These are only a few of the many questions that await credible answers,
      which, if not forthcoming, confirm – as if further confirmation is needed – that SCORPION DOWN is a complete fabrication.

      What I suggest you do is to try to contact those ASW Training School
      instructors who, in 1982, foisted a tape they composited off on students as a real event, and get them to admit this reprehensible act that continues to captivate the gullible who are not bothered by the massive inconsistencies and conflicting data including imagery of the SCORPION

      Your aggression is misplaced. It should be directed against those who snookered you, and apparently Richard Flack and other students, with
      a wild conjecture that cannot withstand real data.

      If you want a mission on the subject of SCORPION, run these reprobates
      to earth and get them to cough up the truth.

      Bruce Rule

  44. Bruce Rule says:

    Vince Collier:

    I am enormously pleased you have posted on this site and hope we can have a reasoned and useful exchange on the matter of the
    acoustic detection of an interaction between SCORPION and an ECHO-II Class Soviet nuclear submarine on 22 May 1968 that you
    discussed here and Ed Offley discusses at greater length in his book, SCORPION DOWN and Craig Reed repeats in RED NOVEMBER.

    It is suggested that you, and all who are interested in this subject. read my one-star reviews of SCORPION DOWN and RED NOVEMBER. The issues I have with any SCORPION-ECHO-II interaction, more fully discussed in the review, are included below but, first, to address your posting:.

    – I have a photo-copy of the original Canary Island hydrophone D
    DSA broadband lofargram detection of the period from 1600Z to 2000Z on 22 May 1968 which I can send to you if you provide an address. This display was produced in real time at the Canary Island station. It was not reproduced later from a tape recording. There is no blanking of any portion of the standard acoustic spectrum; indeed, there are long-range blade-rate detections of several transiting merchant ships throughout the four-hour period. There are no – repeat no – detections of a U.S., nuclear submarine, an ECHO-II or a torpedo. There are only the detections of multiple strong low-frequency transient signals between 1859Z and 1902Z.
    Several of these events also were detected by two Argentia, NFLD
    SOSUS arrays as significantly weaker signals. These signals were produced by SCORPION pressure-hull collapse and the subsequent collapse of internal structures including the six torpedo tubes. The Argentia arrays did not detect any submarines or a torpedo. I also have a copy of the original Canary Island tape of the period from 1858Z to about 1906Z on 22 May. There were no detections by either the DOG or EASY Bermuda arrays or any WESTLANT arrays other than Argentia.

    – As discussed in the review, and attested to by 15 individuals with 400-years collective experience in SOSUS, all
    acoustic data for the period of several days either side of 22 May were sent to the SOSUS headquarters in Norfolk and exhaustively analyzed. There was not – as Offley contends – any effort to confiscate, suppress or destroy any SOSUS acoustic data nor did
    ONI agents threaten SOSUS watchstanders about disclosure
    of any acoustic data. “Ed Offley’s conspiracy claims are a total
    fabrication; they are utterly false.”

    – As stated in the review, the tape you saw played at the ASW training school was produced at the school by copying three unrelated detection events – an ECHO-II, a US nuclear submarine,
    and a torpedo onto a single tape. On page 285 of SCORPION DOWN, Richard Flack, an instructor at the school is quoted as saying that the ECHO-II was operating in the split-plant propulsion
    mode during the “encounter.” That mode was normally used when
    operating at speeds between 6 and 12 knots and could not be used
    for speeds above 14 knots because of excessive loading on the
    driving propeller. This means that during the postulated encounter with SCORPION, the ECHO-II was operating at less than half the maximum speed of the SCORPION, which is very hard to accept

    – It is also difficult to explain how such important acoustic data did not turn-up until 1982, 14 years after the loss of SCORPION, and then at an ASW training school – and what has happened to it since?

    – There also is the imagery of the SCORPION wreck that shows
    incontrovertible evidence that the pressure-hull collapsed under
    enormous pressure. Had SCORPION been sunk by a torpedo, the
    hull would be in one piece with one hole in it because the hull would have been fully-flooded (pressure-equalized) before it
    sank to collapse depth. Then there also is the solution to the
    bubble-pulse frequency – internal volume – energy release relationship that requires energy equal to 13,200-lbs of TNT to
    produce a 4.48-Hz bubble-pulse at 1530-feet. That’s more explosive power than SCORPION’s entire load of conventional

    Finally, the SCORPION battery explosion events confirmed in June 1970 by examination and metallurgical testing of a recovered battery component has been correlated to two acoustic events within one-half second at 18:20:44Z. These were the initiating events that resulted in the loss of SCORPION 21-minutes and 50-seconds later. There was no conspiracy to deceive the SCORPION Court of Inquiry as Ed Offley maintain, and there was no Soviet involvement. SCORPION was lost because the crew was incapacitated by the explosion of hydrogen outgassed by the TLX-53-A main storage battery.

    Read my reviews of SCORPION DOWN and RED NOVEMBER. I shall be pleased to continue this discussion
    on this site.

    Thank you again for posting.

    Bruce Rule

  45. RK ALLEMAN says:

    Gentlemen, I see you are all up to your old tricks again – posting very intelligent remarks the likes of which some of us have to struggle with all the technical details. But thank you. You are a special wealth of knowledge for me, at least. I have read these books in question, well, those scripts that each provide a different perspective on the Scorpion’s demise. I also have to say “Silent Steel” is the best read out of all. He cautions us to constantly rethink our personal views on the matter, especially the fundamental cause for the death dive of Brandywine. I think this is good advice. I also have to say, and this comment especially for you, Bruce, I do not trust the findings of the so-called evidentiary committees. For one thing, I know for a fact I turned in those S.O.S. records to Cinclantflt (Ivanhoe at the time), with the intention Sublant and ASWforlant (my former command) would utilize the information…and based on the fact I get tired or jaded hearing SSN589 must have been close to the surface at time of radio silence, and in so doing, had her antennas protruding to make her distress call. I reported a 3/5 garbled message and responded and responded and responded, to no avail. There were at least three Maydays, perhaps four. Now, she was in trouble, she did break radio silence, and someone heard her. You don’t turn in records to a higher command knowing perjury could come of it, if challenged. I worked HiCom, the US Naval Communications State, GTMO, at the time, and that was just part of my assignment. For all the clever analysis presented by so many wizards in the know, even the absurd ideas of Craven, which he seems to have vacillated on over the years (“yes, it was her own torpedo that did her in,” or “no, you have taken my report out of context”) . . . everything ended up in a convoluted and proverbial ball of wax. Some of you say, no, the Russians could not have been involved, and there were no ‘bumping’ interference chicken games going on. Fact is, when working for ASW you find out to the contrary just how aggressive both sides were during these testy Cold War days. We hung the SOSUS and that made the adversary even more determined to engage us more openly. So, yes, I think there was another sub involved; and I think something still stinks about this well executed explanation that yields fragments of a truth never glimmering, yet there just below the surface. And, yes, perhaps there was an accident in such aggression. Fact is, there is this one vital missing piece that renders all dialogues incomplete, regardless the science of post investigations and their findings. Again, I applaud Mr. Stephen Johnson’s sensitive take on the matter. It’s a book of learning, of insight, and mostly provokes the imagination and compassion in what really happened to those hapless 99. RK

    • Bruce Rule says:

      RK, Vince Collier:

      Here is some information from the public-domain – repeat, the public domain – to mull over:

      – COMSUBLANT msg 271946Z May 1968 provides SCORPION’s 2200001Z May position as near 31-21N, 27-36W; her intended course:
      290 to Norfolk; her intended speed of advance (SOA): 18-knots.

      – The SCORPION wreck lies near 32-55N, 33-09W which is
      about 297 nautical miles (nm) out bearing 290 from the 220001Z
      position. To have achieved that position at the 221821Z time of the battery explosions time, SCORPION would have had to average 16.2-knots and have been 33 nm behind her planned position at 18-knots, well within the difference allowed by op-plans for transiting nuclear submarines.

      This information indicates SCORPION was lost while exactly
      on her intended course at close to her intended speed. That doesn’t
      leave much opportunity to have either spent time at periscope depth
      sending traffic or engaging in an “underwater dogfight” with an ECHO-II
      Class Soviet nuclear submarine.

      Sorry if this information is inconvenient. For Vince Collier: anyone looking
      at the displays reproduced from the ASW Training School tape should have smelled a rat as soon as they recognized the ECHO-II was in the
      split-plant mode. That observation by Richard Falck – who should have
      known more about acoustic signatures than he obviously did – by itself,
      falsifies the “encounter” conjecture. As previously stated, you can’t
      close and kill a near 30-knot US nuc when your speed is only – at best –
      about 12 knots. Whoever put that tape together chose the wrong data
      to sell their fictional story but no one who got snookered apparently had the analytical experience to recognize the mismatch. If that tape is still around, it might be possible to identify the actual events that were cobbled together to create it. Such detections, even among thousands, are much easier to remember (identify by date and location) than a non-analyst might suppose.

      Bruce Rule

      • John Wouldridge says:

        Bruce, I agree with you 30 knot vs 12 knot encounter comparison. The encounter would have only happened if the slower boat was waiting for the faster boat to come by. I don’t believe that was the case. If that was the case, Scorpion’s sonar techs should have detected the echo-II attempting to get into position. I speculate that the ASW School training was a scenario that was reproduced, with added parameters, from that tragedy. Aside from this, with the exception of you and RK, I speculate that there are certain parties of late that have/are vigorously commenting for a purpose. To construct a believable rationale into the demise of the Scorpion. They seem to want sources of info that they don’t currently have. If it contains something believable and has not been printed, you might see another book, with familiar or recognizable info. Old info with a new twist, just may sell.

      • Bruce Rule says:

        Reply to Posting 46.1.1


        I certainly hope you are wrong and there will not be another SCORPION conspiracy book. With that possibility in mind. Norman Polmar discussed
        the SCORPION battery event evidence in Chapter 11 of AZORIAN.

        With respect to the recent hostile exchanges on this site, it appears there will always be an audience for another conspiracy book comprised of those who willingly accept the most unlikely scenario in preference to explanations supported by evidence.

        That’s why the town of Roswell, NM does a thriving business selling
        space alien items and so many in the UK continue to believe in the crop-circle myths even after the two guys who made them showed how simple
        it was to do it.

        Oh well, one cannot hope to convince those who will believe such tales
        even in the face of overwhelming evidence they are wrong. At least there is the satisfaction of knowing that the reviews did some damage to sales of the two SCORPION conspiracy books.



  46. Bruce Rule says:

    Vince Collier:

    I assume you now realize that there is a wealth of acoustic data related to the loss of SCORPION that neither you nor Ed Offley were aware of and that both these data and the metallurgical testing of the recovered battery component confirm it was a battery explosion that resulted in the loss of the submarine.

    When you came on this site, I was encouraged by the possibility that addition information on the now notorious ASW Training School tape might be forthcoming. I admit to being appalled that you
    still believed the tape recorded a real event, despite the agreed
    assessment of 15 individuals with 400-years of total SOSUS-related experience that it was an obvious fake.

    Since you apparently are either unwilling or unable to address the
    numerous questions I asked about both the tape and Offley’s book –
    especially the wild conspiracy theories about ONI agents threatening SOSUS watchstanders and destroying data – it is perhaps best that you withdraw from this site and avoid further

    Bruce Rule

  47. VINCE COLLIER says:

    MODERATOR’S NOTE: Some comments have been removed from this post because they violate HistoryNet’s terms of use. The remainder of the post was retained in order to allow readers to see, consider and evaluate for themselves some of the points raised.

    Ok, Bruce, here’s a “one at a time” reply to your massive attempt to sell your wares thru

    First off, one of the early things you said(this is copy and paste from your statement)

    “I have made an intentional effort to keep these exchanges on a non-acerbic plain. I suggest you do the same.”

    Yeah, but then you go on with:

    “I still await Vince Collier’s answers to the numerous questions I have asked about the ASW Training School tape that so obviously was fabricated to deceive the analytically uninformed.”

    Bruce Rule

    Wow. For a guy who is trying to be “non-acerbic”, calling me “analytically uninformed” is just THE nicest compliment! Any one who graduated in the top 5% of the 22 classes taught so far that year(as per his instructors records) not to mention that OT-A shool was the second hardest technical school the Navy operates behind ET Nuclear Power, is anything but analytically uninformed.
    Our wash-out rate was approaching 40%. I aced that class. I went in as an ET, OT wasn’t even on a list of options where I enlisted.
    I was approached by a “headhunter” after completion of a course in electronics to cross-rate from ET to OT after review of my scores, and my holding of the highest AFQT scores in my entire division at RTC San Diego. I now design and build elevators and deck cranes, etc for buildings and ships.

    I. You said ” You have NOT seen the data I used to derive previously posted assesments”. You went on to say “I did NOT get it from the Navy”

    The data from the Canary Island station I saw was the same data that was given to the Board of Inquiry. Funny, how you happen to get more, and didn’t cite where from, just where not from. And another thing, If you believe that they don’t have a way of REMOVING the data they don’t want you to see, you are an exceptional idiot.

    2. You said “I know of no tests that show excessive vibration can cause a submarine battery explosion” The battery explosion cited by Dr. Robert Ballard due to a thin foil electrolite separater in a torpedo battery has been well documented. Ballard maintains that a defective battery in a “hot run” torpedo may have exploded and cooked off a warhead in a forward tube causing a bow torpedo room explosion, such as what happened to the Kursk.(also a faulty torpedo) You want references as well.

    3. You said I never saw LOFAR grams from Canary Island. That’s true. Because there WERN’T any. The Canary island Station isn’t a SOSUS base, it’s a missile testing IMPACT tracking station, and has entirely different equipment that records at an entirely different speed and a very narrow frequency band. Canary Island Station has NONE of the “two cycles per second” actuators such as were used at the SOSUS bases in 1968. We had that area of the ocean covered with dedicated land bases designed to do the full spectrum surveilance. Canary Island tracked missiles. You don’t need full spectrum analysys to find a missile impact site, so they were not set up to monitor or record non-essential frequencies. Only the lowest seismic-related frequencies were used to locate test missile impacts. The equipment at the Canary Island station was designed after a hydrostatic seismograph, and generated a different type of gram entirely.
    Funny how you know so much, but you have never mentioned this this very important point.

    4. You said I also never saw grams “both original and and those reproduced” etc,. Who are you trying to kid? Do you actually think I believe that you have the “original recording” or that they are gonna let you just walk in there and see it? That’s not how it works. You make a request, they evaluate it, make a “clean copy”, and if you’re lucky, send the right one to you. there is NO GUARANTEE that ANYTHING you request isn’t censored. They censored the crap out of the Argentia data by puting a Postit over the area we wanted to see, then made the copy they sent us. I still have it. There is NO PENALTY (for the people who send it) to change it or censor it. How are you gonna prove they did? You CAN’T. And, they aren’t worried about it. Period.

    5. “Helicorder displays” (COMMENTS REMOVED) “Argentia NFLD sensors that had time resolutions of 0.2 seconds” etc, etc. Not in 1968, they didn’t. At that time, Argentia was still using 1958 era DSA equipment. Vernier and “Super Vernier” RTSP displays weren’t even ready until around 1977-78 when the new YNK series computers were first integrated into the system. Keflavic, Adak and COSP in Hawaii got that technology first, then Centerville, Bermuda and so on. Then the other less active smaller stations. I used to make the blueprints to figure out where to place the new equipment when it finally got to us, and I didn’t get to Centerville until 1982.

    More from you: “Plots for the positions of the Canary Island Hydrophones accurate to a tenth of a second” Except that sound travels 50.2 nautical miles per second in seawater, which puts your ‘location” off by as much as 5.7 miles for every 57 land miles distance to target if you are a tenth of a second off. The reported Scorpion wreck site you gave is 875.2 miles from the Canary Island array. By your own statements, your AOC is 86.5 miles across.

    You said: “– A high quality copy of the original Canary Island tape which I gave to
    the Office of Naval Intelligence in Nov 2009. This was the first time ONI
    had ever had any such data”

    Are you seriously saying that they didn’t have the Canary Island data even when the Station was a US Military base for gathering passive seismic data in the ocean and was only a relatively short distance(in SOSUS terms) away from the wreck site? Or are you saying that they “just forgot” about our listening post there? Of course, the data they did have must have been fake, huh? The same copy I had in Feb 2007…. We must all be special, because I had it, you had it,(in 2009) Offley had it too, but those poor dumb guys in Navy Intelligence were in total darkness until SuperRule rushed in and saved the day. At least that’s what you made it sound like.

    More: “- The list goes on and on but the above establishes that Vince Collier never saw any of the acoustic data and collateral information criticial to establishing that SCORPION was lost because two battery explosions”…yada yada yada…… Spare me, please.

    You: “– Do you believe Richard Flack’s(Rule get’s his name wrong twice, supposedly with the book right in front of him) comment (quote) on page 285 of SCORPION DOWN that “split-plant” propulsion mode used at the time of the SCORPION encounter was the “silent version” for Soviet operation of an ECHO-II SSGN?”

    Well, I DO have my autographed copy of the book right in front of me. Falck said that Echo II’s run in modes, one of which is “split plant” and goes on to descsribe it. This is the quietest mode for an echo II. I’m sure he described the other modes to Offley as well. Offley put it into the book to put some inferance into the ability of the Russian sub to run in different modes.
    The turbine-electric mode called split plant allowed finer speed control at the props, without having to change the turbine speed in dedicated relation. You could slow the trubine down to quiet minimal, supplement the propulsion power with battery power, and slip about rather quietly for awhile. Change your depth, get above or below the temp inversion layer, and you could easily lay in wait for an unsuspecting oncoming sub. Falck had seen the tape run many times, he was one of the best, if not THE best A school instructor at the facility, and a veteran of Keflavic and Adak, the two toughest stations we have on the planet. He’s an honorable Navy Vet, and he doesn’t lie about anything Navy, much less given the seriousness of the situation. These aren’t things you kid about. We have a code of honor between OT’s. It’s just not done.

    Rule’s assessment of the operation of the Echo II’s split-plant propulsion mode application is askew. Echo II’s main drives are an INLINE system. The turbine runs THROUGH the electric motors on the propshaft heads. Falck NEVER said they were running in a turbine-reduction and split-plant at the same time. Where did you even get that?

    You asked: “- Based on the above, do you believe that an ECHO-II operating at
    speeds probably no higher than 12-knots could catch and kill a near
    30-knot SCORPION?”

    If you know a sub is coming, because Walker provided you with the com-codes, and you intercepted the Scorpions orders, you can hide and watch. You can ambush. You can wait until the sub is close enough, fire your 40+ knot torpedo, and haul ass away from there to avoid retaliation, while the Scorpion does her best to take evasive action.

    You said “- How do you rationalize your contention that SOSUS detected an encounter between SCORPION and the ECHO-II when such an event was not identified by the entire SOSUS Headquarters staff when they exhaustively reviewed all WESTLANT SOSUS data for the date?”

    What you haven’t said, because they are NEVER gonna give it to you, or me, or anybody, is the signature held by station Bermuda. (where the tape I saw came from) Funny, how you tout the copy you aquired from station Argentia’s data, since it’s so God awful much further away, and yet you must have forgotten to ask for station Bermuda’s most excellent closer, clearer data. Offley asked for it. Others have asked for it. I have asked for it. No one has yet to get a reply, not even a “We can’t find it”. Nothing. Not a peep. They just flat don’t reply. Show me YOUR copy of Station Bermuda’s May 22nd logs for beamforms in the directions of one degree southwest(at that distance) of the Azores, and I will be impressed. Mostly that you got a reply at all. If you ever could get a copy it will likely be a copy of a gram showing a copy of a big ole’ postit, right over the target area you want to see. They can do that, and get away with it. They did it to us. The fact that they sent us anything meant that they were in “compliance” with the Freedom of Information Act. We could do nothing about it.

    You said: “- Do you believe Offley’s contention in SCORPION DOWN (pp 290)
    that ONI agents impounded all SOSUS data as part of a massive operation (pp 287) to confiscate and destroy all relevant acoustic data, and that ONI agents (pp 288) threatened SOSUS watchstanders about disclosing such an effort?”

    – “Given that such an ONI operation actually occurred, how can you explain why one critical tape survived that massive effort and turned up
    14-years later at an ASW training school and what has happened to it since?”

    Do I believe it? You ****** right I believe it. You just don’t seem to grasp the seriousness involved yet, do you? How far would you go to avoid nuclear war?
    The tape surviving the containment attempt was probably a fluke. They just somehow missed it. But it did survive. I saw it. You didn’t. That’s it.

    You go on to list the “public domain” location of the wreck of the Scorpion as if you really think the Navy is gonna EVER give the true location of a nuclear sub wreck with nukes onboard, so some other people might be able to find it. Oh, and the Public Domain location is right where it’s supposed to be. See? We told you it was an accident! Not a yard from the course communicated to COMSUBLANT. No way were the Russians waiting there for the sub, even with the Walker spy ring giving away all our comcodes and all. And somehow, all this info is inconvenient for who? Me?
    I’m not the guy who seems to forget that torpedoes are faster than submarines, even when fired from a slower boat. We once clocked a Russian torpedo at 51kts in the Gulf of Mexico.


    The tape I saw played right. The technology to falsify a tape would have to include the ability to duplicate the background patterns (called “bathtub effect”) caused by the signatures held at the time of reception, and that just didn’t exist back then. Yes, they could overlay a blade rate onto an existing tape, but you could spot it because the blade rates were equipment generated without background noise due to the fact that only one generated signal could be made by the equipment at that time. You couldn’t make the background noise fit the signal, it just wasn’t possible. Not to mention, there was no reason to do it. Back ground noise was ignored, in the ocean, and the classroom, and was considered a nusance. Imagine how easy it would be to read a beam if there was no background noise? When in training, it didn’t matter that it didn’t match, you were being taught to analyse the blade rate or the turbine, not the background. An actual signal causes unique striation or blotted patterns in the background noise that behave according to what the signature is doing on the graph. These characteristics are influenced by the bottom topography, the line of bearing, the aspect of the target in relation to the array, currents, depth, salinity, temperature, several factors, even whalesong can affect it. The tape I saw had everything in it’s normal perspective. Believe me when I say that it was easy to tell a training induced signature from the real thing. Training signatures change nothing in the background. The tape I saw was the real thing. I gave my interview to Mr. Offley, in good faith, and I have massive respect for my former instructors at ASW-OTA. (PART OF COMMENT REMOVED)

    I will not waste anymore time on him, or this thread. This is such a monumental waste of time.

    Vince Collier

    • Bruce Rule says:

      Vince Collier:

      Here goes, responses point for point, sequentially”

      – The Canary Island site – more properly the Columbia Univesity Hydroacoustic Station Canaries – was an entirely unclassified operation manned by university personnel and Spanish – that’s right – Spanish nationals. None of the SCORPION data from that site was classified in 1968. I got the original DSA lofargram for hydrophone A – that was run continous at that site – for the period 221600Z-222000Z. This data never went to the Court of Inquiry activitiy (Naval Ordnance Lab) that supported the COI. I got a copy of the tape made in 1968 by someone associated with the station – and it was then – and is now – unclassified.

      – I know of no way to remove any data from a hard copy gram without
      leaving evidence of such a removal. Remember that the Canary Island site gram contained valid signatures of merchant ships in the same area of the spectrum as the claimed ECHO-II/SCORPION/torpedo signatures. None of Canary Island data shows any evidence of tampering, and contrary to your assertion, such tampering cannot be disguised

      – Ballard’s conjecture that there was a hot-run torpedo in a tube that caused a SCORPION torpedo room explosion is refuted by the intact
      condition of that section of the bow that contained the torpedo tubes AND
      imagery that shows the bulkhead at the after end of the torpedo room was
      deformed FORWARD confirming the force came from aft, not from within the torpedo room.

      – The KURSK was lost because a fire produced by the mixing of fuels in an HPT-powered torpedo cooked-off the entire weapons load 135-seconds later. The was no battery involvement.

      – As note above, the Canary Island station personnel ran a single DSA display as a conveient method by which to check detections – thus avoiding demounting and replaying a tape. I’ve offered to send you that gram but you do not seem interested.

      – The Canary Island sensors were not routinely – if ever – used as part of the Missile Impact Location System. The sensors that were most useful for that purpose were the pentagon of hydropones at Antigua for the Polaris A-1 and the Ascension Island sensors for ICBMs.

      – The “different” equipment display equipment used at the Canary Island site was the helicorder display which – as previously discussed – had a time resolution of 0.2-seconds. I got them in 2008 from an original source – and they were – and remain – unclassified. Want a copy? Ask. This is the same eqjuipmet installed at the two Argentia sites for use by AFTAC.

      – As discussed above, I agree that you don’t just walk up to Navy and ask for the original SCORPION-related data. That’s why I never bothered to go to the Navy. Instead, I went to those involved in the original collection of the data when it was – and remains – unclassified. I reiteate that ONI never had a copy of the Canary Island data – in any form – until I gave it to them in November 2009. I have the Argentia sensor positions which is how I derived the ranges from those sensors to the wreck-site. Remember, I was in SOSUS from 1959 to 1963 and was the final authority for evaluation of all SOSUS data of interest from 1963 through 1992 when I was at ONI.

      – You obviously never heard of the helicorder displays which I included in my analysis letters to the CNO, ONI and COMSUBFOR in 2009. Want a copy? Ask, because they were the time versus signal level displays that had the resolution of 0.2-seconds. Sorry, but it’s your lack of knowledge that makes you “so full of it.”

      – With reference to the accuracy of the positons of the Canary Island hydropones to within one-tenth of a second, they were: 28-36-48.8N, 18-01–02.1W at a depth of 3960-feet for hydrophone A and 28-25-53.6N,
      17-55-42.9W at a depth of 2574 for hydrophone D. This information from
      Canary Island station documents – all unclassified.

      – Yes, I am saying that ONI never had any Canary Island data until 2009.
      Amazing but the Navy did the same thing with the K-129 data; they
      compartmentalized the K-129 data so that not even ONI could analyze it. That disasterous decision wasn’t rectified until 2009 when i got hold of the data from an open-source and established – for the first time – that two R-21 missiles fired to fuel exhaustion within the submarine killing the crew and then rupturing the pressure-hull. Read AZORIAN by Norman Polmar, my support of whom was pro bono.

      – With respect to your description of the turbo-electric propulsion mode,
      the speed of the turbines was NEVER other than the standard value which you should well remember. Propulsion power in that mode was NEVER augmented by the battery as confirmed by the synchronous excursion patterns – as I hope you remember. This assessmemt was first
      derived from analysis of BRIDGE target 053 of 3-12 April 1964 as discussed by Olav Riste’s book on Norwegian Intelligence. Go up on and buy a copy.

      – The Soviets never got any of the Walker crypto key lists in real time so
      they could not have known where the SCORPION was during her transit back to Norolk. Walker retrieved those key lists after they were superceded and then gave them to the Soviets many weeks after their operational use. So much for your conjecture that the Soviets used Walker data to ambush SCORPION, another examples of Offley’s baseless conjectures.

      – I never asked for the Bermuda data because there never was any Bermuda data as established by the intensive review of all SOSUS data by the SOSUS headquarters staff. The Argentia data came only from the AFTAC helicorder displays and those were so weak and of such short duration that they did not show on the standard DSA grams.

      – If you rely on a Freedom of Information Act request for data from the Navy, you have lost the war before the first shot is fired.

      – With respect to the rest of what you have to say, I can only add that anyone who believes the Soviets fired a 51-knot torpedo in the Gulf of
      Maxico (where was the data sent? – not to ONI) will believe anything, even Bermude detections of narrowband signals without the radiated noise levels to be detectable at ranges such as those between the wreck-site and the Bermuda arrays when the enormously more detectable pressure-hull collapse signals was not detected by Bermida. because the mid-Atlantic Ridge was in the way.

      And finally, to repeat, all my work on SCORPION and the K-129 has been pro bono. I have no aim but to discredit conspiracy theories, those who promote them and their gullible sychophants. It’s not just me you’re up against, its also the other 14 individuals – many of them the best analysts who ever served in SOSUS – with a total of 355 years of SOSUS-related experience who say the Bermuda event detection you claim to have analyzed never existed. Go back and read the reviews again.

      Summary: none of your blathering has altered the obvious conclusion that you were snookered by a composited tape that did not record a real event and that you lacked then – and now – the basic knowledge of Soviet submarine propulsion systems, radiated noise levels, narrowband signatures, sound propagation, signal attenuation and lord knows what else. You were truly an appropriate source for Offley’s wild and irresponsible conjecture that the Soviets sank SCORPION. Even John Craven recognized that as discussed in

      Bruce Rule

    • Bruce Rule says:

      Vince Collier:

      Upon a more careful reading of your diatribe, I notice among your irrational statements the following:

      “You just pissed me off. You might wanna watch that. I once drove my motorhome all the way from Mobile Alabama to Albuquerque New Mexico to confront an MCI telemarketer who threatend my wife.”


      “If you were close by, I would teach you a lesson in manners. And I would enjoy it.”

      In a legal sense, these statements come very close to threats of violence.
      Be advised that if you are rash enough to take such actions, you will have to deal with police who shall have been informed of your statements by the certified letter I shall mail tomorrow..

      Otherwise have a good day..

      Bruce Rule

  48. George Hubbard says:

    Bruce … Thanks !! I appreciate the comments and calculations.

    • Bruce Rule says:


      The durations of collapse events I gave you were based on acoustic data.
      There is a single data point – that I know of – derived from the lowering, circa 40-years ago, of an old, instrumented diesel hull to collapse depth – and retrieved – that indicates the acoustic-derived values may be conservative.

      In that test, the pressure-hull collapsed at circa 1000-feet, more than twice
      test depth. Most of the instrumentation was destroyed; however, enough
      survived to establish that a water-ram traversed the circa 22-foot diameter of the pressure-hull in 0.007-seconds. This was a clear-shot across the pressure-hull that did not encounter a counter-ram or any opposing pressure build-up, and that may be why the velocity (2140 mph) was so much higher than the inferred SCORPION water-ram velocities even though the depth was 500-feet less than the SCORPION collapse

      The pressure-hull ripped longitudinally rather than having just a hole
      punched in it.

      With these data in mind, it may be that when the SCORPION ER telescoped, it was thrust forward (accelerated) to more than 200 mph in far less time than 0.111-seconds.

      As discussed in my technical assessments to the DNI and CNO, and posted on other website, the telescoping of the SCORPION after hull sections is persuasive evidence that SCORPION collapsed from pressure applied symmetrically around the hull as would have been the case with sea-pressure. Had a torpedo sunk SCORPION, no telescoping would have occurred because the pressure from the exploding warhead would have been applied very asymmetrically: only at the point of impact and SCORPION would be on the bottom relatively intact with one hole in the pressure-hull.

      Oh well, you can lead a horse to water but……..

      Bruce Rule

      • John Wouldridge says:

        Bruce, When looking at the photo of Scorpions after hull, It is plain to see that those two after sections telescoped. All this happened during implosion as you say. I think that is due to Scorpions tear drop hull design which is very much like Albacores, it constantly changes from stem to stern. Thresher which broke up very similar, and in as many pieces as Scorpion , but there was no telescoping as evidenced by the photos. Both boats sails and propeller with shaft separated in very much the same way. Thresher had a greater length to width ratio. Threshers center hull section does have a constant width for a while from stem to stern. I still do not believe that a torpedo impacted on Scorpions bow. That hole I believe, was caused by an explosion by one of her own torpedoes on board. The hole is right where the torpedo room is on the Skipjacks. It could have happened during implosion or whatever, but not by a Russian torpedo. Scorpion imploded like Thresher did. They broke up very similar. I believe, as you do, that had Scorpion been torpedoed, the hull would have been relatively intact instead of broken in as many major pieces.

      • Bruce Rule says:

        This responds to Posting 49.1.1 by John Wouldridge


        The basic problem with a torpedo explosion – Soviet or own ship’s- is that the first high amplitude acoustic event had an energy yield of 13,200 lbs of
        TNT based on the empiric relationship of hull volume to bubble-pulse frequency to energy yield. That value was worked out by an ex-nuc
        (SSN 707) and pretty well puts to bed any conjecture that a torpedo was
        involved since 13,200-lbs of TNT, as previously noted, exceeds the
        explosive force of the entire SCORPION conventional weapons load.

        Also, Naval Ordnance Laboratory Report AD/a-000-807 of 20 Sep 1974
        correlates the acoustic characteristics of the collapse events of cylinders
        with the diameter of those cylinders. Application of these findings to the post-pressure-hull collapse SCORPION events indicates follow-on events 3, 6-8 and 10 and 11 were prodiuced by the collapse of cylinders with diameters of about 20-inches, e.g., the six SCORPION torpedo-tubes at depths between 3370- and 4570-feet. In this respect, the 585/588 Class submarine torpedo tubes were built to be able to impulse launch weapons at test-depth at flank-speed, so their survival to such great depths would not be an anomaly. So, the acoustic data indicates all torpedo tubes were intact until they collapsed from hydrostatic pressure between 92-seconds and 152-seconds after hull collapse. This assessment from my letter of 28 October 2009 to COMSUBFOR.


  49. Bruce Rule says:

    One last story which, I admit, may be beating a dead horse.

    In his posting 48.0, Vince Collier touted that he “graduated in the top 5% of the 22 classes taught so far that year (1982) in the SOSUS training course at the ASW Training School in Norfolk.

    About the same time, the Norwegian Intelligence Service sent some of their operators to the school for “training.” After the third week of a six-week course, the instructors, frustrated by the Norwegians who were staring out the window and acting completely bored, gave them the final test. The result: all the Norwegians scored 100-percent.

    The Norwegians knew more about the basic subject of the course than the instructors which was not surprising because real expertise in the involved discipline comes not from the basics taught at the school but from real-world exposure to live operational situations – and the Norwegians – even more than those US sailors who manned the forward area sites at Kelfavik and Adak – had that
    to an extent the instructors could not even imagine.

    In reality, the Norwegians had been sent to the school as a sort of paid vacation: a reward for their professional performance at home.

    As was well known at ONI, about all one could expect from a recent ASW Training School graduate was to know enough not to touch the electrically charged stylus and to appreciate, upon his/her arrival at a SOSUS station, how much they had yet to learn.

    The problem with this expectation was that perhaps only Keflavik
    offered the operational exposure to provide such enlghtenment and
    even there it took real dedication to see beyond the perspective of many (not all) of the old-timers and ask why things happened. in other words: “Don’t tell; don’t ask.”

    Bruce Rule

    • VINCE COLLIER says:

      XD **windows in the top secret ASW classrooms…hahahahahahah..
      Give it up, StupidRule. Oh, God, you are so pitiful….just making up any spin you can think of trying to save youself. I couln’t resist. Windows at OTA school. All that crap you posted yesterday. The laughter was worth my time.

      • John Wouldridge says:

        Vince, I was in the Nuclear Electronic Technician program at Great Lakes, Illinois in 1971. After BEE School, which one of the two Electronic Technician A-Schools did you strike for? The one they gave me was not the rating that I wanted, so I went on and put in for Radioman A-school(2300) and (2304) at Bainbridge , Maryland. I take it that you also went to nuclear prototype school. Where did you do that at?

      • Bruce Rule says:

        Glad to see you’re still on the site. Look up the word metaphor.

  50. John Wouldridge says:

    Yeah Bruce, I’m still here. It’s a metaphor. I’ve read everything. Right out of the blue. I’m always here looking on.

  51. RK ALLEMAN says:

    Vince, Bruce, you’re both brilliant. Why not move the vendetta to a different email, and let’s not defame the memory of the brave crew this site is geared for? The trouble with brilliance sometimes is not the brilliance between two competitors, but not finding a bridge to make a bright light even brighter. You two have a lot of brightness and it’d be a good thing to mend the fences. Sometimes we can be right in our opinions, yet wrong, and sometimes wrong, yet right. It’s a bit of an Eastern Philosophical conundrum, I know, but the point is sometimes all we can do is bow, make our statements, then retreat. Sure hate to see the brilliance of this site go dim because of two disparate views working the problem at two different angles. We still don’t know what drove the Scorpion to the deep bottom. Let’s try to figure that out and the rest really is academic. C’mon fellahs, I’m learning a lot about my beliefs in the past concerning this intriguing subject, and you two are just about the best source for gleaning such information. OK. Now I’ll go back to the haunt of my 99 fellahs onboard that hapless boat. I still keep alive the S.O.S. and maybe that’s all I’ll eve have or know about this boat with all its known problems. I am very indebted to “Silent Still” for setting me straight on that much. RK

    • VINCE COLLIER says:

      Mr. Alleman, I guess I do owe you an appology. I am human after all, and very occaisonally I see something that ticks me off to the point I feel the need to adjust someone’s attitude.
      Please understand, I don’t usually bother to respond to any posts I see concerning the Scorpion debate, as there is so much information published about the debate that is only related due to someone having looked there for answers, found something seemingly related, and tried to make it fit to suit their particular view. I’m fine with that. The reason I responded was the insults that came with it, directed at people Bruce Rule didn’t even know, nor did he know the reasons they had their info in the first place. Ed Offley believes what he wrote, and printed it to show us what he’s found. It was not an attempt to insult or defame or disrespect the Scorpion or her crew. Nowhere does he insult or make fun of anybody else’s work. I believe what I saw, because I was proficient with the equipment due to my very intensive training coupled with my electronics and mechanical background(you have NO idea), the fact that as I went on to gather more real life technical field experience, I never saw anything to indicate that what I saw on the tape(signatures with matching “bathtub effect”) could have been faked. believe me when I looked. Exhaustively hard. I was facinated by the way the system worked and I studied and understood it so thouroughly, I was nominated to the Navfac think-tank(reserved for E-6 and above) even before I made E-4. Years later, my wife and I were stationed at US Coast Guard SAR base Rio Vista in California. I ran across Ed’s 30 year later anniversary article about the Scorpion where he seems to be of the opinion that it was an accident of some sort. I emailed him, fed up with the burn inside of what I knew, figured the worst they could do was arrest me for telling what I knew but they might not because it would prove I was telling the truth. So, screw ’em, I decided to email Ed with what I knew, and we all know the rest. I honestly figured I’d end up in jail over it, figured Coast Guard MP’s would be knocking on my door at the barracks at any moment. So, now I see these posted opinions all over as my friends who are still in the intellegence services in one way or another(one of my best friends is an internet security consultant for the Pentagon, a retired military cold war intelligence analyist and operative) have sent me tidbits now and then. Anyway, I don’t mind different opinions, I don’t even mind some of the hardcore guys who look for every little chink to try to exploit, just to try to portrey themselves as some kind of ‘expert”. The real experts don’t start in with insults. The real experts don’t do that, they don’t need to. I had read enough, figured he deserved redress in a style he’d understand. So many things Rule said were crap, ( I didn’t read the structural data he posted, but I think you can all see why I didn’t bother) and then he blatently insulted decent folk he never met just to try to create an image for himself. I just now think he’s the typical “make everybody think I’m smart” internet expert. I wanted to show him for what he is, I was angry, so I responded in kind. Notice i didn’t insult anybody else’s data, just threw his bull back in his face for all to see. After awhile, he started making stuff up (the Norwegian story and twisting the Canary Island mission data) By then, I’d had enough. My buds however, were following it, I got congrats for ripping him a new ass. Then he tries to cover his ass with the “metaphor” comment. Perhaps all his data is a “mataphor”. This is not the place for it. People can get the wrong idea. It’s called “spin”.
      Ok, so anyway, I am VERY TIRED of this thread, rude people like Rule, and I’m going to have to move on to things that are useful. I will not be back here, even if he posts further insults, I have a life. I suggest he get one too. Now, let’s return this place to what it’s supposed to be. A tribute to my fallen Brothers in Arms in the silent service.

      Brandywine, you fought and died for us all. God bless the 99, heros all.


  52. Dennis Mosebey says:

    Folks, I want to attest to the fact that I have personally read Bruce Rule’s scholarly analysis of the Scorpion data and it is produced with all the rigor of any scientific paper I have ever seen. It is some 30 pages or so of detailed analysis that as he says he did pro bono working on his own time. I first was introduced to Bruce Rule on the Yahoo Scorpion Web page to which I still belong. Prior to joining the site I had read both Scorpion Down and All Hands Down as well as Red Star Roque. I was snookered hook, line and sinker until I went to that page and participated and until I read Silent Steel and after sending the author a note about how well the book was done received a personal call where we talked about an hour and I learned indeed how some historical facts interlaced with fiction or rather leaps to conclusions can sound real. I myself was a torpedo cook off believer but admit that Scorpion Down and All Hands Down actually started me believing in the Soviet myth. I am sure Mr. Collier saw what he saw, perhaps even the instructors had been led to believe that what they told the class was truth by others. But Mr. Rule has conclusively proven to me beyond any doubt that the Scorpion was lost due to a battery casualty that made it impossible for the crew to control her depth. Now what led to the battery casualty may in fact never be conclusively proven, but it was not a hot run nor a torpedo cook off and the hull pictures clearly show NO torpedo damage. We have a book store here in Emporia and several weeks ago I noted Offley’s book under the non fiction section. I told the owner it was fiction and needed moved. Just this past weekend I was there again and it had not been moved, so I move it to fiction section. I do not doubt Mr. Collier’s intelligence or training, I simply believe Bruce Rule is a better analyst of the two and that Mr. Collier simply needs to just realize that it is no less honorable to die in service of one’s country in a non combat situation.Indeed I contend she was in combat, Cold War combat. The Scorpion was a fine boat crewed by a fine crew and led by a fine Captain and had completed her tasking to investigate the Russians after a long and arduous Med Cruise. She was a boat that was long overdue for the yard due to Cold War deployment pressures and on that day of May 22, 1968 the bill came due. But all the crew were cold war heroes who completed their mission in service of their country and there just is no purpose served by continuing to spread myth. I was fortunate to come across the Yahoo Web page and to meet Bruce Rule on that page and all the other fine people on that site. Even when I went on they had been at it over two years batting back and forth what about this and what about that. (I believe over 10000 data entries).We considered everything from Reactor Coolant Loop rupture to Steam Generator safety valve lifts to High Pressure Air Compressor casualties to RCS check valve slam and many more too numerous to mention but there just is no other conclusion I can come to when you tell me there were two internal explosions 30 minutes before the first large implosion. There just in my mind is little else that could have caused her loss. Mr. Rule is a hero as he tries to get the Navy in various ways to recognize this and amend the Board of Inquiry findings and by contacting as many in the naval command structure as he can and he does this not for his own aggrandisement, but to bring truth and as he says to dispel conspiracy theories that dishonor our own crew and those crewmen of the Soviet navy.

    I still believe the reason the Navy bought the hot run was the Craven myth. Dr. Craven contributed much to our Cold War efforts but on Scorpion he is dead wrong and would do much to better serve the fine members of this crew by fessing up. As one person on our Yahoo Web page so aptly stated, “Even if the bow was pointing back towards the Med, what does that tell you given the tremendous depth and forces she underwent?Answer, absolutely nothing. And Huchthausen’s story about the Russian Admiral, well there are numerous ways you could take what the Russian Admiral said. Huchthausen published the one he thought was correct and that matched what he probably personally believed. Such is human nature.

    Dennis Mosebey

  53. Bruce Rule says:


    I agree; no one profits from these acrimonious exchanges. Both parties have stated the reasons for their positions. Those who monitor this site can decide for themselves which position has merit.

    One thing I can tell Vine Collier that he may find useful is that he need have little concern over any security issues related to SCORPION. The Naval Security Investigating Service (NCIS) called me about six months ago. They wanted me to sign a non-disclosure statement – my clearance expired in 2007 – so they could discuss a security complaint with me but they could not tell me what that complaint was or who had made it until I signed the Non-D statement.

    I responded that I would not sign a Non-D statement and, further, I would have legal counsel and the press present at any discussions and I would record such discussions. I apologize if I’ve previously posted any of this or the following info.

    What makes this situation even more ludicrous is that, in anticipation of the complaint – which I suspect – but don’t know for sure – was made about my SCORPION conclusions by Commander Undersea Warfare, possibly supported by the Applied Physic Lab at Johns Hopkins – I wrote a five-page letter with 12 references and 50-pages of enclosures to the NCIS on 15 April 2010.

    The NCIS agent admitted that my letter had probably been destroyed because it arrived before the complaint and they had not
    yet opened a case on the matter. So, I sent NCIS a copy of my letter via certified mail and the Post Office lost that. I have had no communications with NCIS since I told them that any case against me would go absolutely nowhere is any court of law if NCIS had to admit to the judge that I, the accused, had not been told what the
    complain was and who had made it. In other words, I had been denied the information needed to defend myself. It appears to me that NCIS is between a rock and a hard place: I will NOT sign a
    Non-D statement and, without that, NCIS can’t give me any information without, themselves, committing a security violation.

    Two of the 12 references in my letter of 15 April 2010 were: (1) Administration of Barack H. Obama Memorandum of 29 Dec 2009 on Implementation of the Executive Order: Classified National Security Information, and, most importantly, (2) Presidential Executive Order 12958 of 17 April 1995 which requires that any activity making a security complaint must identify and describe damage inflicted on national security by the disclosure. In other words, the complaining authority cannot declare a security violation by fiat; they must PROVE it.

    As previously discussed on this site, my assessment of what happened to SCORPION in terms of the pressure-hull collapse is based exclusively on Canary Island acoustic data that was never classified by the ORIGINATING authority: that Station – and this is critical – because the Presidential Executive Order REQUIRES that the originating authority validate the classification.

    There were other less likely concerns by Commander Undersea Warfare, and I covered these as well in my letter of 15 April 2010.

    Another note: embarrassment cannot be the basis for a security
    complaint. One of the primary reasons why John Craven was able
    to waste Navy funds and lead the Court of Inquiry into false conclusions about the detectability of submarine pressure-hull collapses and the collapse of internal structures was that he never
    looked at the THRESHER SOSUS data.

    Those data were destroyed by Commander Undersea Warfare, then
    Commander Oceanogaphic Systems, Atlantic, because they were more than five-years old and because it was thought no such disaster would ever happen again. The date of that destruction is
    one of the all-time incredible coincidences: 22 May 1968, the
    day SCORPION was lost. As of March 2007, ONI still had a copy of
    of the critical SOSUS data but, for unaccountable reasons – as also was the case with the K-129 – ONI was never involved in SCORPION until I gave them the data – less the helicorer grams in November 2010 – and they have said nothing publicly since then about SCORPION. I learned my lession and shall NEVER give ONI any K-129 data. ONI will have to use a magnifying glass and look at
    the iullustration of page 164 of AZORIAN – and NO, I am not promoting the book. I did not even write a review of the book.

    So, Vince Collier, you need have few concerns over NCIS investigating you about events that occurred almost 43-years ago,
    the disclosure of which could not possibly damage national
    security. If you want further assurance: do a Goggle search for the
    two references noted above and print them out to be ammunition at hand if NCIS comes calling – the most unlikely of almost any circumstance I can think of connected with SCORPION.

    Bruce Rule

    • John Wouldridge says:

      Bruce, in response to your 49.1.2 posting, I’ll buy the reasons you gave. Some people are going to be more knowledgeable than others and some will offer more understandable rationales. And you have those that aren’t going to accept anything by anybody other than what they or who they know believes. And furthermore, I will always be here reading and commenting as best I can. And also, I did not detect that anybody got “ripped a new ass.”

  54. Bruce Rule says:


    I can have all my SCORPION letters to various naval activities including the CNO, the DNI, COMSUBFOR and the Naval History and Heritage Command scanned into a single circa 50-page file which I shall send to anyone who has posted on this site and who will send their email address to, preferably before 15 March 2011. These addresses not to be shared with anyone nor used for any other purpose,

    I especially encourage Vince Collier to do so since my letter of
    15 March 2009 includes photos of the Canary Island helicorder
    grams – the existence of which he doubted – that show detections of the battery explosion events, pressure-hull collapse and the 15+ follow-on collapse events.

    All may judge for themselves if these documents are, as Dennis Mosebey stated, “produced with all the rigor of any scientific paper I have ever seen.”

    I place no restrictions on the further distribution of these documents
    as the complete file. In fact, the wider the dissemination, the better.

    Bruce Rule

  55. Bruce Rule says:


    Those of you who have read my one-star review of RED NOVEMBER by Craig Reed know that I took severe exception to Reed’s subscription to the conjecture that the K-129 would have impacted the bottom at 200-knots – as stated in BLIND MAN’s BLUFF – and his acceptance of Ed Offley’s conjecture in SCORPION DOWN that the Soviets sank the SCORPION.

    Craig Reed and I have reached an accommodation on those issues. The second printing of RED NOVEMBER will say that the
    K-129 impacted the bottom at not more than 15-knots. The discussion of SCORPION in the second printing will be very close to the following:

    Why was the USS Scorpion lost in the east central Atlantic on May 22, 1968?

    A former navy analyst, who in 2003 wrote the official navy assessment of the characteristics of submarine collapse events, provided a detailed reanalysis of the original acoustic detections to the Director of Naval Intelligence in a letter dated 6 August 2010. The information in the letter became publicly available four months after the first printing of Red November, and reexamines acoustic evidence along with metallurgical testing data (completed in 1970) of a battery component recovered from the Scorpion debris field. This reanalysis confirms that the initiating events responsible for the loss of Scorpion consisted of two explosions that occurred one-half second apart at 18:20:44Z, and were contained within the submarine’s pressure-hull. The explosions were produced by the ignition of hydrogen out-gassed by the TLX-53-A main storage
    battery, and delivered an energy yield of not more than twenty pounds of TNT each. These devastating blasts would have made it impossible for the Scorpion’s crew to maintain depth-control, and within one-tenth of a second, at a depth of 1530 feet, the submarine’s hull collapsed at 18:42:34Z. Imagery of the Scorpion hull sections, combined with acoustic and other data examined by experts, now confirm that there were no explosions external to the pressure-hull from a torpedo or any other source. In light of this new evidence, conjectures that Soviet forces caused the demise of the USS Scorpion no longer hold water, and perhaps the families of those brave men can finally have some closure.

    Bruce Rule

  56. D.N.Wlsh TM2 SSN 571 says:

    ComSubRon10 was involved with some search/rescue operations, we left Nova Scotia, on way to Barcelonia, when we received urgent messasge.
    Very sad day….God Bless the “99”

  57. GjkR says:

    Hi. Guess what? All three posts on the one star review at Amazon were made by the same person. Two of the people on here are that exact same person as well. And, he’s my uncle, and he’s an asshole.

  58. RK ALLEMAN says:

    To the poster about his uncle being an A-hole, I’m sorry, but you must be thinking you’re replying on Craigslist or Facebook, or some other inane site where people can express themselves, well, in your case, graphically. The comments people post on this site, like them or not, disagree or agree or not, are intelligent and do not suggest an authorship by an anatomical part of the body. Kindly be respectful with your criticisms. This reply network is rendered out of respect for the loss of the USS Scorpion, and not personal vendettas about one’s relatives. RK

  59. Bruce Rule says:

    I have written the following introduction to the SCORPION file I shall provide by separate emails to all who request it. Anticipate sending those emails early next week. Any typos,hopefully will be corrected.

    Bruce Rule


    All Concerned:

    This file provides technical assessments related to analyses of acoustic detections of the loss of the USS SCORPION (SSN 589) in the east central Atlantic on 22 May 1968. This information was derived from unclassified magnetic tape recordings and acoustic data displays recovered from publc-domain sources in 2008.

    These documents, listed below, discuss the analysis process that evolved from 2008 when the initating events responsible for the loss of SCORPION were identified as internal explosions to 2010 when the source of these explosions was identified (recovered) from a 1970 Navy report as hydrogen outgassed by the TLX-53-A main storage battery.

    1. A summary (2-pages) of all conclusions provided by these assessments

    2. A letter of 14 March 2009 (25-pages) to the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV N87). Enclosure (1) describes four independent lines of evidence that confirm two internal explosions were the initiating events responsible for the loss of SCORPION, and establishes that the SCORPION pressure-hull collapsed at a depth of 1530-feet. This enclosure also describes the helicorder acoustic data display system that detected these internal explosions and provides the actual displays of those signals and the SCORPION pressure-hull collapse signal. Enclosure (2) refutes the conjecture by Dr. John Craven that SCORPION reversed course to disarm a Mk-37 torpedo that had become active in its launch-tube..

    3. A letter of 3 April 2009 (10-pages) to OPNAV N87 discusses bubble-pulse frequencies and establishes that the more than 15 acoustic events that occurred during the 200-second period following collapse of the SCORPION pressure-hull were produced by the collapse of small internal structures at depths as great as about 6,000-feet.

    4. A letter of 30 June 2009 (1-page) to Commander Submarine Force (COMSUBFOR) that confirms the SCORPION wreckage lies directly on the intended course of 290 to Norfolk, VA at a position along that track consistent with the intended average transit speed of 18-knots.

    5. A letter of 28 October 2009 (5-pages) to COMSUBFOR that discusses the dervation of the 1530-foot SCOPRION collapse-depth and identifies six post pressure-hull collapse acoustic events as the collapse of torpedo-tubes at depths between 3370- and 4570-feet.

    6. A letter of 6 August 2010 (3-pages) to the Director of Naval Intelligence which summarizes the identification of two battery explosions as the initiating events responsible for the loss of SCORPION. Extensive quotes are provided from the SCORPION Structural Analysis Group report of 29 June 1970 that reported the results of metallurgical analysis of a recovered SCORPION battery component that confirmed a battery explosion occurred before there was flooding of the battery well.

    The unclassified information provided by this file is not copyrighted. It may be reproduced and further disseminated as a complete file – including this intrductory note – so all recipients can consider the new conclusions derived since 2008 from reanalysis of acoustic detections of the loss of SCORPION, and from now unclassified collateral information from 1970 on the battery explosion. The objective of the pro bono analysis effort that has produced this file is to place in the public-domain unclassified information on the loss of SCORPION that the Navy with not publicly acknowledge despite a nearly 43-year obligation to the still-living relatives and friends of the crew to be forthcoming about the cause of that tragedy.

    Bruce Rule

    Louisville, KY

  60. Bruce Rule says:

    Vince Collier:

    Go to

    for just about anything you may want to know about helicorder displays, the system that ran continuously at the Columbia
    University Hydroacoustic Station Canaries. The helicorder provided the critical detections of the SCORPION battery explosions one-half second apart at 18:20:44Z on 22 May 1968. That helicorder display is shown in enclosure (1) to my letter of 14 March 1968 to OPNAV N87,

    All you have to do is provide your email address and I’ll send you
    the 50-page file on the SCORPION acoustics that is discussed above in Posting 60.

    Bruce Rule

    • John Wouldridge says:

      Bruce, In comment 52.1 from Vince, he said that he was out of here. But, I believe he is still reading the mail. He may not comment though.

  61. RK ALLEMAN says:

    Bruce, and the reason why that monstrous-sized battery exploded was??? Flooding caused by the TCU? Some other breach, perhaps?


    • Bruce Rule says:


      No, it is highly probable he battery well was dry when the explosion occurred.

      Following quote from reference (b), the SAG Report:

      Section 5.3.6, page 5.17 of reference (b) also states: (quote) the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Analysis Group reports that the available evidence indicates the battery probably exploded at some time before flooding of the battery well occurred. Review of Figure 5-13 indicates that the threads on the terminal posts were sheared off and there are no cover seal nuts remaining. This indicates that an explosion took place on the inside of the cells. The covers were completely blown off. Had the pressure been applied on the outside of the covers, the cover support flange on the terminal posts would have held pieces of the covers and it is expected that the cover seal nuts would have remained in place in at least some instances. ( end quote)

      More in my 50-page SCORPION file to be emailed soon.


  62. Les Wallenstien says:

    Hello all. My name is Les Wallenstien. In 1957 at the age of 19, I got my first real job with AT&T. I was an apprentice to Dan Burrow’s team who was responsible for developing the “Pop Sonar” for the USGS and the Army CoE to measure ice shelf thickness and map bottom topography below the ice. This eventually led to working to improve the hydro acoustic equipment for the Navy. In 1968-69 I was working out of the Los Angeles office, flying out to San Nicolas Island every other week to assist the Navy with the station there. I remember the day there was a buzz about the office in Virginia Beach being visited by Navy security people wanting to look at the maintenence records for all the stations in inventory there. These stations included Dam Neck, Bermuda, Lews, and many others. These Navy men gave those guys the rest of the day off, and I was sure hoping they were coming to see us too, but they never did.
    The next day we got the word that they walked in and gave them back the files on station Bermuda and left. These were the only files they took. It was odd, because unless there was some big project where they were there every day, they usually only came in once every 90 days, and we would have all unreviewed maint files out for them to go through. The buzz died down in a day or two, and was suddenly completely forgotten when we heard the huge news of the Scorpion being late and then later presumed lost. I never did make a connection between the two occurrences until I read the posts on this website. Now I can’t help but wonder it those things were related somehow. Shame about what happened to those young men. The news networks were all over it for about a week, then it was back to the war in Vietnam, and the protests and all. Alot of water has passed under the bridge since then and I’ll turn 73 Oct. 1st. My memory isn’t what it used to be, but I did remember this because it was such a shock. Anyway, I just thought I’d toss in my two cents. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks, my wifes oldest sister passed last Wedsday and we are going to Hawaii for the services, and spend enough time see all my nephews and nieces, maybe take some family photos. I’ll try to remember to check back here when I return. Take care.

    Lesley Wallenstien
    Whidbey Island Wa.

    • Bruce Rule says:

      Les Wallemstien:

      Very interesting. You say they came in every 90-days to look at
      maintenance records? Did they ever review the operational data, then
      or earlier or later? Do you know if there was another data review either
      90-days before or afer the May 1968 visit. I realize the improbability that
      such information would become known in PAC.

      The first official in-Navy reaction to SCORPION being missing occurred on 27 May. COMSUBLANT msg 271946Z May provided the planned
      track to SOSUS to assist in the data review which was conducted
      at the Headquarters in Norfolk after all the data was called-in from all
      WESTLANT stations. It turned out that of the 18 SCORPION collapse
      event signals detected by the Canary Island sensors over a 200-second period at a range of 821 nm – with pressure-hull collapse being the first –
      only events 3, 4, and 6-11 were detected by Argentia array 3141 at a
      range of 976 nm while only events 6-8 were detected by Argentia array
      3131 at a range of about 1010 nm. These Argentia detections were extremely weak compared to the Canary Island detections and were identified only on the high-time-resolution helicorder grams run at Argentia
      to support the Air Force Technical Applications Center. Basically, the
      rest of the WESTLANT sensors were shielded by the mid-Atlantic Ridge.

      I can verify that ONI was not involved then or even later. ONI sat on the
      sidelines while John Craven and the Naval Ordnance Lab ran the analysis effort – into the ground as it later developed.

      Anything more you can recall would be most interesting. My earlier offer
      to others to send you all my SCORPION analyses is available to you
      if you will send your email address to me at

      Bruce Rule

  63. RK ALLEMAN says:

    Bruce, thank you for the report. Very sensible. And somehow you just know where to dig this vital information up. We’re still left with what set off the domino effect that ended up destroying the boat and crew. Batteries like that just don’t go off, meaning explode, for nothing. There is always this one escapable fact of life that doomed that boat. Apart from its constant need of repairs, and what ‘Silent Steel’ reveals about having no SUBSAFE credentials, so to speak, and the ‘big blow’ emergency system that wasn’t functioning, it’s a huge void of cause, but the effect is certainly pieced together well enough. Thanks for your dedication and thoroughness as an analyst, and for your kind reply. RK

    • Bruce Rule says:


      Potential battery problems are not my area; however, others – some on
      this site – are working that issue, and I leave it to them to assess
      possible trigger mechanisms. What is well established is that the battery
      exploded before there was any flooding and that event occurred 21-mins
      and 50-secs before the pressure-hull collapsed.

      We are very fortunate to have as much documentation as we do, and
      most of it comes courtesy of Stephen Johnson, author of SILENT STEEL
      (SS), the only objective assessment/discussion of the SCORPION tragedy produced to date. The contrast between SS and the conspiracy novels is remarkable.

      Johnson reported facts he could verify with multiple sources and made
      no conjectures about why SCORPION was lost and, for that, his book
      was criticized in an review It appeared the reviewer wanted
      a explanation even though the information available at the time – before
      the acoustics was unearthed – would not admit to an explanation.


  64. RK ALLEMAN says:

    Thanks for the followup, Bruce. Discerning commentary, as always. I think what I respected most about Mr. Johnson’s tome is the fact he just wrote facts and didn’t play the speculations. Since reading this book about the best I’ll ever do with my toybook version is maybe mess about with the Russians heads a bit and show cause why they were always a lurking nemesis. I was privy to the COMASWFORLANT staff stuff, so I got to see firsthand how the ASW game was played. We even worked a couple of ops with Brandywine. Anyway, I can only imagine the hell onboard when that monstrous battery sector blew. What rotten luck. And we’ll most likely never know the secrets the Atlantic Ocean keeps in that sector. Oh, and thanks for reminding about that singular commentary slanting “Silent Steel.” I suspect that reviewer is more used to Disneyland and Sylvester Stallone make believe stuff; like there’s always an answer, a final resolution that favors ‘our side.’ RK

  65. George Hubbard says:

    If you want to go deeper into batteries … You can google various topics … ” submarine battery charging or discharging etc “.
    The ” sound evidence ” provided by Bruce indicates two cells exploded. The physical ripping off of the cell cover nuts indicates internal initiated explosion. The embedded material in the plastisol indicates the flying parts were not slowed down by water being present.
    What can be determined from these facts ? This is just my opinion.
    Before the explosion two cells were definitely near explosion but more were likely near explosion. To take two or more cells to the ” near explosion point ” … IMO hydrogen buildup and rapid gassing were occuring. To me this indicates near the end of charge or discharge … ( I would lean toward discharge. Existing Naval records would indicate if a test discharge was near being due to be performed. The record of test discharges are required to be submitted to BuShips ( as it was called then) . So when the next one would have been due would be known.
    Here I make several assumptions .. which I believe are valid. The ship was near the end of an equalizing charge or a test discharge. The battery hatch was closed … A sign is placed on the hatch warning not to open .. a charge is in progress. Only a fool would open it. However the explosion seems unrelated to opening the hatch because the explosion began inside the cells. For some reason the charge or discharge progressed beyond a safe limit.
    What caused this ? Cannot be certain but here are some possibilities …
    1. The electrician turned the controls in the wrong direction .. increasing the discharge rate … easily done.
    2. The persons checking for cell reversal failed to promptly recognize the end of discharge had been reached and cell reversal occurred and was not terminated promptly. Easily done !!!
    3. A reactor scram occurred and they felt that using the battery was okay even for a short while .. but the battery was exhausted. It could not produce power … It could only destroy it self by cell reversal.
    4. There are other events that could have led to this disaster … but I would place these three causes at the yop of my list.
    Why has it never occurred before or after ?? Thorough training would prevent the first two. I would venture to say both officwe and enlisted training have reenforced the seriousness of cell reversal. The third cause is a remote possibility but a real possibility.
    We may never know .. but the Navy has more info that I don’t have.

  66. Bruce Rule says:

    The contention of this long and hopefully both readable and convincing post is that conspiracy theorists, e.g., Ed Offley in SCORPION DOWN (SD) and Kenneth Sewell in both ALL HANDS DOWN (SCORPION) (AHD) and RED STAR ROGUE (RSR) (Soviet submarine K-129), develop a conspiracy conjecture; identify a few circumstances or sources that appear to support that conjecture; never verify this information and these sources, and then publish books such as the above that advance conjectures that would have been falsified by research they did not do or sources they did not interview.

    It is useful to first discuss RSR because that book, published by Sewell before AHD, is illustrative of his basic approach. RSR conjectures that Soviet KGB secret agents boarded and subsequently controlled the K-129, a diesel-powered Soviet missiie submarine which (Sewell claims) then sank in March 1968 about 350 nautical miles (nm) northwest of Hawaii while trying to launch a nuclear missile strike at Pearl Harbor that the US would think was a Chinese action and which would then trigger a Sino-American war.

    Where the K-129, which as partially recovered by the CIA in August 1974, sank is critical to the credibility of the RSR conjecture because if the wreckage is located more distant from Hawaii than the 755 nm maximum range of the submarine’s R-21/D4 missile, the basic conjecture advanced by RSR is established to have been false.

    In Sep 2001, the International Atomic Energy Agency published an unclassified document that listed the K-129 wreck position as 40-06N, 179-57E which is 1590 nm from Pearl Harbor. This is the same position discussed in now declassified Navy letters of May 1968. It was derived by the US Air Force using special sea-floor acoustic sensors. It is also 2.0 nm from the position published by the Soviets in 1991 which was based on observations made by Soviet ships that observed (unknowingly) the US K-129 recovery effort. Futher, as discussed in AZORIAN by Norman Polmar and Michael White, it is also the position where the UK merchant ship, the Bel Hudson, requested and received medical assistance from the US recovery ship during the salvage effort. Where the K-129 sank is beyond dispute.

    When confronted on the Yahoo SCORPION website with some of the above information, Jerome Preisler, co-author of RSR, provided a purported positional log sheet from the US deep submersible TRIESTE II that showed a recovery effort in the spring of 1972 at the position near Hawaii. In the margin of this log sheet was the hand-written comment: (quote) Russian submarine. (end quote) It is now apparent this was a subterfuge intended to counter the wealth of information that indicated the K-129 sank more than 1000 nm northwest of the position claimed in RSR. Now we know that the TRIESTE II operation involved the recovery of a deorbited film bucket from the US surveillance satellite as described by

    What we have here appears to be Sewell’s (and Offley’s) basic modus-operandi: develop a conjecture that will excite those who love conspiracy theories; clothe it in additional conjectures supported by unverified sources and publish. In this case of the K-129; someone went further and falsified the TRIESTE II log to counter the real facts, i.e., the K-129 wreckage is located at more than twice the maximum range of the R-21 missile from Pearl Harbor – and that information was in public-domain years before Sewell began writing RSR. Even a modest research effort should have identified it.

    Now we come to AHD which conjectures that a Soviet Ka-25 helicopter sank the USS SCORPION with an AT-2 Anti-submarine Warfare (ASW) torpedo on 22 May 1968 in the eastcentral Atlantic. As discussed in detail on this site, there are both acoustic detections of the loss and imagery of the wreck of the SCORPION that confirm the submarine was lost because of two battery explosions that incapacitated the crew who could not then maintain depth-control. SCORPION sank to collapse at a depth of 1530-feet. There were no explosions external to the SCORPION pressure-hull from a torpedo or any other source.

    Further, Dr. Eugene Miasnikov, a senior Russian research scientist specialzing in nuclear weapons, emailed this writer in May 2008 that the Ka-25 Soviet helicopter was not evaluated as an ASW platform until Sep 1968 – four months after SCORPION was lost – when it was flown from the Soviet helicopter carrier MOSKOV, and that operation was in the Mediterranean. Even further, the Ka-25 was not configured to carry a weapon as large or heavy as the AT-2 torpedo. Such a capability was not developed by the Soviets until about 1978 when the Ka-27 helicopter became operational.

    I emphasize again – as another example of (quote) selective research (end quote) – that the Soviets could NOT have used Walker spy-ring information to overcome the extemely limted search and locate capabiliies of either an ECHO-II Class submarine (SD) or the Ka-25 helicopter (AHD) to intercept (lie in wait for) SCORPION during her tranist of eastern Atlantic. As previously discussed, the Soviets did not receive the US crypto-system key-lists until they had been superceded, discarded and recovered
    by Walker who then had to deliver them to his Soviet contacts who then had to transfer them to the Soviet Union where they then had to be used to decript messages that were weeks and more probably months old, i.e, there was no real-time or even near-real-time capability to establish the track of the SCORPION during her return from the Mditerranean.

    So, again we have conjectures advanced in all three books without the depth of research needed to verify them. As indicated by the number of five-star reviews these books have received, there will always be readers willing to accept such conspiracy theories without asking even the most basic questions needed to establish (confirm) their often outrageous claims.

    Bruce Rule

    • John Wouldridge says:

      Bruce, Reading what you say about the battery accident and how you explain it is very believable. I remember the uss bonefish ss-582 battery accident in the late 80’s in which her crew was rescued and the boat towed back to port. She was decommissioned after that.

  67. RK ALLEMAN says:

    George Hubbard, gentlemen, again, your most excellent concerns and details about Brandywine’s loss is, well, humbling as it is provocative. Apart from Mr. Johnson’s most excellent treatment of the matter, the lot of you deserve unspoken credit for the continuing post evaluations and analysis, ‘unspoken’ because I know all of you are very humble men, indeed, and that goes for ‘silent’ Vince. For your George, and your kind response and theories about the battery explosion, I hope you’re wrong, and I am not saying that you are. I served on a variety of boats in my strange capacity, and not once have I ever observed anything less than stellar performance regarding the entire crew. Albeit evidence provided by Bruce, et al., does reveal something catastrophic did, indeed, occur in this part of the boat, even during a critical situation as occurred, may have occurred, with the battery sector, does it not seem wholly preposterous the electrician somehow turned the dials in the “wrong way?” My confidence in sub crews is such that their craft could be imploding, yet mistakes like this could not possibly happen. Call me naive, for I have been called worse by others, but I’m watching that sailor in my mind’s eye and it just doesn’t click, that is, make sense what you think might have happened in this particular phase (and I am certainly not intimating you are daft in saying it). There are also mock and myriad drills about so-called cell reversals that keep the monitor sharp as a tack, and therefore how could such failure to notice this be “easily done?” Even a reactor scram is common, as a drill, and a trained crew like this, especially the electricians assigned to this ultra dangerous sector of the boat (dangerous if push gets to shove) know the drill like the back of their hands. I watched several such drills in my time, and maybe that’s not the same thing as an actual emergency, yet to see the one-two-three confident steps taken by the people in charge of the boat during such operations, simply amazing. I sure hope others out there in this network will confirm or deny my stubbornness to admit a flaw could happen, and incidentally a situation never before reported by any boat crew, much less faced by same. . .how can trained men like this screw the pooch in such a theoretical scenario? So, good sir, I like your fourth point, and maybe because, well, I hate to think anyone on the crew of the brave 99 could possibly be the source of major, you know, FUBAR such as your analysis suggests. Namely, those other ‘mysterious and unknown events’ that might have triggered an irreversible catastrophe that sunk the might Scorpion, like a might fateful hand pushing her to unheard of depths, at least for a submarine of this magnitude. So, again, I do not desire to walk in your mind with my dirty feet, in this case my doubts. I am just hoping like mad there is another reason beyond the possible theories of execution you have noted. Bruce? John? Vince? Help??? RK

    • John Wouldridge says:

      RK, I read your comment #68. I am rough drafting my response. I have to run somewhere for awhile, but I will get back to you when I get back. My thought was very similar to yours.

  68. Capt. D. Williams says:

    Thanks for some great comments.

    I do not doubt a battery explosion but this was not the cause of the disaster. There is still a major peace of the puzzle that will be revealed in a book soon to be released.

    The the Scorpion was a victim of Mother Nature.

    • Denise Jarratt says:

      Capt. D Williams I am interested to know if the book you are referring to has been released?

  69. George Hubbard says:

    RK I will not try to prove what the cause was … I do not kinow !!! I gave what I felt were the most plausible causes.
    I will make a few comments and I will swear they are true.
    I have seen the rheostats turned the wrong way more than ten times. On at least five ocasions I have seen motor generators tripped out because of it ( likely more than ten ). On one ocasion I , one generator was tripped and the second was in the process when I was able to prevent it. So I am 100% certain that mistake is possible.
    Next .. I cannot and will not attempt to judge the level of training the Electrical Division had .. but I can tell you they had the odds against them. ( Sometime I may take the time, but don’t have the energy today. to compare in detail the seniority of the Thresher E-Div versus the Scorpion . ) Rest assured there is a major different in the ” stripe count”. I know my examination is not scientific and very superficial .. but I have pondered it with care. There were 14 electrical ratings on board. Nine IC men .. Five EM’s. There were one E-7, two E-6’s, five E-5’s and six E-4’s. The lowest stripe count I can remember in any nuclear submarine I’ve served on or heard of. Assume the IC1 was assigned forward and three IC3’s as well. Aft There would be an EMC,an EM1,two EM2’s,three IC2’s and one EM3. Almost unbelieveable. Sadly there was a tendency for the EM’s to have more battery experience than the IC men …. Part of that is true because the EM school is more geared toward power equipment and the IC school is geared toward communications. On board ship the IC men are generally streered somewhat away from the power equipment and the battery ,,, Some will jump on me and list exceptions .. but I know that to be the rule. On the Thresher there were five Chief Electrician’s ( One was an EMCM and two were EMCS and two were EMCA’s ) . There were three EM1’s.> I admit no direct conclusion can be drawn … but the Electrical Division stripe count was remarkacly low.
    In my attempt to analyze the possible and likely causes of the battery explosion …. I tried to be as objective as possible. I remember well the struggles I had in comprehending the seriousness of the hazards associated with the battery and the effort it took to ALWAYS respect the powerful energy that was poised for disaster. Trust me coveying that information to the five E-Divs that I supervised was no small task.
    Sadly the Pomedon was a powerful lesson. One that I was glad .. served as an example of what not to do. There were at least six mistakes made. 1. A battery exhaust fan was repaired and installed wired incorrectly causing it to run in reverse. 2. When it was installed .. the installers did not verify that it was running in the correct direction. 3&4 When the precharge line up was performed … first conducted by an enlisted man and then checked by an officer , neither observed that the fan was running in reverse although it was part of the checklist. 5. When the hydrogen was observed to be abnormal via the instrument in Manuvering the charge was not promptly terminated. 6. After a preliminary check .. the charge was restarted and hydrogen again built to even a higher level. There were other mistakes as well . So as much as I would like to say mistakes are not made … they are. It is very easy to go down the wrong path.
    One must remembr that the sequence of equalizer charge , test discharge and subsequent equalizer charge requires the electricians “off watch” to perform meter reading forward during the charges and test discharges. Plus they must water the battery and perform 126 gravity analyses twice. ( Plus repair any air agitation pumps that are defective. ) It is a man-hour intensive operation. If they had been performing drills or other maintenance they could have been sleep deprived.
    Normally until I was EMC .. I was in the ” Main Power Gang ” that means that I was assigned to the large equipment ..generators, battery etc. I was directly involved with the battery on all seven subs. As chief, rest assured, I was present ( unwanted at times because my men felt I didn’t trust them .. I trusted them but there was too much on the line to be absent ) at the ICV panel when the critical reading were being taken and I was available if the men working in the well had any questions.
    RK …. Please understand … I evaluated the situation as best and as objectively as I knew how.

  70. Angela Bell says:

    Hi, my name is Angie Bell. I will be a journalism major at U.T. Austin, in Sept. My personal interest started with things my father used to talk about, gripe about, and elate about. He was a submariner during the 80’s and the life he led on a sub was always of interest to me. He never really talked to me directly about it much, just little bits and pieces, but I was interested more and more as I grew up. After I get my degree I hope to get an assignment on a submarine now that they are going to let women serve on them. I have an interest to ask a few questions here on this forum, if it’s ok. I have read thru this thread, made some notes, and now I have some questions based on things said, that have not been directly answered or positively refuted. My brother has questions he just wanted to ask, and I agreed to post them for him. Please keep the answers short, remember, I’m not up on all the technical data, I’m approaching this as sort of a “debate” where I play the “Devils Advocate” using only the simplest terms read here in this fourum. Also, I have read posts by two of you guys insulting each other. If you start making fun of me just because I’m a girl, or only a high school grad, then I will leave you to your bickering and move on.

    My questions- (please answer in the shortest terms possible, even if it’s just Yes or No)

    1. What do you each of you think caused the Scorpion to sink?
    2. WHY do you think(if you do) that the alleged tape was faked, and what is your experience with analyzing such tapes.
    3. Is there any good reason why the Navy would not want to give exact sinking locations of a nuclear sub?
    3. Why did Dr. Ballard think the Scorpion had a hot run torpedo?
    5. Can a near-miss by a torpedo sink a submarine as well as a direct hit?
    6. Can a slower submarine sink a faster one with a torpedo?
    7. Could the Scorpion sneak up on an Echo 2 without them knowing it?
    8. Would a sound other than an explosion show up on the Canary Island recording?

    My brother Alex’s questions-

    1. What were the Soviets doing in that area in the Atlantic where the Scorpion went to spy on them?
    2, How did the Navy cover up the mission to retrieve the sunken Soviet missle sub in the Pacific?
    3. How can you tell by looking at a sound recording if it was a battery, or something else that exploded?
    4. Who started flinging insults in posts here?
    (I told him it was irrelevent, but he begged me to post it)

    Thanks to all of you, I really appreciate it.


    • Bruce Rule says:

      This reply to Angie Bell:

      The SCORPION Acoustic Data Analysis File, which provides six technical analysis letters sent to major naval activities, is ready to go by email to anyone who provide their address to me at

      These documents, and my reviews of SCORPION DOWN,
      ALL HANDS DOWN and RED NOVEMBER, will answer most of your questions.

      The File is not copyrighted material and can be further used and/or disseminated by all as long as it is so used or disseminated as a complete
      file. This requirement because it describes an analysis process that
      evolved (progressed) over a more than two-year period. While none of the
      basis early conclusions were changed, they were expanded as new
      information was derived, i.e., the internal explosions were subsequently identified as the explosion of hydrogen produced by the TLX-53-A battery.

      Send me your email address and I’ll email you the file.

      Bruce Rule

  71. Terry Terrass says:

    Terry Terrass says:

    3/08/2011 at 0014 PST

    This posting results primarily from a number of postings relative to the loss of USS THRESHER and the reasons for its loss and, in particular, those from Bruce Rule and George Hubbard. Relative to SCORPION I think that their views are valid but relative to THRESHER I feel compelled to take a number of exceptions. Given Bruce’s and George’s knowledge and experience I will elaborate on my qualifications to comment on THRESHER more than I otherwise might do.

    I joined my first submarine, USS TUSK (SS 426) in June 1949 and was onboard for the rescue of the crew of COCHINO (SS 345). After that I went to recommission CAVALLA (SS 244) out of the reserve fleet for the Korean war and prior to its SSK conversion. Next was USS ENTEMEDOR (SS 340) finishing its Guppy IIA conversion. Then, in Sept 1953, I became the numerical replacement for Jimmy Carter in the SEAWOLF (SSN 575) program, first at the West Milton prototype and then on to the ship for pre-commissioning activities and staying afterwards for 16 months. After SEAWOLF I ran the enlisted course at Nuclear Power School in New London and taught the Reactor Principles class, then went as XO on USS CROAKER (SSK 246), and then as CO of USS TRUTTA (SS 421) for a year. From there, in February 1962, I went to ABRAHAM LINCOLN (SSBN 602) for its second Blue patrol. After that familiarization patrol I became Blue XO for three more patrols, had my three months PCO training tour at Naval Reactors, and returned to LINCOLN as Gold CO for four patrols. I remained the CO for a 17month overhaul and the conversion to Polaris A3. After shakedown and firing an A3 for DASO at the Cape, I made one patrol as Blue CO before being relieved, completing nearly six years in LINCOLN in February 1968. While awaiting retirement I was on a Board of Inquiry for an SSBN grounding off Scotland and then, about two weeks after the loss of SCORPION, was sent on temporary duty for 6 weeks to augment Op31 (Office of Submarine Warfare) staff for matters related to SCORPION. This was mostly administrative incidentals, some quite interesting or amusing but not pertinent to this posting, but it did include interfacing with John Craven. I have some thoughts about SCORPION but these are somewhat involved and will have to come later. In 2006-2007 I was a contributor to the successful effort to locate the wreck of USS GRUNION (SS 216). This story and photos can be found at

    Very significant to my THRESHER comments is the fact that LINCOLN and THRESHER were both built by Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, in the same time frame, competing for the same labor force, and subject to the same yard work practices. Some of these work practices were not all they should have been.

    Data Sources
    In analyzing situations such as the loss of a ship it is important to have and be using valid data. Ideally all of the data used will be 100% factual and incontroversial but rarely, if ever, does all of the available data meet this standard so it becomes necessary to utilize what I would call “opinion data” in order to reach a workable conclusion. So far as it is consistent with what is known or can be reasonably inferred (eg, normal practices, inferred from verbal information from knowledgeable secondary sources,..) “opinion data” can be considered to be valid even if not based upon first hand factual evidence but it is open to being challenged for reasonable and supportable cause. Unless it does not meet that criteria I would consider it to be “speculation”, not desirable but not necessarily unusable if that is the only way to reach a hypothetical solution to a problem. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, some “data” is no more than fiction and perhaps not even reasonable fiction. Although the use of fictional data may enhance the readability of an account it can lead to confusion and/or misleading conclusions as it has in the article in the AmericanHeritage/Invention & Technology Magazine article “What Sank the THRESHER”. What this article lacked was explicit disclaimers relative to the source or basis for the many statements made. Implicitly, however, the most significant disclaimer was implied in the second sentence of the second paragraph: “There were no survivors to tell what had happened ……. “. That same disclaimer should also apply to the postings in this SCORPION Lost blog. To me it appears that the article is a collection of facts, opinions having some logical basis, speculations, logical fiction, and some instances of pure fiction, eg, “engineroom leak had grown to more than two inches in diameter”. Unfortunately, this same criticism also applies to a few of the postings in this blog. Readers must evaluate the validity and assess the significance and implication of each point which is made: Is it a fact which can be independently verified? Is it an opinion based upon prior experience? Is it an opinion based upon reasonable expectations? Is it an opinion based upon speculation? Is it from a knowledgeable source? Fortunately it is much easier to dismiss the conspiracy accounts than some of the specific assertions.

    Before leaving this point I should mention that even when there are survivors there is no assurance that the cause of a casualty will be identified. I will elaborate on this in a forthcoming posting relative to how the loss of USS COCHINO may provide clues regarding the loss of SCORPION.

    “Experiencing Minor Difficulties.”
    In his posting of 2/4/2011 at 8:54pm, Bruce focuses on the UWC (normally called UQC from its equipment designation) transmission calling the problems “minor” and, as a result, not consistent with flooding in the Engine Room. From what I heard at the time I understood that the UQC communications were, as was sometimes the case, difficult to understand and that what SKYLARK heard was not necessarily exactly what was transmitted. Notwithstanding that possibility, it should be realized that the person transmitting, probably Captain Harvey, was located at the conning station and had to get the word about what was happening back aft via a 7MC (or comparable) announcing system from the Maneuvering Room. There the watch, in all probability, was very busy trying to figure out what was happening. A scram would have been obvious but not so the reason it occurred. It is likely that flooding would not have been directly observable from the Maneuvering Room and was likely not even mentioned in the initial report to Conn. My guess is that the initial report to Conn stated only that the reactor had scrammed. Without the flooding, a scram, at least initially, would not have been considered a major emergency. The net result is that, in my opinion, the wording of the UQC transmission provides no valid basis for questioning the Board of Inquiry conclusion that there was flooding.

    As CO TRUTTA I had a flooding experience, not as traumatic as THRESHER’s but potentially as serious had our circumstances been different. An Aeroquip hose connection in the Motor Room (below Maneuvering Room) in the line providing sea water cooling to the main motors ruptured. As I remember it was about a 3” line. We were in an exercise out near Bermuda, needed to remain undetected, and, if submerged, to be below 200 feet. Having detected what we thought was an approaching aircraft, we dove and headed to 250 feet while “Rigging for Deep”. This included shutting the sea valves for the main motor cooling system. I was in the Conning Tower. Before reaching the ordered depth we got the word, via 7MC, “Flooding in the Motor Room”. I immediately ordered blowing all main ballast tanks and surfacing and sounding the alarms. I cannot remember why but we overshot the ordered depth and almost reached the 412 foot test depth before we started up. Since we were already rigging for deep these sea valves were closed quite quickly but even so we still ended up with about two feet of water in the bilge. Except for exceeding the ordered depth I was pleased with how well the crew responded to the emergency but not as pleased with the time it took to pump out the bilge. The plane contact had disappeared which was well because, after getting ready to dive again, the ship would not go down. The forward MBT vent operating gear appeared to work OK but it became obvious that the valves would not open so we did a normal surfacing, sent people on deck to inspect the vent operating gear, and determined that all looked normal. Not knowing what else to do, we then successfully dove and everything appeared normal. We deduced that blowing the tanks deep caused the vent valve gaskets to be compressed such that the operating gear somehow went past dead center until the gaskets had time to expand back to normal thickness. In any event we had no further problems. The failed Aeroquip hose ruptured where a large staple had been used to affix some sort of label, a poor practice we reported upon return to port.

    Likely THRESHER Loss Scenario

    Although it must be considered to be “opinion” I believe that the following scenario is not only the most likely account of how THRESHER was lost but also one which answers some of the questions and views appearing earlier in the blog. Data source codes are as follows:
    * invention & Technology Magazine
    % Not considered valid
    # Assumed for scenario construction. See Note below.

    0747* *Begin slow descent to test depth
    0752* *At 400 feet. Contact SKYLARK. Check for leaks.
    0809* *At 650 feet. Notified SKYLARK
    0825* *At 1000 feet
    0902* *%?? Cruising at 18 knots, changing course
    0912# #Reactor scram. Maneuvering reported scram to Conn
    0912-15# #Aware of flooding. Maneuvering reported flooding to Conn
    0912-25# #Conn orders ballast tank blow
    0913* *UQC to SKYLARK “Experiencing minor difficulties. Have positive upangle. Am attempting to blow. Will keep you informed.”
    0913# #No success in terminating flooding
    0913-30# #Ballast tank flow valves freezing up and stopping airflow
    0914# #Amount of flooding exceeds weight of water blown out of ballast tanks.
    #Ship reaches minimum depth achieved and starts sinking. As ship sinks air bubbles in ballast tanks are compressed due to increasing sea pressure which adds more to the weight causing ship to sink. Internal flooding is probably still continuing but even if not it is probably too late to save the ship.
    0915* *SKYLARK requests update “Are you in control?” No immediate response.
    0917* * SKYLARK receives garbled message. The only understandable words were “…exceeding test depth”
    0917* *UQC to SKYLARK Only words heard were “nine hundred north”
    Some on SKYLARK heard sound of ship breaking up.
    (From later, post loss confirmation Navy listening devices ashore heard “a high energy, low frequency noise disturbance of the type which could have been made by an implosion.”)

    NOTE: The times given above relative to flooding and freezing up of ballast tank blow valves are guesses intended to denote their sequence. Most likely they are not accurate relative to determining their duration.

    Alternative THRESHER Loss Scenario
    It appears that Bruce and others believe that there is an alternative hypothesis that starts with THRESHER being in a heavy trim condition, at or near test depth, and experiencing a reactor scram. I have not tried to provide a timetable for this scenario because I do not have any idea as to how to construct one, especially without having some idea as to the assumption of how “heavy” the trim was.

    In his posting of 2/11/2011 at 9:22pm, Bruce states that “As of March 2007, ONI still held data that established incontrovertibly why the THRESHER nuclear reactor scrammed, and from which a detailed timeline of the evolving situation …… can be derived.” Having had to struggle through preparing an Incident Report to Naval Reactors to explain an unplanned reactor scram with attendant complications caused by operator errors I have trouble seeing how the ONI data could be any more than a speculation. Although conceivably sound data might indicate what happened I seriously doubt that the sound data could provide the why. In our case, even with being able to quiz those involved, it was very difficult.

    Out-of-trim (Heavy) vs Engineering Space Flooding
    The summary of the document Bruce is writing on the loss states that THRESHER was out-of-trim (Heavy) at test depth. What evidence or basis is there that this was the case before flooding started? Given that this was a “Test Dive”, the first deep dive after major work at the shipyard, I have great difficulty believing that they would have been much, if any, out of trim since they had already been submerged for the better part of a 24 hour day. Coming out of the yard with possible stores and hull weight changes and extra personnel on board there may have been problems in calculating needed trim changes but all of these would have been resolved by getting trimmed on the first dive. Once having gotten a good trim I have trouble imagining what would have caused any significant change in trim prior to their going deep. And if there had been, for some reason, a need to adjust their trim before going deep or at plateaus while on the way down, I feel certain that they would have done so.

    Is there a supposition that they were heavy based upon the extent of hull compression because of the great depth? I know that in fleet boats it was normal practice to open any joiner doors before going to test depth so that hull compression would not keep them closed. I do not remember any significant compression trim effects for any of the boats I have been on but it is my opinion that most Diving Officers would endeavor to stay in trim and, if there were hull contraction and ship speed were slow enough to analyze trim conditions, would pump out enough to compensate for the compression and/or sea water density changes. Relative to deep dive tests, I do not remember the specifics but do remember that they were done at moderate speed and with stops to check for leaks at various plateaus on the way down. As for speed I was more concerned about a stern plane casualty than about flooding.

    Relative to the deep dive and/or flooding I have the following questions:
    (1) For Bruce would the acoustic records provide any data that could indicate flooding in an engineering space if it were to occur? Do you believe that the records which remain classified provide any information relative to the existence and/or magnitude of sea water flooding? What type of information might this be?
    (2) What made the ship heavy if it was not flooding?
    (3) What “evidence” would be needed to support a belief that there was flooding and that it caused the scram?
    (4) Where I take significant exception to Bruce’s words is the sentence “There was not in 1963 – nor is there now – any evidence to support the conjecture that the failure of a silver-brazed, sea-connected pipe produced flooding that resulted in a reactor scram.”
    Given the rather dismal history of the various Sil-braze Ultrasonic Examination Programs, I find it surprising that any knowledgeable person could assert that flooding was not a likely cause of the reactor scram and the loss of the ship by flooding. And while it is not possible to state just where a failure of a silver-brazed connection in the ASW (Auxiliary Sea Water) system might have occurred, the extent and location of this system makes it the most likely suspect, not only for having a failure but having it in a location where the likelihood of a high pressure spray striking a variety of electrical and control panels was very high. While I had not previously been aware what ultra-sonic sil-braze testing had been done in this respect for THRESHER I believe what the American Heritage says about these and the attention paid to this issue by the Board of Inquiry. In addition I am somewhat aware of how these programs were instituted on most, if not all, submarines after THRESHER. I do not know what statistics and repairs resulted from these inspections on all ships, and do not even remember these for LINCOLN, but I do know that she did get a rather comprehensive inspection while alongside the tender in the Holy Loch and that it resulted in at least a few repairs. What I do remember is one particular joint in the ASW line providing sea water to one of the stills in the forward port corner of the engine room. This joint was in what I remember as a 2 inch line, hard to access but not hard to see, and for which no leak had ever been observed. We considered it amazing when the ultrasonic test showed 0% bonding which, on further examination, led to the conclusion that it had never been heated. Although having leaks due to poor bonding can be serious having the line separate at the joint would likely be catastrophic. I do not know on what basis the Board reached its flooding conclusion but have no doubt whatsoever that it was valid.
    (5) George, in his posting of 2/12/2011 at 1:35 am, mentions “seawater relief valves” that would open at some point below test depth. If there are such valves it is news to me. Where are these – system? Component? What is their function? I would NOT want any of these but, unless I learn of a good reason to have them, I would want to know how to gag them. If they do, in fact, exist I imagine that they would be to relieve an internal pressure build up due to thermal expansion while isolated and would allow only a very minute amount of water flow.

    Location of ASW System Valves
    In his posting on 2/11/2011n at 9:32pm Bruce gives the author of the American Heritage article a bum rap by questioning how the author could get the bit about “the scattering of pieces of valves about the room.” Bruce apparently misunderstood that when the author said “… the valves needed to stop the flow were scattered about the room.” The author was not implying that the valves had come apart but merely that their location was spread around in the room thereby slowing access to them to stop flooding by completely isolating the whole system. As noted by the author the SUBSAFE program required installation of new centralized emergency valves that enabled one person to shut down internal piping circuits.
    Water Effects on Submarine Electrical Panels
    According to the American Heritage article the Board of Inquiry caused tests to be made of panel vulnerability to water damage. The test apparently used a strong jet of water. I had not previously been aware of these tests but based upon my own experience knew that even sprays can be harmful. In TUSK and ENTEMEDOR it was flooding thru an antenna shear valve and the water was fairly easy to wipe up. In CAVALLA, right after surfacing in very rough seas, main induction flooding reached the ventilation supply line all the way forward and, among other items, flooded out a radio transmitter voice modulator. Fortunately none of the affected items were energized at the time.

    Was THRESHER able to rise at all?
    At the end of his posting of 2/11/2011 at 9:22pm, Bruce states that “There is no information on how far – if at all – THRESHER was able to rise before sinking.”
    I question the “if at all”. Although it is by no means conclusive, my reasoning is that she did rise some unknown amount based on the assumption, per the “Likely Scenario”, that the UQC transmission at 0913 was made at a depth of 1300 feet while the “exceeding test depth” message at about 0917 was probably sent when the ship was back down at 1300 feet but going deeper still. Given the circumstances it is unlikely that them ship would have remained steady at 1300 feet and, unless they had gone up some, the interval between the two transmissions would not have been as long as it was.

    Ship Safety and Reactor Safety
    Before the loss of THESHER I was not alone in believing that Naval Reactors placed a higher premium on reactor safety than on ship safety. NR’s concern was manifested by the number of conditions causing scrams, the time it took to recover from a scram, and limitations on using at least some of the residual heat from the reactor coolant system to provide propulsion in emergency situations. Although it is unfortunate that NR did not recognize the validity of these concerns earlier, Naval Reactors did take, very soon after the loss, two actions to make reactor power more reliable in emergencies. One was to modify the reactor control and safety systems to facilitate “fast scram recoveries”. The other was to revise operating procedures to permit use of at least some of the residual heat from the reactor coolant system to provide propulsion in emergency situations.

    Timeline of Power Loss and Reactor Scram
    Near the end of his posting of 2/11/2011 at 9:22pm, Bruce states that the timeline of loss of electrical power and reactor scram is known but remains classified. I do not doubt that whatever information is available is classified but I am very skeptical as to the source, content and validity of this information. Unless it is possible to deduce this information by interpretation of the acoustic recordings I do not see how this information could be ascertained. How reliable would such an interpretation be?
    If this information is really reliable, or might be, I can understand why the Navy would like to keep it classified. It might be useful – and perhaps was – in situations like the Soviet K-129.

    An alternate possibility is how the classification level might have been influenced by Rickover. I seem to remember hearing that he was uncooperative in providing his thoughts on this loss. If this is the case I suspect that he felt that the prompt changes in the reactor safety and control systems so soon after the loss would reflect unfavorably on NR and, as a result, on him personally.

    Friends Lost
    I might note that I lost a number of friends in THRESHER. Bob Krag and I went to the same church. Master Chief Electrician Ben Shafer had been a shipmate in SEAWOLF. During my first year at the Naval Academy Phil Allen was in the same company although two years ahead. Wes Harvey and Pat Garner were social friends.
    Chief Electrician Roscoe Pennington, the hardest working individual I ever met, had academic problems getting through Nuclear Power School and took a year but did well at the prototype, made Chief, and became a Machinery Watch Supervisor in THRESHER. Quite a record for someone from the South who got to the 4th grade and entered the Navy as a Steward.

    I have been very disappointed to see the acrimony which has developed in this blog and hope that my remarks will not be considered as further fuel to the discord. My hope is that generally agreed upon explanations for the loss of both THRESHER and SCORPION will finally emerge. Until that comes to pass we need to agree to disagree!

    Terry Terrass

    • Bruce Rule says:


      I thought I posted a response but it appears to have gone to oblivion. All I can say is that the acoustic data incontrovertibly identifies why THRESHER scrammed but the Navy apparently has no interest in addressing that issue at any security level.

      I can only suggest that you submit a FOIA request to ONI and ask that
      the THRESHER loss assessment derived from that data in April 1963 be released into the public domain.


    • Bruce Rule says:


      A longer response to your posting 72:

      (Quote) I have trouble seeing how the ONI data could be any more than a speculation. Although conceivably sound data might indicate what happened, I seriously doubt that the sound data could provide the why. In our case, even with being able to quiz those involved, it was very difficult.
      (end quote)

      Comment: Acoustic data can be exploited to identify the design characteristics, operating mode and electrical loading condition of a specific machinery system over a time period that, in the case of THRESHER, included the period of concern. Those conclusions were verified by a representatives BUSHIPS 345 and the David Taylor Model Basin, the activity in charge of the Navy’s acoustic noise trials of U.S. nuclear submarines. These are hard data; no conjecture is involved in their derivation. only precise measurements of frequency components.
      and their mathematical relationships. The actual acoustic data – a paper display (lofargam) from which these results were derived – still existed at
      ONI in 2007. There were no magnetic tape recordings of the THRESHER event.

      (quote) Bruce states that the timeline of loss of electrical power and reactor scram is known but remains classified. I do not doubt that whatever information is available is classified but I am very skeptical as to the source, content and validity of this information. Unless it is possible to deduce this information by interpretation of the acoustic recordings I do not see how this information could be ascertained. How reliable would such an interpretation be? (end quote)

      Comment; It is possible – and has been so since the early 19609’s – to “deduce” (establish) the design characterisitics of submarine main propulsion and “auxiliary machinery systems” based on the mathematical relationships of acoustic sources those systems produce relative to main turbines and SSTG line-frequencies. In 2006, I derived the ratio between two sources accurately enough to provide a unique solution to the design of a single stage reduction gear. i.e., the number of teeth on the pinion and the gear, values useful in estimating the power transmitted by the gear. Unless you are directly involved in the discipline, it would be difficult to appreciate the degree of sophistication the analytical techniques developed during the decades of ther 70s thrugh the 90s achieved.

      In the 70s and 80s, ONI acoustic analysts went up against NR on the
      characteristics of Soviet nuclear submairnes, especially their speeds
      and the methods by which ONI determined those speeds. We won every battle. The most rewarding one involved a technique NR hotly disputed.
      NR demanded we verify our technique with the USS NARWAL whom NR
      scheduled for a special trial. We derived our results but NR, not trusting us to statistically analyze our own data, turned it over to the Model Basin who determined that 12 of the 13 data points had (quote) a standard percent of error of plus/mnus one half of one-percent. (end quote). I’m sure Mark Forrsell (sp?) will remember those technical “exchanges.” Since they were submariners, ONI management wanted us to back down and not go up against NR. We persisted and, as stated above, won.

      I repeat my assertion that there is no evidence to support the conclusion
      that there was any intrusion of sea-water into the THRESHER pressure-hull before that structure collapsed. There may be numerous conjectures and likely scenarios but I know of no incontrovertible evidence that flooding did occur.

      ONI knows why THRESHER scrammed. Someone or some activity is
      going to have to put enough pressure on them to disclose that information. I tried in a letter sent to the DNI in January 2011 and, as expected, that letter has been ignored, as also has been the case with the SCORPION.
      It appears both events are now covered by Project OSTRICH.


  72. George Hubbard says:

    This reply is to Angie Bell
    1. battery explosion … while hydrogen was in the cells.. All evidence indicates this
    2.The tape was likely faked to enhance the training experience. It added a complexity that would challenge the students. Navy schools turn into ” semi-think tanks “. The instructors are usually made up of past exceptional students and there are loads of training devices to do ” lab work ” or experiments. It becomes a ” hobby lobby ” for the instructors. They have spare time and loads of toys … so they dream up things and tinker.
    3. They would like to mislead the enemy until the equipment on boasrd lost its intelligence value.
    4. IMO he misinterpreted data and made false assumptions .. He was in a position that affords people the opportunity to make mistakes .. IMO he was what is referred to in the Navy as a ” prims donna ” … He was above mistakes ..
    5. Submarines are intentionally sunk by near misses … The ideal place for a torpedo to explode is under the sub near the middle .. the most force is used to break the hull by lifting the middle .. You can find videos of that on line..
    6. It would be extremely unlikely in what would be mid-ocean … The range of a torpedo would greatly limit the opportunity and the slower sub would near to be very close to the path the faster sub was on.
    7. The number of sounds is endless … but each sound has amplitude and frequency acharateristics that allow it to be separated from other sound .. like a bas voice is different from a tenor .. ( there is room for confusion .. as some sounds are similar and some sounds combine … like two people singing together ..
    Later for your brother’s questions ..

  73. George Hubbard says:

    Comment for Angela Bell re. Her brother’s questions:
    1.I do not know.
    2.It was not a Navy mission. It was a CIA project .. Code name Azorian. They built a special ship and created a cover story that it was an oil research shjp.
    3. Mr Rule may choose to answer this. When you strike various objects with a stick like a drummer .. Each drum,bongo,cymbal makes its own sound. A bass sound has a low frequency. a soprano has a high frequency. On a graph a low frequency would be lines not close together … a soprano’s lines would be close together. Also sounds may produce echoes .. you can learn a lot from the echoes. The harder you strike an object the louder the sound ie: louder is more amplitude. The amount of energy determines the loudness. The speed that sound travels is not fixed. It varies with temperature and other factors. However if you do the calculations correctly an allow for the differences you can get close to the right distances. That is a very very simplified explanation. The sound data was backed up by the pieces picked up from the ocean floor. The way the pieces were damage said the explosion was inside the cell not outside.
    if you put a firecracker in a can .. the can blows outward and the parts of the powder and paper are on the inside. If the firecracker was outside the debris would be on the outside of the can .. and the can would be crushed not bowed outward. The debris flew through the air and imbedded into cells that did not explode. The debris would not have flown as far and hard had the air been replaced with water.
    4. later.

  74. George Hubbard says:

    For Angela:
    4. Mr. Rule and I were careful to politely point out an error in someone’s statement .. but nonetheless the person being addressed perceived it as an insult and escalated the discourse. Neither Mr. Rule nor I intended to insult the other parties. The internet is a terrible forum for discussion. It robs the participants of visual clues such as body language. It does not afford the speaker rapid feedback or a real feel for the person being addressed. You cannot see the other persons reaction to what you are trying to say. It is hard to create a commaradery without those signals. For me typing is a PIA .. so I try to say what I’m saying briefly but lack the skills. The initiation of the flare ups were unintended.

  75. RK ALLEMAN says:

    George, thank you for a most thoughtful and thorough and credible explanation and the intricacies of what’s entailed in the battery department. As I said, my role onboard was, well, ASW oriented, so I got to see quite a lot of crew and their ops, even the evals run on those operations. What you describe, and correct me if I’m wrong, is your exhaustive experience onboard boats after my time, the 60s. I would think the kind of situations (problems) you pointed out would be more thoroughly addressed, both in “A” schools, nuke schools, any kind of schools and training, including onboard drills. I know you didn’t say or suggest this, but the complexity of those boards the crew monitored, and all the details necessary to make sure that sector of the boat was humming along, shows me I surely missed some key and finer points about sub systems operations. And likely, as I believe Bruce, or was it John (Vince?) pointed out, something terribly wrong happened to the Scorpion, and most likely it was the battery section. Guess we can never know for sure what, exactly, caused the incident, except these many missives, replies, you good folks have been generating lead me to believe another inquisition, a sorry, inquiry, as a board reconvened, can use some of this data as supporting new evidence. And who knows, maybe those in the know are learning from some of you the way I have learned some humble pie lessons concerning this matter. Let me also offer a conjecture about the Scorpion’s likely running drills after that, let me call it, Echo-II class diversion/mission. . .she was in sad shape in many ways, and something, call it intuition, tells me Capt. Slattery intended to make a fast, direct transit back to Norfolk and arrive on the schedule date, the scheduled hour, and not run any unnecessary drills. After the two enlisted men left the boat, in Rota, the suggestion (to the captain) that morale was down leads me to make another assumption: the crew was maybe mentally overloaded; certain, the state of ill repairs on her aging systems, and the fact she was classified as a LID boat tells me, at least, the transit would have been clean and easy, perhaps even casual. Call me naive, because I’ve been called far worse at other times, I’m going to say a relaxed cruise for a change of pace was the order of the day. . .until something very awful happened, by which all else followed. RK

  76. RK ALLEMAN says:

    For Capt. Williams, darn you. Now you have my curiosity peaked to the max. I wonder if you can at least say if it’s a book that you wrote, or were somehow a part of, sir? And the intrigue of factoring in “Mother Nature” also is more than curious. RK

  77. RK ALLEMAN says:

    Whoah! Humbling. . .I mean Terry’s reply and credentials. I’m telling you gentlemen (and ladies), I think we ought to take a few days off, find a place to meet and host a conference, and get to meet one another. If so, I’d love to be the secretary and write the notes on such an auspicious, engaging, illuminating and dialectical encounter of brilliant minds. And, yes, Terry some of the time the discussions were heated, but I think now most of the egos are holstered and commentaries are more objective, and less prone to contests. You know, about who’s right or wrong with the facts. As far as the last reply I wrote a moment ago, to the captain who makes a statement Mother Nature had something to do with the Scorpion’s demise, well, this is something I’m sure we all want to hear more about, that is, when he’s ready to tell it. RK

  78. RK ALLEMAN says:

    John, thank you. I look forward to hearing what you have to say. As far s the hopeful meeting of minds someday, our very own seminar, I still work in the tourism business, and I’m betting I can find us cheap lodgings somewhere, including a conference room. I mean, if ever some of you decide it would be nice to get away from the screen and make a personal appearance. If any of you might also know whether Admiral Weakley or Masterton, I think their names are spelled, are alive, I worked for those two fellahs, and I believe ASW ops can provide some additional GP-3 (it should be by now, GP-3) info. There were also rumors (sorry to use the term, folks) about the Navy Department’s neglect to fully take care of the Scorpion, her lacking maintenance, and when she made her last dive it was quite the embarrassment. I am not using the word “cover up,” so much as “neglect” sounds and works better. The failure to complete the SUBSAFE routine, for example. Also, the fact the boomers really were the prima donnas in those days (and maybe still are). which meant keeping them onsta was a priority. Yet what the heck are Attack-class subs. . .secondary? Come on. Anyway, I’ve said it many times before on this site, what an assembly of erudite minds with good hearts and genuine concerns is this! RK

    • John Wouldridge says:

      RK, That idea of meeting and having our very own forum/seminar sounds like a winner to me. To meet face to face and mk-1 eyeball sounds like fun. I attended a battleship forum that was a lot of fun. Some of us brought some very nice models. I brought a 42″ model of the New Jersey that was immaculate. A friend of mine who was a big Bismark fanatic, set the forum up by posting the information at a hobby shop.

  79. George Hubbard says:

    Reply to Mr. Terass
    Your comments are a breath of freah air.
    You listing of UQC transmissions closely follow what I have been led to believe since 1963. I have been led to belive some vertical progress was made prior to final descent. I obviously have no access to this info. The rumor was in 1963 that the tapes of the UQC transmissions were played at sub school .. at least to the staff. I cannot confirm that.
    ( I believe that the Scorpion’s blow system iced … but would not have expected that the crew would have anticipated this .. but may have had prior knowledge. It was never a subject that I heard before the Scorpion loss. )
    As you can tell the jury is still out for me as to the sequent of events prior to the scram.
    You are correct about the sewater relief valves. They were installed to prevent damage to isolated seawater heat exchangers. I cannot remember if they were restricted by orifices. At one time I asked that question but never received a satisfactory answer. They were set at 150 % of test depth and were installed on 1/2 inch lines. My guess would be there were 30 of them. To my knowledge they were never isolated. They had isolation valves that had locked open tags on them but were not physically locked open. They were tied to the constant vent lines which on Thresher and Scorpion would have had manual isolations not emergency hydraulic isolation. (Amazing as it my seem I had a mildly heated conversation that we were going to have a sub loss due to seawater the the day Thresher was lost but before we were notified. I was aboard Sam Houston making the first polaris Med patrol. I cannot say what contribution these valves would have made .. because I do not know the number and do not know if they were restricted by orifices. I do know they were unisolted and could not be hydraulically isolated. ( I also do not believe check valves existed in the lines going overboard.)
    I was in class 61-2 at nuke school and went to S1C afterwards. I believe that I crossed paths with Chief Pennington somewhere. We had a Machinist Mate Mozeke with a similar background as Chief Pennington. Mozeke later made Master Chief and COB. I was an EM2 when Thresher sank an a ” boot chief ” when Scorpion went down.
    I have great respect for Mr. Craven although my earlier comments may not have reflected that.
    In a conversation that I had with a former C.O. of Pulaski and retired Admiral who served in various capacities related to subsafe and seawater inspections he expressed significant distress at findings related to seawater integrity. ( He was laso a senior ORSE inspector. )
    I share your thoughts that Thresher must have approached test depth with serious caution related to trim. To have done otherwise seems outside of my understanding. I made test dives during the summer of 1962 on Sam Houston. It was an arduous meticulous process. I feel sure that approach permeated the fleet.
    I empathize with your involvement with Tusk and Cohino … That had to be ” a long day ” .

    Your writing were much appreciated.

  80. George Hubbard says:

    Mr. Terrass
    After writing my previous note and rereading your note, I attempted to remember the exact number of relief valves. This is not exact .. I will brieftly identify them .. 5 for generators,6 aux sea water/ rx water, 2 main seawater,3 lube oil,2 A/C ,1 still and 1 for the motor cooler.
    The constant vent sytem could be manually isolated by a hull and back up in the AMR and the same in the ER if the hull valves for the seawater systems were shut and held against sea pressure.

  81. Bruce Rule says:

    I must admit to having given an audible “groan” when, upon opening my mail box, I saw 12 new postings on this site.

    First, to CAPT Williams: With respect to Mother Nature being responsible the loss of SCORPION, while one can conjecture such
    improbable natural phenomenona as internal waves or a massive methane clathrate release, or any number of other such events, one should go beyond conjectures and offer proof that whatever natural
    phenomenon you will propose actually occurred. I, for one, sincerely hope there will not be another SCORPION book that
    would cause Occam to cut his own throat with his Razor.

    As I have suggested to others, send me your email address and I’ll
    send you the SCORPION Acoustic Data Analysis File. You should know in detail what you’re up against with respect to the battery
    explosion as the only initiating event responsible for the loss of the


    The Navy knows exactly why THRESHER was lost; however, testimony that identified the reason was stricken from the Board of Inquiry transcript in June 1963 by then VADM Rickover who reportedly made the following statement: (quote) This may have been a training issue but I’m the only one who can say that and I’m not going to. (end quote).

    How do I know this? I analyzed the THRESHER acoustic data; derived the position where it was found; established why the scram occurred, and testified before VADM Bernard Austin’s Board
    of Inquiry in May 1963. It was my testimony and the supporting testimonies of two others that were stricken.

    Bruce Rule

    • John Wouldridge says:

      Bruce, If the Scorpion had went down in the confines of the Bermuda Triangle, there would be some believing that would be the reason for her demise. I would never believe that. Bruce, I never mentioned this but one of the first conjectures that I heard on the Scorpion back then when they were searching for her wreckage, was that she may have collided with an underwater mount. Did you hear of that back then?

      • Bruce Rule says:

        No, I did not hear anything about a collision with an underwater sea mount
        but it would not surprise me if such a theory was bandied about. I do remember conjecture the Soviets were somehow involved in the loss of THRESHER because there was a Soviet AGI (Intelligence Collector) in
        the western Atlantic at the time. I suspect that had there not been comms
        with the SKYLARK (ASR-20), that conjecture would have gained greater currency.

  82. Angela Bell says:

    Hello all, and thank you to the folks who replied.

    I have questions for Vince Coller. My dad weighed in on these questions, after I asked him to review the site.

    1. Did the bandwidth of the Scorpion’s blade-rate signatures change in visual acuity during the playing of the tape you said you saw? The torpedo?

    2. Do you have any other data about the 51kt Russian torpedo? What date?

    if you don’t want to reply here, you can send to

    As I said before, I’m approaching this as a sort of personal project. I do understand some of the technical things as you have given answers that make sense to me, and the rest I have asked my dad. I do have some things I noted that you could have answered just by going back and looking thru the posts.

    In my question #2, I asked why they think the tape was fake, and for anyone replying to include their experience in analysis of these types of tapes.
    My father’s comment was that he’s “familiar with the equipment used by the ASW school, and no equipment in use in 1982 could do more than lay a signature on top of a pre existing tape to make a new one, and these were easy to spot”. He says George Hubbard’s reply to that question is simply “a guess, and that he really doesn’t know.” “Then he omits his experience with analyzing these kinds of tapes, or has none.” The quotations are cut and paste from my father’s email to me.

    #6. The “fast torpedo from a slower boat” question. George Hubbard says it’s unlikely. My dad says that is exactly what the Russians did to compensate for their slow boats. The Russian subs couldn’t keep up with an American sub’s speeds underwater, so they designed torpedos to do just that. He says that Russian torpedoes were faster than our torpedos. (He says the Russians NOW have rocket powered torpedos that can go over 270kts) He says that for George to downplay this suggests he has no real expertice in this area. My dad served on the Bremerton as a weapons officer, and he would know.

    #7. “Could Scorpion sneak up on an Echo 2” was completely ignored.
    My dad said that was the Scorpions job, what it was designed to do. he says that if the Echo 2 discovered the Scorpion shadowing it close aboard, it could have easily sunk it with a speedy torpedo.

    My brother’s question #3 (who started the insults) was answered by re-reading thru the posts.

    In post 44.1.1, Bruce Rule calls Vince Collier “analytically uninformed.” I would say that he was insulted based on his reply, even though he waited until after Bruce’s post 47 to reply. I would have been insulted. My brother agrees.
    We saw numerous further posts by Bruce Rule where he made more borderline inflammatory remarks directed at Vince Collier. None were replied to. Then, in post 47, Bruce Rule suggests that Vince Collier is “unwilling”, “unable” to reply, and should witrhdraw to prevent further “embarrassment”. We (My dad, my brother and I)here feel that was very insulting, and Bruce Rule started the unprofessional tit for tat between Vince and himself with those several negative posts.

    Also, my dad says that Mr. Ballard is “pretty smart” and “very professional” and that is why the Navy depends on him for really serious undersea projects. My dad actually laughed out loud at the “prima donna” remark. He says you guys need to stop attacking each other, and work together to find a solution, instead of trying to be “the ONE who is right”. He further stated that a battery on a sub can explode outward from shorting due to collapse damage after the fact, and nothing shown on here proves for sure that it exploded first, or definitively cause the inital damage. My dad read all this stuff, he’s pretty smart, and I tend to believe him. My dad teases that I should find a new “hobby”, that I will just piss off guys who are grown men who would percieve this as arguing with a “child”. Have I not presented valid arguments for debate? I really do love to debate things. Let me know.


    • Bruce Rule says:


      IRT your question: (quote) Did the bandwidth of the Scorpion’s blade-rate signatures change in visual acuity during the playing of the tape you said you saw? (end quote).

      The bandwidth of SCORPION’s blade-rate, which was radiated by mechanical excitation of the pressure-hull (bow-stern directive) and NOT by the propeller would not change unless SCORPION began to cavitate strongly, a condition that would create a cavitation blade-rate at the same frequency as the mechanical blade-rate. Strong cavitation blade-rate detections from a US nuc usually occurs only during surfaced mode operations at speeds above 10-knots.

      Further, the processing resolution of the DSA lofargram displays available at the ASW Training School in 1982 were significantly greater than the
      bandwidth of the SCORPION mechanical blade-rate; hence, had there been even a three-times increase in bandwidth of the 589 blade-rate, it would not have been apparent on the school grams.

      Also note that the Soviets never fired a practice torpedo without an escort ship available to retrieve it. Try 200-knots on the SKVAL torpedo that was
      achieved using bubble-screen technology for very short durations.

      US nucs did not have a speed advance over Soviet nucs until the 688 Class became operational, and even then the Soviets had one-of-the-kind
      45-knot PAPA and five or six operational ALFAs capable. of 41-knots.


  83. Bruce Rule says:

    The somewhat delayed 48-page SCORPION Acoustic Data Analysis File has been sent bcc to all who requested it, and will be sent to
    all who – in the future – request it by email to

    I note, with regret, that Vince Collier has not requested the file which contains detailed technical assessments sent to the CNO, the DNI and COMSUBFOR in 2009 and 2010.

  84. George Hubbard says:

    Surrounded by experts … You need little help from me.

    • Angela Bell says:

      So it would seem then that the result of this debate is this:

      1. The battery explosion is not the proven cause of the demise of Scorpion, but only another theory. The battery may have exploded, but it may have done it due to effects of sinking after the initial cause. In effect, metalurgy tests, etc proves nothing except that the battery likely exploded.

      2. The conjecure of it being false that the Scorpion could have been destroyd by a slower boat is flawed, as the Echo 2 was carrying torpedos that could easily run down Scorpion.

      3. Any Echo 2, upon discovering that it was being shadowed close aboard by a Skipjack class sub, would have easily been able to hit it with a fast torpedo.

      4. No one has offered proof that the tape was faked, only opinions were offered by people who are not qualified nor experienced with these tapes, or have even set foot in a place where they used them.

      As a person on the outside looking in, with no experience, trying to make a judement here based on the posts so far, using proccess of elimination and simple logic, it is my assesment that a typical regular person would not be convinced by Bruce Rule or George Hubbard as they have failed to address these significant points with absolutes. The fact that I know they can see what I see when reading the posts makes me believe that they are ignoring it, and therefore makes me distrust what they are saying at all. In my opinion it looks like someone twisting the info to try to make it fit what they want, but can’t qualify their “facts”.

      I’m not convinced the tape was faked. I see nothing but unqualified opinions here against it. In a debate, these arguments against it would lose.

      I’m not convinced Scorpion couldn’t have been caught by a faster torpedo from a nearby slower boat, based on what I have read here. As a matter of fact, to say that it couldn’t is absurd. In a debate, the argument that it couldn’t would lose.

      I understand tha battery exploded. I’m not convinced the battery explosion cause the initial damage.

      Surrounded by experts? Thank you. My father will appreciate the complement. I sent him this before I posted it, and he concurs with my assesment, from a debate standpoint of course.

      I would really appreciate it if Vince Collier would reply to my email. I have a few questions, and I promise to keep it confidential. My father bought the book Scorpion Down and even though he wants to stay out of this, he want’s to speak to you. He would also like to speak with Les Wallenstien. Vince, Les, please reply to

  85. George Hubbard says:

    Angela ..
    I suggest you try googling for some of your answers. You will be amazed what you find.

    In 1973 I served on the U.S.’s newest submarine. It was impossible for us to keep up with the Ruskies. Only when they slowed down did we get closer.
    Additionally I was on one of the two subs that tested the mk 48 before and after the bugs were worked out. It was amazing. Before that time .. the Russians were fast and could go deep … but that was not the whole game.


    Below is the only target sunk by Russia’s superfast torpedo


    You asked for short answers … That is what I gave you.
    I am not a sonarman or a torpedoman but a nuke…. What exactly went on with that tape I obviously have no idea. However my observations of instructors and their tinkering was observed many times. Artificial problems are put in many pieces of equipment to challenge the troubleshooter.
    By the way I likely have a far better understanding of the sounds made by ships than might appear on the surface …

    I further suggest … in your writing endeavors … you expand your objectivity. Good luck on your submarine career. You will need it.

  86. Angela Bell says:

    Bruce, plain and simple, I didn’t ask you. Did you claim to see the tape? No, you did not. So, regarding info on the tape, you would be assesed unqualified to give an answer to the question I asked of Vince anyway. I wanted Vince’s answers without him reading someone else’s assesment first, which might compromise his answers, that’s why I directed the question to Vince. I wanted answers un affected by someone elses opinions. Please do not answer questions not dircted to you, that is rather rude. I may be only 18, but I do observe proper ettiquette. Seems you grown men would do the same, or else how do you expect to achieve anything positive in this forum?

  87. George Hubbard says:

    My,my ….
    You have much to learn. Today would not be too soon to begin.

    • Angela Bell says:

      I agree, that is my objective here. That’s why I came here, to polish my debating skills. I debate with my dad all the time, as he used to do it for a living. What I have learned here so far, is that you grown men have actually been throwing insults back and fourth, have been offering opinion as fact, and I just discovered that one of you has been lying profusely about his experience and qualifications. My father has connections for background checks (including military records and employment records and internet IP and MAC addresses) you would not believe. This is so much fun….

      • Bruce Rule says:


        I’m not going to let you go on this one. You have inferred that I have been lying profusely about my experience and qualifications. Have the honesty
        to post whatever your father is able to uncover – if anything – through his connections and background checks. Of course, you can always call the Office of Naval Intelligence.

        After you and your father take the time to read the SCORPION Acoustic
        Data Analysis File, you may change your mind. An apology at that time
        would be appropriate.

        As George Hubbard stated, you have a lot to learn and today is not too soon to begin. Remember to read my one-star review of
        Ed Offley’s book which is the agreed opinion of 15 individuals with a combined total of 400-years of experience in acoustics. Are they also
        profusely lying about their experience and quaifications by endorsing the technical content of the review?

        B. Rule

      • John Wouldridge says:

        Angela, It is against the law for anyone to conduct a background check on another without their authorization or consent. The party that conducts that background check will be identified to the person or persons that the background check was conducted. If it was without authorization or consent, and personal information gets lost, misused, or falls into the wrong hands, that party will be prosecuted in federal court.. That is an invasion of privacy. Your father is a regular Joe just like the rest of us. He has no authorization to order a background check without the intended person’s consent. You will find him and his cohorts fighting a lawsuit to stay out of federal prison and possibly being sued heavily. A more mature person would know that.

      • Angela Bell says:

        Not to mention, it scares the crap out of the people who have very interesting skeletons in their closet…..

      • John Wouldridge says:

        Say what you might, there are no skeletons in my closet. Nothing that I would lose sleep over. Opinions are not necessarily fact, they are just that, opinions. That is why they/we stated them as “in my opinion.”

  88. Angela Bell says:

    Vince, Les, please send my father a note. He was a weapons officer on two different missle subs and is now a retired lawyer and private charter pilot for a pro football team. He would love to speak to you, and has some back ground info that you would find extremely interesting concerning one of the people associated with this site.

  89. George Hubbard says:

    That is most interesting … Mr. Berrass, Corrine , Bruce and I … certainly are who we say we are and have not misrepresented any of our statements. So you have a very narrow pool to work with.

    • Bruce Rule says:


      If you doubt my bona fides, buy AZORIAN by Norman Polmar and Michael
      White and read the Foreword and Chapter 11. If your father is checking my
      background, I’d be most interested in what he finds,


  90. Les Wallenstien says:

    Well, I’m back for a read. Seems I have missed alot. I see I have a question asked about my earlier posting. As for what other data they looked at, I didn’t hear, but I don’t think we kept records of anything unrelated to our own maint performances. I know we didn’t at our office. The Navy kept it’s own records. Also, like I said, we never had anybody visit us. What I remember was that we heard about them coming in and taking the Bermuda file for a day, and returning it. It really didn’t raise any eyebrows, it was just a small curiosity because it was out of place. Mostly because they gave everybody there a paid day off, and we didn’t get one. A short time later, the news about the Scorpion broke, and we forgot about it. After reading all the posts on this site, I just had to go purchase Scorpion Down. They actually had a copy at the giftshop at the Arizona memorial for $14. My wife was upset because I spent two days reading it instead of running around with her and her family, but I just couldn’t put it down. Now I can’t help but wonder if the Navy taking the file for a day was somehow related with the sub sinking. Yes, I know it could have just been a coincidence, I’m aware of that. But, it did happen just three of four days prior to the news breaking, and that fellow said that Bermuda was the station that the tape came from, so it made me wonder. I guess I’ll never know.
    By the way, I read all the words from the young lady, Angela, and I got no idea who she could be talking about, telling a lie about anything. She is just polishing her debate skills, and high school kids love to do that. I find it out of taste to attack her when she hasn’t identified anybody by name. Also, he says her father is her source, not her, so lay off, will ya? Attacking a young woman like that tells more about the attacker than it does the kid. If she comes out with something and you can dispute it, then you might have cause to gripe. I have never seen adult professionals so intimidated by a teenaged girl. Young people are allowed to make mistakes, thats how they learn, we all did. Let’s teach by example how to be professional, not jump to conclusions, or assume someone was talking about us when no names have been spoken. I got NO idea from her posts nor could I decipher who she could be talking about. I might be the oldest one in this room, but I do know how to set a proper example to young people.

    Les Wallenstien,
    Whidbey Island Wa.

  91. Angela Bell says:

    I came here to debate. The rules of debate say I am only supposed to use the data supplied by you fellows here in this forum. It’s perfectly ok for someone(my dad) on your debate team to help you understand things, and help think of questions to ask. I’m not going to get into the childish “slur-fest” you grown men have such a fondness for. I just want to debate. That’s why I didn’t put any data of my own out here on this site. By the rules of debate, I can only use what you guys have put out. If you go back and look, you will notice that I have only used data found HERE.

    I have now forwarded this exchange to my high school debate coach and she has reviewed the entire exchange and given me an assesment exactly compliant with what I said I found.

    !. There is no one posting here except Vince who is verified to actually have analysis experience with the tape mentioned.
    2. There is no proof the tape was faked.
    3. There is no proof that a battery explosion caused the Scorpion to sink, although there is evidence of it exploding at some point during the event.
    4. A slow Soviet sub could have easily torpedoed the Scorpion if it was close enough.
    5. The Scorpion could well have done what it was designed to do, and crept up on the Echo 2 while observing the Soviet naval exercise, easily putting it withing the Soviet sub’s torpedo range.
    6. The ever so professional Bruce Rule started the childish slur exchange between he and Vince with SEVERAL posts before Vince decided to answer with his own insulting post.

    So, that’s my assesment, and it’s also the assesment of my dad and a debate coach with a long list of teaching credentials and a master’s degree in family law.
    Also, after reading Les Wallenstien’s post, I too can’t help but wonder if that “secret search” that wasn’t supposed to have happened before the Scorpion was overdue, did actually occur. You would think that the Navy would have at least wondered what that big ‘ole noise was out there in the ocean, right where they just sent the Scorpion to have a look… I have made my point. Goodbye, gentlemen. Please remember to be aduts and play nice.

    Angela Bell, Class of 2015 Hookem Horns!

    P.S. Vince, Les, please contact me.

  92. Dennis Mosebey says:

    Angela, first I salute your Dad for being a fine member of the submarine community and to your Mom and all your family, because attack boats are at sea a lot, tremendous sacrifice for all of you to help keep us all free. Thank him for me. Now in Silent Steel and on the Yahoo Scorpion Web site there are Ballard pictures of the actual wreckage. Ask your Dad to take a look and honestly appraise if he sees signs of torpedo damage and also does the way the wreckage displays itself speak to a torpedo hit? Being a weapons officer I am interested in his appraisal for sure.

    Now regarding Mr. Collier, Bruce’s data is available in the public domain. What Vince needs to do is take that data and do his own analysis and publish in the same scholarly way Bruce has his case. This is the spirit of scientific method not just looking at a tape. And let us say the tape is real, what guarantee comes with it that it is Scorpion combat and not some other boat? Granted there were no US subs other than Thresher and Scorpion reported lost, but what about our Allies–what sound signature guarantees it was an American boat. Anyhow that is what Vince needs to do. Respond to a scientific method with an independent open minded scientific method vice just relying on one data point? Would you not agree.

    And if we pick up the two explosions Bruce did, why would a 51 knot torpedo going through the water show on the same lofaragram? For many years everyone believed there were two shooters in Dealy Plaza due to one data point a bullet they said would have had to turn several times in mid air, BUT one simple detail was forgotten, Governor Connally was sitting in a slightly lower jump seat. When you take that into account the magic bullet takes a straight line!!!!

    Now the only conspiracy question that remains for me is did someone pay Oswald to do it. There is no question he was a lone gunman.

    Nice that you being so young care so much. There are few young people out there who honor our living or dead heroes so I really admire you and your brother and you ask good questions. If you really want some good stuff read Silent Steel and then let me know and I can get you on to the Bill Corcoran Scorpion website where you can see some really good stuff including many folks like your Dad and several sub captains who actually served on the Skipjack class. But do not read books by Offley and Sewell and Preisler. Too much unsubstantiated stuff. Steve Johnson’s book will show you that Scorpion was a can do boat outstanding crew, excellent commanding officer. No way Frank Slattery was going to let a Soviet boat sneak up on him.

    The Russian torpedo is called a Shakval(spelling) the reason it can go so fast is that it is constructed in such a way that it builds up a laminar film that reduces drag from the water. If you look it up on the Internet you can find very neat stuff about it. The Russians also had a titanium hull boat that could out dive any torpedo we had. It could go so deep that the torpedo attacking it would implode. Your Dad can tell you about that too. The reason he cannot tell you much is because he signed papers—there are few missions our boats undertake that can ever be revealed. But maybe as he grows older if there is a statute of limitations on the papers he signed, he can write up some notes for you and your brother so that down the road you and your children and their children will know what a hero he was.

    My best always. Continue your quest on the Scorpion and Thresher too and also enourage friends to do same—-remembering them, that is the key. Whether combat or not, they died for us.

    personal e mail, Always hanging around

    Dennis Mosebey

  93. Les Wallenstien says:

    Angela, you mention that your dad used to debate for a living, and that he was on submarines. What did he do? What does he do now? you have mentioned that you aspire to follow in his footsteps. I would like to offer you all the encouragement possible. The military is the only sure retirement available nowadays. They are cutting my medical benefits 3% this year, and they may make more cuts over the next five years. I don’t think military retirement benefits ever do anything but increase as time goes on. I hope you make a career out of it.

    Les Wallenstien, Whidbey Island Wa.

  94. Dennis Mosebey says:

    I hope she does too. LIke Wally Bishops Daughter Mary Etta, no finer tribute to her Dad and now the ladies can go on the boats too. She has the spunk and appears to have the smarts too. I would bet her Dad and Mom are pretty proud of her brother and her. Dennis

  95. Angela Bell says:

    My father was a weapons officer on a couple of the navy’s missile boats. The last one was the Bremerton. He then got his law degree and practiced law here for several years, took up flying, bought a 1953 Beachcraft to play with. He’s now retired, but he flies charter for the Seahawks sometimes. OMG! you live on Whidbey Island?!? I can see it from our boat dock!! Dude, you have GOT to email my dad!!!!

    Pleasepleasepleasssssss email my dad. If you want to go for a ride in the Beach, I’m sure he’ll take you! He’s friends with a former XO there, and they go flying all the time! This is so awesome!!! Send me your email address as well, please!


  96. Angela Bell says:

    My father just corrected me. The first boat he was on was a missile boat, it’s name was the John Marshal, an SSBN. He said it was a very unusual missile boat, but didn’t elaborate except to say that it didn’t stay a missle boat. Sometime later he was on a fast attack boat. That would be the Bremerton.


    • John Wouldridge says:

      The USS JOHN MARSHALL SSBN 611 was an Ethan Allen SSBN 608 class boomer. Her and a few of her sister boats had missile tubes filled with concrete and/or removed. They were also modified to carry special forces and their equipment. When that conversion happened, she was redesignated SSN.

  97. George Hubbard says:

    You have boxed yourself in ….
    .. believe what you like …

  98. RK ALLEMAN says:

    John, yes, the idea of a meeting of minds and hearts that have brought us together on this site is fanciful, even minds and hearts that lately have created a bit of drama to these most interesting sessions. By the way, wasn’t the ‘Jersey BB-65, by hull number? I worked with her doing some special ops when she had her shakedown cruise in GTMO, and was on her way to Viet Nam. A very impressive crew, indeed. Next to subs I love battleships the most. The ships I never liked where bird farms, since a lot of times I had to fly onboard, wait for a helo ride to some ASW or anti-asw boat and commence the drills. Nosiest damn ships on the open sea, but also the hardest-working. I mean, 24/7 those boys are at it. Anyway, I have connections with a very friend I did some business consulting for, there in la-la land, Lost Wages, who owns a huge tourism enterprise. Possible I can get rates for, what, twenty rooms, dbl. occupancy, sort of like a Tail hook reunion, only this one will be called “Bubbleheads reunited.” The public will think we’re a bunch of cyber geeks or something. Let me know and I can make good on my promise. I am very anxious to meet the likes of yourself, George, Bruce, Vince, if only he’ll blow ballast and surface, and this young and very inspiring Angela, but this small list does not exclude on purpose the many fine minds I am honored to tap into, mostly as a spectator. I’m not even sure if my ops in my time have been downgraded. But I will make a comment about how fast the Ruskies were and how deep their Alphas could go. . .excusing myself for not remembering who among this lot on HistoryNet mentioned this: we, in ASW, were never worried their speed or depth abilities. We had those guys covered 99% of the time. We knew exactly where they were, even lurking beneath cold water spots, and it was just like waiting for the prey to come to the master predator. Those daily PSL tapes, and all the rest of the rigamarole I got to mess about with assured me every signature we had on those bad boys, as license plate numbers, gave the staff confidence of the one determining factor in stealth: presence. Can’t tell you how many times we practically kissed hulls of big boomers, even attack subs. I think during these years there were no restraints placed on submarines under SUBLANT’s rule, which of course has all changed. Games do, you see. Anyway, let’s think about a meeting of minds and hearts one of these days on the proviso participants do not bring intellectual boxing gloves along in case push gets to shove. Where there are brilliant minds assembled, and those that don’t agree with one another, human nature often down funny things. I’m speaking to you as a former Buddhist priest. That’s not Judas Priest, mind you. RK

    • John Wouldridge says:

      RK, Yes, she was BB-62 by hull number. Also be advised that I was on a bird farm. The USS AMERICA CV-66. Sadly they sank her as a target off the North Carolina coast a few years back. I am still morning behind that. But, I guess the Navy wanted to know the extent of damage a super-carrier can absorb. Actually the NIMITZ class carriers are somewhat a nuclear version of the Kitty Hawk class carriers. I went aboard the NIMITZ and the internal layout and flight deck is pretty much the same. Minus the smoke stack. Little more armor for the main and flight deck and a larger fuel capacity. All the fuel on the Nimitz is for the air wing.

    • John Wouldridge says:

      RK, You are right, the public would think that we are some type of cyber geeks, but they or some of them would show an interest. You will be surprised that some of them may want to sit in and listen. Usually the time set aside for the forum usually runs out, with attendees still wanting to go on.

  99. RK ALLEMAN says:

    Angela, interesting man there, your father. His comments about being on a very “interesting” boat. . .ask him if it was as interesting as the “Bat Boat.” I had a bit of time on her and I don’t think there has ever been a more idiosyncratic boat like this, especially what she was built for, and did. RK

  100. Angela Bell says:

    It was fun here, but I really have to move on. My father is in contact with Vince finally, and it seems I wrote the the question my dad asked about the tape incorrectly. We had been talking about bandwidth, cavitation, hertz is cycles per second.. that kind of stuff. My dad wanted to know if the signature of the Scorpions blade rate ever changed in character, such as amplitude or aspect. My dad said that (Vince told him) that when the Scorpion went full power, the blade rate did some odd split on a seven to one ratio, became super loud, increased in frequency, and over the space of the run of the torpedo, got thinner. He thinks the Scorpion was turning hard and diving at the same time. Something to do with a bathtub effect showing the sub was turning. Anyway, they were on the phone for about two hours. He and Vince are sharing files and stuff like crazy. Evidently, Vince has more stuff that didn’t make it into the book my dad bought. This is wild. I have spent more time in the last four days talking about what he did in the navy that we ever talked about before.(even though there is some stuff he still won’t tell me) So, anyway, this has been fun and a diversion from boredom, but all good things come to an end. I am leaving the day after tomorrow on my way to New Guinea(it’s WARM summer there right now!) to visit my older sister and her husband, an Austrailian citizen. They are doing volunteer relief work after the earthquake there and I’m going to help!


    • Bruce Rule says:

      “Bathtub effect”?????

      The so-called bathtub effect is caused by multi-path interference among
      acoustic signal paths from the source to the receiver. As a well defined “bathtub” (appears on a paper time vs frequency display as decreasing frequencies which “bottom out” and then rise), it is detected only at relatively short ranges, i.e., at water depth or some low multiple thereof by bottom-sensors and a ranges of less than circa 5-10 kyds by sonobuoys during CPA events.

      If SCORPION was turning and diving, the “bathtub” would have been
      asymmetrical, i.e., the decreasing frequencies (upon approach to the sensor) would not have been mirrored by the increasing frequencies (upon opening range to the sensor). Ask Collier about the symmetry
      of his claimed bathtub detection.

      SCORPION was a single-screw boat. The blade-rate could not have split and formed what would be called “doublets.” A seven-to-one ratio could only have been detection of both blade- and shaft-rate which only occurred when 585/588 Class boats were surfaced at speeds in excess of 15-knots.

      If the tape Collier saw had a “bathtub” effect detection associated with the SCORPION detection, that is proof that it was a relatively short range
      detection AND THE SCORPION PASSED THROUGH CPA (closest point of approach) – NOT – REPEAT NOT – a very long range SOSUS detection and thus is further evidence that the tape was a composite of separate events and not a actual single detection event because Collier – I believe – claims the tape he saw was a very long range (1000+ nm?) SOSUS detection.

      It appears that the more that comes to light from Collier about the ASW
      Training School tape, the more suspect it becomes. Let’s hear more from
      him, especially a response to the above comments which I hope you will pass to your father.

      Should you challenge my background and qualification with regard to
      US nuclear submarine signatures, please note I wrote the 1963 document and co-authored the two 1990 documents. The list of ONI documents I
      wrote or contributed to on Soviet submarines exceeded 30. Sorry about that but I am the “genuine article.”

      COMOCEANSYSLANT INST 005520.1A of 1 Apr 1963, U.S. Nuclear Submarine Data Handbook

      Acoustic Characteristics of 688 Class U.S. Nuclear Submarines, Special ONI Study 1990

      Acoustic Characteristics of TRIDENT Class U.S. Nuclear Submarines, Special ONI Study 1990

      Finally, if your father wants to talk to me, give me his email address (off site) and I’ll give him my telephone number.

      Bruce Rule

    • John Wouldridge says:

      Going back to boredom?

  101. George Hubbard says:

    What an absolutely marvelous little tale !! So enlightening. Toodles.

  102. A. Bell (Angie's bro) says:

    Post 102 would be George and Bruce’s common, yet transparent, sigh of relief…..

  103. George Hubbard says:

    Anyone up to a game of charades ??

  104. RK ALLEMAN says:

    John, thank you for such clarification. I thought I left the spook service many years ago, but it appears my naiveté, once again, has caught up with me. And so, I am going to withdraw my name from this singular website that has transformed into some sort of a soap opera, a battle of egos, even admitting what I have found and research on same is far better than what I could ever have imagined produced by the networks.

    To all of you who have contributed to an excellent digest of information regarding both the Scorpion’s and Thresher’s loss, thank you. The impassioned replies have been most noteworthy. If any of you would care to continue a correspondence, please contact me at this email address, and I will be happy to reply. As it stands, I think the battle lines of egos that are drawn are far beyond my capability to meet such a standard. I was merely a pawn in the exercise. Let me also say I may love my country, but have never trusted the government that runs it. It knew better about how to protect its sanctuary, and who can blame us for that during such questionable time during very strange times during this, the finality of the Cold War. I’m almost sorry I was part of such machination. RK

    • John Wouldridge says:

      RK You, Bruce, George, I really enjoyed commenting with you. Lately this has become a circus. If you read into some of these “Johnnie come latelys” comments, my god it really is unbelievable. Any ex-navy man is not going to comment through a family member. They will comment themselves. It’s not impressive at all. RK don’t be surprised if I do contact you on your e-mail address. But, keep reading the mail, some of this nonsense might go away and it may return to an even keel. As for me, I’m going to read the mail and comment when necessary.

  105. RK ALLEMAN says:

    John, thanks for the reply, and I meant no offense to you bird farm sailors. It’s just that I never heard so much racket 2/47 in all my life. Mostly, it was COD flights in and off those multi cable landings, once in a while a S2F or a Willy Fudd, I believe the were called, and the fun stuff, like an A-6 or F-4 hop. Talk about taciturn pilots who have the ball, so to say. Anyway, it was all TAD stuff and that wasn’t so bad. Rather, it was the hitch hiking on Sea Stallions and the like to a boat that was the scary hop. And of course, my sailor’s cap off to all those who treated ‘com’ with respect and dignity, even though I was no wearing gold. And I have to also say most of my time was came board the Exxex, CVA 62, 65, the Champagne, I think we call her, and the Kitty Hawk. Your time in the Navy was a bit later than my own. What bailiwick were you in, as a rating, John? I doubt I ever met you onboard those noisy ops and floating postage stamp vessels. Oh how I remember night quals and stormy seas approaches, where you couldn’t be off more than a quarter inch, I think it was, of the ILS approach. Anyway, dixie cups off to that segment of the Navy. Talk about ‘downtown’ and Broadway out in the middle of nowhere. RK

    • John Wouldridge says:

      RK I take no offense to the bird farm comment. That’s regular Naval jargon. I was on the America CVA-66 and we also had A-6’s, A-7’s, A-5 Vigilante’s, E2C Hawkeyes,EA6B’s F-4J phantoms, and the SH3 Sea king helo squadron. Planes landing, especially at night, had to play that meatball correctly. We were sent to the Tonkin Gulf from Norfolk, Va. The Saratoga CVA-60 also went there from Mayport, Fl. A couple of years before the America, I went to Basic Training in Great Lakes, Illinois. I was the Company’s RPOC (recruit petty officer chief) I got accepted in the Nuclear Power program and went Great Lakes SSC. I completed the BEE(basic electrical and electronics) program. I got accepted in the ET program, but there were two different types of ET’s. I did not get the one that I opted for. I talked to a Chief radioman there. I told him that I had teletype experience before joining the Navy, He got excited and helped me to transfer to radioman school in Bainebridge, Maryland where I took (2300 and 2304) communications training. My dad retired a Chief radioman, and my brother, a year younger than me also retired as an HMC. I guess that rates us being a Navy family. Ater my dad retired from the Navy, he worked 27 yrs for the Dept. of Corrections, retiring a Lieutenant. After the Navy I also retired from Dept. of Corrections after 21 yrs, retiring as a Captain. That was also a 20 year retirement system. I still have my original Navy Pea Coat that is still in excellent condition. I still wear it. I found one of my dad’s old dress blue navy caps, still in excellent shape, remember those. I wear it when I wear the Pea Coat. Older sailors see that hat and it really gets me into conversations. No, I don’t take offense to too many things. I’m basically an easy going fella.

  106. RK ALLEMAN says:

    John, let me also add to your few comments addressed to me, and such an honor it is, I occupied a couple-few rides in the BN’s seat on some of those hustle-bustle flights to bird farms, and after seeing a few dozen times “Flight of the Intruder,” something tells me I was flying with the real McCoy. I mean, you talk about pilots with huge, you know, going up against the fighter jocks, do you think there was really a sense of fierce competition with these two distinct jocks berthed on the same ‘farms?’ I got to fly with both sides, being on COM, and really I couldn’t ever tell who among the pilots were the best aviators, though both claim such acclaim suitable to their avian prowess. But I have to say my heart and interest was always for the bubblehead fleet. I think some of those ops I was part of revealed the most fearless of sailors, simply because, well, you know. RK

  107. Les Wallenstien says:

    Hello all, Les here. I think I’m going to bow out as well. I suppose I thought it would be nostalgic to come on here and share my memories with others who might want to honor the memories of the men who died on the Scorpion. I was wrong. It was a circus of egos. After having read through the entire three pages of posts, to see where it went astray, I noticed a trend of arrogance and ego that ultimately spiraled into chaos. Now, I’m not perfect, I’m not some super expert, and beyond my experience with sosus passive sonar equipment, I’m not qualified to offer my opinion as to what data makes more sense. But I can read, and I have excellent comprehension. So I feel I can speak my mind here about my OPINION about where it went wrong on this site. Nobody put these words in my mouth, It’s just my honest impression of the overall mentality present here. Bruce Rule, you have been rude, arrogant, and insulting in the way you have worded your replies here on this site, talking down to people, using phrases like “Sorry you are so uninformed”, “leave so you don’t embarrass yourself” to someone who hasn’t been rude to you at all, as if to call them stupid. Psychology tells us that this is the mark of someone who doubts himself, and taunts others to make himself feel better. You had to have known you were belittling people, and I think you did it on porpose, like you got some pleasure out of it. You act as if you are above reproach. I can’t really tell from his words, but I also can’t help but wonder that if you had been face to face with Vince, you might have been handed some of that reproach. You and John got all flustered by a little girl, enough to threaten her slyly about background checks and what her dad might find being illegal, and they aren’t. My wife does a background check on every babysitter our daughter hires. The BC sites are all over the internet. For $9 to $35, you can get a wealth of info about anybody, and it’s all PUBLIC info. Why did you feel you had to lie to threaten a little girl? Only cowards do that. Not grown professional men. Bruce, maybe you shouldn’t have intruded on questions she asked of someone else, or sent her a massive file she didn’t ask for. An unsolicited file in an email is called spam, Bruce. Then George has to make his sarcastic remarks. Men with your backgrounds and experiance should know how to handle a situation dealing with young people better than this. Do you think you set a good example? Not in the least. I’m just an outsider looking in, don’t know anybody here, and somehow I feel lucky you haven’t insulted me yet. I have no reason to be anything but honest here. Go back and read thru, slowly, the whole thing. You will notice this rude and arrogant trend, and people just don’t respond well to it. Ok, I’m done. I normally don’t care what a bunch of men do, but this time I just felt like giving a third person’s impression of the room. Let’s see who tries to deny, or justify, or possibly, just go on and insult me for this. This will be my last post.

    Good luck gentlemen, and take care.

    To all the gallant men of the world who died under the seas,…fairwinds.

    Les Wallenstien, Whidbey Island Wa.

    • Joanna Mackey says:

      Les, you are right on target. I have watched this unfold, and I thought about writing in with my two cents, but I figured I would be taunted as well. My late husband was a torpedoman’s mate in the Navy aboard the Sperry in May, 1968. He talked years later about the scuttlebutt surrounding the Scorpion, and how he thought something was amiss with the Navy’s story about the torpedo battery problem causing a hot run. He told me that the Scorpion had different batteries in the torpedos by the time it went missing. I thought of saying something in the room, telling of my husband’s experiances, but Bruce was such an ass to everybody, I just went elsewhere. At first I thought it was just a place where people could share their stories and memories, but not if your story didn’t agree with Bruce’s point of view. And the way those guys acted with that young girl. Shameful. Thank you Les, for saying the things that were on all our minds, we who were just along for the nostalga, and to honor the Scorpion crew. God bless them.


      • Bruce Rule says:


        Go up on the SCORPION-99 website and see what the still-living friends and relatives of the SCORPION crew think of the conspiracy theories that
        Collier helped support and Angela is now promoting and my efforts to counter them. What is truly shameful has been these conspiracy for cash novels that denigrate the professional capabilities of the SCORPION crew by claiming they were sunk by either a slow and very noisy Soviet submarine or by a Soviet helicopter that was not operational in May 1968 and, had it been could not have carried a torpedo as heavy as the AT-2. Ask for the SCORPION file via email.

        Bruce Rule

        Bruce Rule

      • Joanna Mackey says:

        Bruce, go back and read post 108 to see what we regular folk think of you.

    • John Wouldridge says:

      Les, You know you are right. Back ground checks can be done if a person or agency is hiring or accepting applications as you said your wife does. No one here on this comment forum, that I know of, has applied, filled out, or submitted an application to anyone for anything. Anyway who threatened Angela? She came in boisterous with her comments and someone replied. She stated that she likes playing “devils advocate.” She also said she debates with her dad and that she wanted to sharpen her debating skills. When you throw a comment out there, someone is going to challenge it. You should be able to take their challenge. Your comment, her comment, anybody elses comment, and my comments were mostly opinions, although some were facts. If someone challenges your comment, then you answer it. These things, in most cases, become debates. If her feelings were hurt by something I said, I apologize. But we’re sailors, at least I think most of us are, and that is what sailors do at times, debate. Then “weigh anchor” Les.

  108. George Hubbard says:

    Thank you for your understanding. An insult was never intended. As you have recognized, there is a subterfuge in progress. Enough said.
    Best wishes !!

    • John Wouldridge says:

      You know, background checks can be done if a person is HIRING someone or accepting an application as you said your wife does/did. In that sense you are right. No one here has applied for or filled out any application for anything with anyone here. Who threatened her?

    • John Wouldridge says:

      George, I never felt as though I was insulted at anytime. It was all in good fun and sometimes things can get a little heated. This is a comment forum. Comments will be challenged, that is how people learn about a topic. If anyone thought that their comments would not be scrutinized or challenged, then they entered the wrong arena. They need to go back to whence they came, if they’re feelings were unintentionally hurt. You’re good with me George.

  109. RK ALLEMAN says:

    Certainly not me, John, and so far as I know my Homeland Security clearance is still intact. Sure has turned into quite the drama and trauma soap opera on this site, indeed.


    • John Wouldridge says:

      RK, One more bit on that drama. They (Vince, Les, her dad-whomever he may really be, her brother, and quite possibly anyone else), should not of egged and coached her along. They wanted to title someone else cowards? They saw the attitude and temperature of the comments. That happens when they develop into debates. No one was impressed by that. It was quite idiotic, for them to think that no one was going to respond to what is said/appears to be the real words of a 17 or 18 year old “little girl.” Why did they, or whoever, egged or allowed that to sail into this comment arena and fire blanks and think that no one was going to fire back. And then the remarks about back ground checks, I still don’t know the logic behind that one, come on. I was not intimidated by that. Myself and some others are sailors and we have barnacles. Debating is what we do. If she, or they did not like the degree of the way the debate was going, then they should not have entered the way they did or say anything at all. They had a choice. I was suspicious all along. Those remarks did not convince me that they were hers anyway. Sounded like a bunch of men hiding behind a skirt. Those are the cowards. I’m glad they weighed anchor and got out of port. Sorry for all this, I could go on and on. Don’t care what anyone thinks and I definitely will not lose sleep over it. Why should anyone change the direction and attitude because of who it appears to have come along. Once again RK, and anyone else, I extend my apology. Yes, I believe your Homeland Security clearance is still and always will be intact. And, by the way, I have an aunt that lives in “Sin City,” we’ll have to talk about it some more.

  110. RK ALLEMAN says:

    John, et al., amen and a-women, given your latest remarks. I can hardly wait to get back to nominal replies. Hell, I’m thinking of being a scientist on acoustics and such. Uh, just kidding. But I am serious about making arrangements to get us all together via a friend of mine who owns a very top-notch Vegas tourism enterprise. I hate the town, but love the guy who runs his business there, you know, bon amies, and what a gathering of minds it could be to meet some of you in that place, Sin City. You know, as a symposium. RK

  111. Dennis Mosebey says:

    Yes, Angela, Mr. Rule is very much the genuine article. I never heard back from you as to the impressions you father had of the actual pictures and as to where any torpedo damage was showing?

    I am also somewhat disappointed as I thought you were in this for the long haul rather than what we call in sub vernacular a snap shot.

    I hope you will not be offended, but I do not agree with your debate coach’s score, and no I do not have any credentials as a debate coach. But to be truly prepared to debate the Scorpion as well as reading Offley and Sewell, you must read Silent Steel and you need to read Bruce’s paper cover to cover, then you can debate.

    As to those who worry about how we offend each other, or how we treated you, well that is fine, but Steve Johnson told me before I went on the Scorpion Yahoo Site, “now I warn you this is wild and woolly at times–and so it was. But I am proud to stay I stuck it out, I did not do a snap shot. Hey I am here, I proved my point, my coach says I won, and now I am leaving–bye bye.

    Wish you well but am disappointed you did not hang in. Bruce has! On his own time, and I bet if we really could probe more we would find out that ONI is none too happy with this work he has done. Whether you like his approach or not—he HAS earned your respect!

    See ya Later down the road You ended your final message with Hookem Horns. Well you have indeed been hooked, line, and sinker.

    Dennis Mosebey

  112. Bruce Rule says:

    An expanded discussion of Posting 101.1 and a further response to Joanne Mackey Posting 108.1

    To summarize – and perhaps repeat, your anger should be directed against those who write or support, either through ignorance or intent, the SCORPION conspiracy novels that are a disservice to those lost and their still-living relatives and friends. Again, go up on the SCORPION-99 website and you may begin to understand why it is so important to expose these books for what they are: complete fabrications.

    Had the authors of these conspiracy books done even a modicum of research and interviewed multiple sources, they would have realized their wild conjectures about Soviet involvement could not be supported by information the Navy released as long ago as 1993.

    When Vince Collier came up on this site, my posted response was that I was “extremely pleased” because I thought it might be possible to understand how the infamous ASW Training School tape was created. Well, Collier has unintentionally provided that information by reportedly describing a “bathtub” acoustic signature effect – more properly known as Lloyd’s Mirror (Goggle Lloyd’s mirror acoustics), a multi-signal-path phenomenon rarely detected by SOSUS hydrophone arrays and then only at very short ranges (<10 nautical miles) – NOT at the almost 1000 nautical mile distance that separated the SCORPION wreck-site from the nearest SOSUS array in the Western Atlantic. (There were no SOSUS arrays east of the mid-Atlantic Ridge in 1968, only the single hydrophones at the Canary Island site and a few single phones elsewhere.).

    Collier has unintentionally proven the ASW Training School tape was a composite of several different detection events with at least the SCORPION detection made at very close range, probably by an air-dropped acoustic sensor (a sonobuoy) at some time before – possibly many months before – 22 May 1968. Sonobuoys dropped within less than one-thousand yards of submerged nuclear submarine are the almost exclusive source of Lloyd’s Mirror detections, i.e., complete “bathtubs.”

    Bottom line: If what Angela discussed in Posting 101 represents what Collier actually said about a ”bathtub” acoustic effect being associated with the SCORPION detection is accurate, then the tape played for Collier at the ASW Training School in Norfolk, VA in 1982 did not record a real event. It had to have been a composite tape because the SCORPION detection could NOT have been a long-range SOSUS detection which, I believe, is the claim made by Collier and the claim upon which the entire conspiracy theory that the Soviets sank SCORPION is based.

    There will always be those who continue to believe conspiracy theories regardless of information that establishes they are baseless conjectures. Sadly, such appears to be case with the loss of SCORPION on 22 May 1968. That’s all from this end.

    Bruce Rule

  113. Joanna Mackey says:

    I just flat don’t believe you. For all I know, you are bending the facts to suit your point. Seems I’m not alone to think that either. I have no experience with this techical stuff, but perfectly credible people who aren’t trying so hard to ‘buldoze” or bully people into submission have illuminated you as someone who would stop at nothing to be precieved as “Bruce Almighty” where this topic is concerned. Your credibility precedes you. I have read enough here to know that you have twisted small things here and there, even something small, like not owning up to the fact that you have been an ass to people here on this site, not offering an appology(a bigger man would have) even though you KNOW we can ALL see it. Your credibility is questionable as to whether or not you would twist subtle facts just to appear “the correct one”. You aren’t here to honor the fallen, you are here to blow your own horn.


    • Bruce Rule says:

      I should apologize to someone who threatened physical violence?

      I should apologize to someone who claims my background is a lie?

      I should apologize to someone who, wittingly or unwittingly, supported
      a book that exploited death for profit?

      This site has better purposes than continued acrimonious exchanges.
      The point has been made about the credibility of the infamous tape.

  114. RK ALLEMAN says:

    Dennis, given your suggestions to Angela, and anyone else, to read “Silent Steel,” I quite agree. This is a fascinating read and the man writes with integrity, has integrity. If you or anyone can get me the man’s email I would love to tell him this same thing. The way he has handled this delicate matter and weaved in and out of the scientific data and worked and reworked the facts, including the speculative, is admirable. He doesn’t write like any reporter I’ve ever read, and writes more like what this book presents: an author with taste and a great deal of common sense. I also think his story rings more truth out of the mystery than anything else. There are just some things about life we’re going to never know, these mysteries, and maybe there’s a lesson in that for all of us to sit with and meditate upon. This not say I have not also enjoyed reading all of the factual stuff some of the writers on this site have presented. I’m sorry to say that it’s too bad polemics broke up and some people got their feelings hurt, which is all the more reason John and I should push forward on a meeting of minds some day, out there in la-la land, Vegas. Personally, I hate the place, but I have a good friend in the tourism business who can put us up for cheap. Anyway, thanks to you, too, Dennis, for your ongoing contributions to this site. RK

  115. RK ALLEMAN says:

    On Jo’s reply to Bruce. . .whoa. Now we’re getting into the ring with strong language and is this really necessary? Seems to me everyone thus far has presented his or her case based on sound experience. We may twist the context of our favored theories, empirically based or otherwise, but I can’t think people would deliberate create stuff just for the sake of building an argument. Even Dr. Craven admitted (in later years) he was merely proposing a theory he thought was credible, which I and many others never bought even then, but that’s not to say the man was a prevaricator, anymore than one can say Bruce is acting under similar faults. Anyway, I sure wish people could get along better on this site. Let’s just build arguments and state what we know and stop all the accusatory stuff that borders on defamation of character. And is this new contributor, JO, also a suspected gadfly and polemicist standing in the ring with many others? Anyway, let’s learn to disagree and play better with one another. There is, after all, a sacrosanct connection that binds all of us – the 99 who are eternal patrol. RK

    • John Wouldridge says:

      I agree RK, Our Submarines and their crews, Our Surface Forces, ASW Forces, Carrier Battle Groups, Surface to Air, Air to Air, Amphibious Forces, Underway Replenishment, etc., all second to none. They train with and against each other to be the best in the world.

  116. Dennis Mosebey says:

    To RK Allerman

    RK I do not want to publish Steve’s E Mail on the site but if you will
    contact me at, I will send you his E Mail. A personal
    note, right after I read the book I sent Steve an E Mail commending him on
    it. Well I went away for a few days on a company trip and when I came back
    my wife gave me a message that a Steve Johnson had called and left a number
    to call him back at. I called and we talked about an hour on the phone. He
    is a first rate gentleman and much of his book is based on detailed study of
    actual boat records he got from FOIA requests. He and Bruce Rule are both
    men of great integrity. One has only to read Steve’s book and you see a boat
    that was a can do boat with a can do crew and due to cold war pressures was
    deployed one time too often. It was Steve who first told me about the
    Scorpion Yahoo Web Site run by Dr. Bill Corcoran and on that site there are
    probably over 10000 or so entries. I only participated for the past year or
    so but these guys were diligently working for two or more. It is as far as I
    am concerned the definitive site for Scorpion investigation and discussion,
    though I will not kid you, if you think the History page is wild and wooly
    at times you have not seen anything until you go to that site. Kindest

    I still await Angela’s reply but since she declared her debate victory I
    believe she signed off. Oh well it is her loss. Dennis Mosebey

  117. Gerald Swick says:

    HistoryNet welcomes lively debate on the articles posted here, but please refrain from personal attacks. They have no place in a reasoned discussion. – HistoryNet editor.

  118. RK ALLEMAN says:

    John, Amen and A-women to your comment about our forces being the best of the best. Even when the Ruskies could drive (crazily) those Alpha boats at extreme depths and at high (reckless) rates of speed, I remember being part of a note-taking session with Admiral Weakley, one of my bosses of ASW (at the time), Tom Moore, the CNO, and a couple other omelet stained hats, with the topic being those fast, deep boats. My admiral said, “Yeah, they may be fast and deep but they have to come out of those depths sooner or later and we get them every time. And you know something, in my day we had a mock kill rate of about 98% perhaps a tad higher. I imagine today’s sub and surface vessel crews are just as good. Go Navy! RK

    • John Wouldridge says:

      RK Those Alpha boats were very fast and their titanium hulls allowed them to go very deep. They were not hard to track with all the noise they would make at speed. Russia did not have that many of them as it was, maybe a half dozen. There is a reason why they were not mass produced. They did not always run deep, unless we were tracking them with ASW units. Look at the Jack ssn-605, the only nuclear submarine that we had that had counter-rotating propellers. We were looking for more speed. That boat took seven years to be commissioned. Poor performance was the problem and too noisy with that screw set up. Counter rotating propellers worked very well on Albacore AGSS-569 which was due to hull design. The Albacore performed outstanding, but she did not have torpedo tubes. Primarily a test bed. Her length to width ratio was about equal to Skipjack, which probably was the class boat that counter rotating propellers system should have been empolyed on., but was given no more than consideration.

      • John Wouldridge says:

        RK I also meant to say in the above that the Jack-ssn-605 was a Thresher/Permit class boat which had a longer length to width ratio which is why she did not perform well with that counter rotating prop system which is why we never tried it on any other boats after that.

  119. RK ALLEMAN says:

    Well, to the editor of this site. . .it’s about time we had a referee. Awful lot of great minds working these replies and I hate to see some of these folks go by the wayside. . .that blitzkrieg of taunts and such. Thanks for the heads up on the matter, Gerald. RK

    • John Wouldridge says:

      RK, are you catching the news today? US Naval ships and submarines launched about 120 tomahawk cruise missiles at Libya. I just got home from being out all day. I’ll be glued to the television. The world’s greatest naval fleet conducting surgical strikes to ground/destroy Libya’s air defenses. My adrenaline is really flowing now.

  120. RK ALLEMAN says:

    John, thanks for your last posting about that fast-running, deep-diving Alfas, which turns out they really weren’t so hot. Well, considering we were damn sure better, especially the best ASW forces going. I also think our crews were never tipsy, and I can’t say that for Ruskies and their love of vodka, whether flying or on or under the water. By the way, I finally read Messrs. Sewell and Preisler’s “All Hands Down.” It was a good read, and informative and light in reading even most non submarine types could grasp the narrative. I also liked the human touch, their adding the stories of the crew (some of the crew) and their families. However, toward the end where they pulled this magic bullet of an ASW torpedo out of the air, literally, and which caused, they claimed, the sinking and loss of the Scorpion, well, I wasn’t reading earlier commentaries on this site about that book, though I’m thinking some of the people writing on this site may feel as I do. Namely, how bogus. It’s just not possible America would have stood for some stupid vendetta that ended up taking out the Scorpion. I also resent how Capt. Slattery is made to look like an addled schoolboy trying to outrun the alleged fatal bullet (the ASW torp.). As I said before on this site, getting to see most of the pictures of the Scorpion’s aftermath that most people never saw simply flies in the face of such an incident launched by a Soviet helicopter. Why the Navy Department, et al., continues to keep so much of this matter TS probably has more to do with legality, possibly even post mortem misgivings, and not collusion between our government and theirs. Anyway, sorry to have wandered off like that, I mean, my digression. Thanks, again, for your replies and the continued information you send about all sorts of other stuff off the Scorpion incident’s grid, as it were. RK

    • John Wouldridge says:

      RK, There are always going to be those that will always believe the ASW torpedo theory. Whether it was dropped from an ASW helo, or by some Russian submarine. Before the helo dropped the torpedo, what aided it in finding and tracking the Scorpion, a Russian destroyer or did the helo use their version of sono-buoys, if the Russians had those then? The Russians were trying to capture sonobuoys whenever we would use them. Their boats were known to surface and try to recover them. Then you have to consider those that critique Cmdr Slattery and Scorpion’s crew. Submarine Captain’s are picked based on their ability to command. We just don’t put anybody in command of our boats. When he was chosen to command, he had proven his worth. We were trying to put the best sailors on those boats. In 1954, when Admiral Rickover placed Cmdr Wilkinson in command of the USS Nautilus, Captain Edward L. Beach was hurt. He thought that he should have been chosen for that command. Admiral Rickover had other plans for Beach. He gave Captain Beach the USS Triton ssrn-586. On Feb 16, 1960, the Triton commanded by Capt Beach backed out EB’s piers into the Thames River and headed south on a submerged circumnavigation of the world. They returned to New London’s state pier on May 10, 1960. Beach commanded the Triton until 1961. Capt. Edward L. Beach was a proven Captain. He was a four striper when he was assigned the Triton. Very few submarine commanders were four stripers when chosen. I don’t mind to wander of either, but I could go on.

      • John Wouldridge says:

        RKI, One more thing. Do the following. Search for uss triton ssn-586. Then click on to the “Triton Home Page.” Then click on the “Crew Page.” Then lastly, click on the “Pic of the Week.”

  121. RK ALLEMAN says:

    John, it took me a while to find you, but with that smile it wasn’t hard to do it. I saw a Buick Roadmaster in the background, I think a late 50s model, and was that a RI license plate you and your pal were leaning against, the car? I, myself, never made a ’round-the-worlder, but obviously you did. I had too many TAD boats to serve on, but some of you boys were just meant to wander. Thanks for sending the photo link stuff. I’ll respond to the other and longer email in a bit. RK

    • John Wouldridge says:

      RK, 1957 Cadillac convertible. It belonged to Almeida. I believed those were Rhode Island tags on it.

  122. Bruce Rule says:

    Those on this site who have read my review of RED NOVEMBER by Craig Reed may be surprised that the following accommodation has been reached with the Craig Reed (and his publisher) who will no longer subscribe the Ed Offley’s wild and irresponsible conjecture about Soviet involvement in the loss of SCORPION:

    Red November Trade Paperback Corrections: Pg 213 & 214:
    replace last para on pg 213 and first two para on 214 with:

    Why was the USS Scorpion lost in the east central Atlantic on May 22, 1968?

    A former navy analyst, who in 2003 wrote the official navy assessment of the characteristics of submarine collapse events, provided a detailed reanalysis of the original acoustic detections to the Director of Naval Intelligence in a letter dated 6 August 2010.

    The information in the letter became publicly available four months
    after the first printing of Red November, and reexamines acoustic evidence along with metallurgical testing data (completed in 1970) of a battery component recovered from the Scorpion debris field.

    This reanalysis confirms that the initiating events responsible for the loss of Scorpion consisted of two explosions that occurred one-half second apart at 18:20:44Z, and were contained within the submarine’s pressure-hull.

    The explosions were produced by the ignition of hydrogen out-gassed by the TLX-53-A main storagebattery, and delivered an energy yield of not more than twenty pounds of TNT each. These devastating blasts would have made it impossible for the Scorpion’screw to maintain depth-control, and within one-tenth of a second, at adepth of 1530 feet, the submarine’s hull collapsed at

    Imagery of the Scorpion hull sections, combined with acoustic and other data examined by experts, now confirm that there were no explosions external to the pressure-hull from a torpedo or any other source.

    In light of this new evidence, conjectures that Soviet forces caused the demise of the USSScorpion no longer hold water, and perhaps the families of those brave men can finally have some closure.

    • Vernon Nease says:

      Mr. Rule,
      I think I left my first reply with another person….OOPS

      I have never been in the service but I do remember all headlines about USS Thresher, however, it seems that that I dont remember as much about the USS Scorpion (Iguess the MLKjr. Robert Kennedy deaths and the Veit-nam stuff over shadowed it’s demise and thats what I’m writing you about.
      Yesterday, my son asked me about Scorpion (much to my amazment) and what I thought happened to her. (this would not be unusual except for his YOUNG age) I do not know where he found the material to ask the question.
      I guess what i’m trying to say is this. I would like to have a copy of your USS Scorpion material that was brought up in the discussions here in order to give my son what I believe to be the best answer available.


      Vernon Nease (

  123. RK ALLEMAN says:

    Bruce, to your latest contribution to this matter of intrigue, thanks. I think both writers who propose the Soviet-made decision to torpedo the Scorpion are absolutely hype and irresponsible, and certainly pejorative considering what the intent means to both the United States Navy and the political stance of the government at the time. I think Sewell’s remarks to a point (given his well written text) are pertinent, yet his inference of the Walker espionage infusion into the text, and that utterly ridiculous launch of an ASW torpedo that crucified Cdmr Slattery’s boat and crew. . .I guess it’s more the stuff of Hollywierd’s proclivity to create a screenplay and garner an audience for an action-adventure BS movie to sell to the public. But your latest remarks restores the balance concerning fantasy and fact. That being said, I am still contesting the fact the Ruskies were not indirectly involved in this incident, that is, their interference in the Scorpions ops does, in fact, play a role. They may not have intentionally wanted to risk WW III by sinking the Scorpion, but there was foul play in the matter, again, without intention of destroying the Scorpion. All the evidence amassed, which you have meticulously presented, is just her part in what happened to the final moments of the Scorpion’s life. There is other information withheld from you and others, simply because that’s how the government prefers to act in such matters of intrigue. In short, the U. S. Navy Department still owes the rest of us a final and conclusive report on the matter. We know the secondary cause of her sinking. It’s what led up to the incident that haunts some interests. I plead the 5th. RK

    • George Hubbard says:

      Most interesting !! It bears similarities to the collapse theories that i had been batting around.
      Here is a question that I have: If after the first two cells exploded, is it likely /possible that followon explosions were not detected because the battery well was no longer intact ?
      I recently learned of the Guitarro battery fire. That certainly sounds like an internal short. That is the first internal short in a submarine battery that I had heard of. That certainly opens other thoughts on the initiating event.

    • John Wouldridge says:

      Bruce, I do remember some tests that were done on tanks and drums that were lowered to certain depths in the ocean. There were even pictures that were released. I believe it may have been featured in Proceedings magazine, but I can’t be certain. I know that it was not recently. Years ago. I still have Proceedings magazines back to thirty or forty years ago. It would be too tedious for me to look for that.

    • John Wouldridge says:

      Bruce, I do remember of some underwater pressure test that were conducted on tanks and drums that were lowered to a certain depth. There were even pictures that showed the result of water pressure on them. I believe that Proceedings magazine contained that article, not sure though. Maybe 30 or 40 years ago. Not sure exactly when. It would be too tedious for me to find that issue in the dozens of boxes.

  124. Greg Roberts says:

    I was a CYN3 on Vice Admiral John S. McCain’s staff when he was Commander, Eastern Sea Frontier. Our ComCen handled a lot of sensitive traffic but my clearance was Top Secret, not Crypto. Those bells (flash message) rang like crazy for a couple of days after the Scorpion disappeared but I never did hear anything official.

    All these years, I’ve wondered what happened and whether or not her nuclear material posed a threat to the environment today. I decided to Google and I’m glad I did. You folks, while disagreeing over the cause of her loss, provide a lot of food for thought.

    At this late date (forty two years later) I have to wonder why anything about the Scorpion would still have to be classified as a threat to national security. But then, I’m not convinced Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone either.

    Thanks for all your research and willingness to share.

  125. Terry Terrass says:


    This posting results primarily from a number of postings relative to the loss of USS SCORPION and possible reasons for its loss and, in particular, those from Bruce Rule and George Hubbard. I think that their views relative to the loss of SCORPION as a result of battery explosion have a high probability of being WHAT actually happened. Now we need the WHY.

    Since my qualifications to comment were included in my earlier posting relative to THRESHER, I will not repeat them here except to expand a bit on why I think that my comments related to the loss of USS COCHINO (SS 345) on 25 August 1949 may provide clues which could perhaps explain a battery explosion in SCORPION. Besides being on deck and tending the “plank” on which COCHINO personnel crossed to TUSK (SS 426), all officers on Guppys needed to implement the subsequent instructions intended to prevent a repetition of the COCHINO disaster and to be on the lookout for possible battery and electrical problems.,

    For those who are not familiar with the COCHINO story I recommend reading Chapter 1 (A Deadly Beginning) of “Blindman’s Bluff::The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage”. Even though, as might be expected, it has a lot of what can be considered over-dramatization, it basically describes what happened but not really the why. I know that the authors (both born after the loss) interviewed at least several COCHINO crewmen as well as at least one TUSK crewman. There was another book published, “The Last Cruise” (no longer in print) by William J. Lederer which was an expanded version of what had earlier been published in the Saturday Evening Post as “Miracle Under the Arctic Sea. At the time Lederer was a Commander in the Navy and was able to personally interview a number of the survivors shortly after they reached New London on the TUSK. His account was also somewhat dramatized. Sometime after he retired he was the co-author of the book “The Ugly American”.

    The Blindman’s Bluff account had several points worthy of note:
    1. The plank on which men crossed to TUSK was tied to the COCHINO while the line tied to our end was tended by several of our crew to hold it up when the ships rolled apart and let it down when it could rest on our deck and support the weight of the crossing personnel. After Captain Benitez had crossed we merely let go our line and the plank dropped and went down still tied to the COCHINO: it did not shatter.
    2. The book notes that TUSK pumped more than 16,000 gallons of diesel overboard in an effort to calm the waves. We saw that it did not work and afterwards found out that to calm waves it is necessary to use vegetable oil. The diesel oil made our deck very slippery which became very much of a concern for me for the fear that our personnel might not be able to stop the people running across the plank before they slipped on the deck and fell off the other side. Luckily this did not happen.
    3. The book indicates that some of the injured were left in a hospital in Hammerfest. This was not the case. After the arrival of a Navy doctor flown up from Oslo, TUSK sailed to Tromso where there was a hospital. The doctor noted that the two corpsmen did an outstanding job of caring for the injured, especially including the severely burned
    XO, LCDR Wright.
    4. TUSK came back to New London with 144 people on board. And the arrival in New London was really noteworthy – it was the only time in my career that I ever saw them make a New Haven train stop and wait while keeping the drawbridge open for us to pass through on our way to the base.
    5. This event led, at the recommendation of the TUSK CO, to the safety track still in use on submarines.

    Extension of George Hubbard Loss Analysis

    George, in his posting #20 at 12/4/2010 at 10:35 am, described a number of possible causes for the loss of SCORPION including slow flooding, medium speed flooding, and rapid flooding as well a variety of causes related to charging of the main battery. It is a good and comprehensive compilation but it has one very significant omission – leaks.
    An initial reaction might be that this term is merely a semantic variation on “slow flooding”. To explain why this is NOT the case, first consider the story of how, during an NR/ORSE board examination on LINCOLN, one of my “nuc’s responded to a question about the difference between a leak and flooding. Our emergency procedures made a distinction relative to reporting and/or taking action and, although I do not remember exactly how, defined the difference. The examiner and I both considered the nuc’s answer perfect: “If I find it, it is a leak; if it finds me, its flooding.”

    The trigger for the battery explosions which caused the loss of USS COCHINO (SS 345) was a leak, not even slow flooding. That this was the case was not known by anyone, either on board or on the subsequent Board of Inquiry, until several months after her loss when a sister ship, also an EB Guppy II, USS DOGFISH (SS 350), experienced the same problem but, knowing the COCHINO story, responded correctly and quickly thereby averting disaster.

    The root cause of the casualty was water leaking into the after series-parallel switch enclosure in the port after corner of the Crew’s Berthing area in the After Battery compartment. (Guppy II’s had four 126 cell batteries, two forward and two aft. Normally all four batteries were connected in parallel and provided a nominal 250 volts to the motor buses but, when high speed was desired, they could be switched to make two sets of two batteries each in series and the two sets in parallel to provide 500 volts.

    I know essentially nothing firsthand about SCORPION’S configuration, battery, or electrical system but think that the following thoughts specifically about COCHINO’s after battery series-parallel switch are worthy of more general consideration for most submarine electrical components. Design limitations led to the switch being located in the waterway in the after port corner of crew’s berthing. Given that mixing water and electricity can lead to disaster the design of the series-parallel switch needed to provide for a watertight enclosure with the accesses into the switch likewise being watertight. But even proper design, by itself, is not sufficient. It is just as important to insure that maintenance activities do not jeopardize the watertight integrity. I do not know the specifics of the EB design of the enclosure since ours in TUSK was somewhat different and appeared to be satisfactory. So far as I know no design changes were necessary for DOGFISH which would imply that careful performance of maintenance was sufficient to preclude further problems.

    Operator Vigilance and Performance
    The above account relating specifically to COCHINO highlights not only the importance of good design but also that the ship operators and maintenance personnel have a vital role in achieving safety. This role includes not only their own performance but also recognizing and challenging inadequate design and deficient workmanship, be it by shipyard or tender personnel or by inexperienced members of own ship’s crew. The following items from my own experiences relate, in various ways, to crew awareness
    situations as well as to specific material items which might help explain the loss of SCORPION. I have sequenced the items in the order of the ships on which I served.

    Maintainance Errors
    At the end of WW II, CAVALLA was placed in the reserve fleet with the intent that it could be reactivated and be ready for active service within 30 days. She got a new battery but one without the electrolyte. In addition a number of routine maintenance items were undertaken. As might be expected at the end of a long and arduous but victorious war, there appeared to be a general skepticism that reactivation would ever be required and so we were not surprised to discover a memo from the decommissioning CO indicating, in effect, that the crew needed to shape up and get with the program. I think that we met the 30 days specification but not without several significant problems. The battery fill went OK with no “leakers” and the first charge was completed successfully. Doing that, however, resulted in burning more lube oil than fuel oil. The wrong size piston rings had been installed when the engines had been overhauled. With GM engines it did not take long to get the engines ready for its second battery charge. I had the duty that night and was notified when the battery ventilation lineup was ready to be checked. Starting forward all was well until getting to the after battery exhaust blower. There, following what I had been taught, I watched it while having Maneuvering change its speed and came to the conclusion that it was running backward. The electrician accompanying me disagreed and noted that it had to be OK since we had already had a battery charge. He did not convince me but, knowing that I would get a definitive test when reaching Maneuvering, we continued aft verifying that the lineup was OK. There, again following what I had been taught, I had them increase the speed of the battery exhaust blower while watching the battery air flow meter. For the forward battery the meter increased as expected but for the after battery the flow decreased, again as I had expected. That convinced the electrician and, in short order, he had corrected the wiring connection and, after rechecking the lineup, we started and successfully completed the charge.

    Finding that wiring problem was much easier than finally discovering that wiring in the SJ radar antenna to the lobe switching mechanism had been reversed.

    Power of a Battery Short Circuit
    While in the process of completing its conversion into a Guppy IIA at Electric Boat, ENTEMEDOR (SS 340) got selected, probably because of its convenient availability, to conduct a battery breaker test. As I remember our battery breakers were a new model which needed to be certified per a BuShips requirement, by an actual test, while installed in a submarine, that it could successfully interrupt a short circuit (50,000 amps as I remember) within the specified milli-second time. To conduct the test EB rigged heavy electric cables from the battery breaker, up thru the forward battery well access, forward past the wardroom, into the forward room escape trunk, and up to a dockside circuit breaker and water resistance box. I think that the measuring device was also located on the dock. I watched the event from the wardroom and saw the very heavy cables jump up about 6 to 8 inches. Our battery breaker met the specs and, for me, it was a very impressive display of the power of a short circuit in a 250 volt circuit.

    Build to the Design #1
    On the second sea trial I was the officer checking the “Rig for Dive” in the forward room. To check the escape trunk I did not bother to take the list up with me as the piping there was simple and I thought that all fleet boats were the same. The lineup looked wrong to me so with the forward room watch we checked it against the “Rig for Dive” bill. The line up matched the bill but it did not make sense. Checking further we discovered that the piping did NOT match the standard arrangement. The Ship Superintendent had trouble accepting my view that the piping was not what it should have been but the blueprints needed to resolve the matter were not on board. Since the error did not affect our watertight integrity we deferred resolution of the problem to our return to EB and continued the sea trial. On return to port a check of the print showed that the piping was NOT per the plan and that I was correct. The piping was corrected which ended the matter. Thinking about matter now makes me wonder why the piping had not been correct. There was no reason that the piping in the escape trunk should have been altered incident to the Guppy IIA conversion so was it possible that the error had existed since the ship was first commissioned on 6 April 1945?

    Completing a Design
    Although it was not expressed in those terms, the ENETEMEDOR conversion was terminated, not completed. Certain hardware items needed to meet the design requirements would not become available until sometime after we had left the yard. One of the needs was the overspeed trips for our three (or 4?) new IC MG sets, our source for AC power in the ship. The other items were modifications to the controllers in the Main Propulsion Cubicle. I was not the Engineer at the time and do not know who made the decisions that we could operate until the needed items became available. I am not sure that it would have changed anything if we had tried to object and, so far as I remember, none of us had any compelling basis for objecting. It was not until some months after starting to operate, that it became all too evident that it was a poor decision. By that time we had completed a spring Caribbean Springboard deployment and were on a HUK cruise to Ireland, UK, and the Med. Because of problems with their controls and in several separate incidents all but one of the IC MG sets oversped and were out of commission until we got back to New London. This resulted in our having to have a surface craft escort until we reached the U.S. Having been the Chief Engineer for only several weeks, it was not an enviable situation for me.

    While still in the Med we started having battery ground problems to the extent that we could not maintain the 50 K ohms to ground required to conduct a battery charge.
    To make that problem worse the missing Main Propulsion Cubicle components made it necessary to come to all stop in order to locate where the ground was. And doing that was complicated by having to coordinate with the escort. The ground problem seemed to be temperature related but we had to complete the trip using a series of partial battery charges. See the next “Hidden Ground” section for the rest of ground story.

    “Hidden Ground” Problem

    Once in the upkeep period we got the replacement IC MG sets – and their overspeed trips – and, if I remember correctly, a modification to make their control system reliable.
    Likewise we got the components needed to correct the Main Propulsion Cubicle limitations. Even with this, however, the battery ground problem remained an intermittent one and despite very extensive and persistent efforts we were still unsuccessful in determining its’ cause. Our only clue was still that it was somehow temperature sensitive.

    Finally, in early September, after several weeks of Ops we finally got our break even though it was not immediately welcomed as it started with the word “Fire in Maneuvering”. We were coming in thru Block Island Sound where, luckily we were able to stop. It took a little time for the smoke to die out in Maneuvering but when it did we could see where electricity had broken thru the insulation in a cable passing forward over the top of the Cubicle. I do not remember any details but we regained propulsion and tied up at State Pier. As I remember my first action was to see the Squadron TEN Engineer, show him the damaged cable, and proceed to interface with the tender to get repairs started. I do not remember much of what followed because of getting a quick interview with Rickover , getting orders to the Nuc Program as Jimmy Carter’s numerical replacement in the SEAWOLF (SSN 575) program, and getting relieved as Engineer. I do remember hearing that there had been a kink in a conductor in the cable during its manufacture which had, in effect, reduced the thickness of the insulation between the conductor and the grounded cable armor.

    Build to the Design #2
    ABRAHAM LINCOLN (SSBN 602) was built at Portsmouth and commissioned on 11 March 1961. Near the end of its fifth patrol (Blue #3) we snorkeled, perhaps to ventilate while doing a bit of touchup painting but more likely just for the practice. Just as we were shutting down after about 20 minutes we had some inconclusive evidence of water carryover from the intake plenum into the fan room. On our next patrol we explored the matter further by snorkelling for about 30 minutes and confirmed that we definitely had some kind of problem even if we could not figure out why. That became a work item for the tender and the Gold crew. In the plenum there was a vertical baffle plate so that the entering air from the snorkel induction valve came into the forward portion of the plenum at the top, passed down to the bottom of the vertical baffle, turned aft and then up the after section of the plenum and, upon reaching the top, passed into the fan room. Several inches below the bottom of the vertical baffle there was a horizontal baffle plate with holes. Its purpose was to eliminate, or at least reduce, any waves of water which would cause water to be entrained into the air passing upwards in the plenum. The holes were to allow any water coming in to flow into the drain area below the horizontal baffle.

    What they discovered was that the holes in the horizontal baffle plate shown on the blueprint had not been made. It appeared that the only way that water could drain from the plenum was to pass through cracks in the welds holding the horizontal baffle plate in place. Because the cracks were small the water could not drain very fast which explained why we could only snorkel for a very limited time. When the water level reached the bottom edge of the vertical baffle plate there would be excessive water carryover into the fan room. After the holes were made as shown on the plans there were no further problems.

    Bottomline Thoughts
    An ancient Greek quote was “The price of safe navigation is eternal vigilance”. That same idea is just as applicable to safe submarine operation. Notwithstanding their validity, however, luck is an inescapable portion of any evolution which contains inherent risks.

    There are two factors which make on-going vigilance so important :
    1. It sometimes takes quite a while for problems to become apparent.
    2.The consequences of a problem may depend upon a variety of
    circumstances for which the consequences may or may not be foreseeable

    The COCHINO problem was a prime example!

    SCORPION Conclusions
    What caused the battery to explode? How come she was able to drift down for 22 minutes until imploding at crush depth?

    From the acoustic data available, together with the analysis of the battery debris, there should be little, if any, doubt that an explosion of cells in the battery caused the loss of the ship.

    It is a little harder to accept that the crew was practically totally incapacitated instantaneously or nearly so but certainly this is a viable possibility when one considers:
    (a) Both the battery and ship control personnel were in the Operations Compartment.
    (b) Prior battery/hydrogen explosions (e.g. POMODON, COCHINO) showed that they could be very violent.

    Determining what caused the battery to explode is a much more difficult matter. To do so it is necessary to determine not only what the triggering event may have been but also under what set of circumstances it could have caused the explosion. Given the realities any answer can be no more than conjecture but with the right rationale based upon comparable circumstances as advanced by an experienced person an answer, not definitive but one which could gain a consensual agreement, could emerge. This type of answer might well come from someone reflecting on prior “near miss” situations.

    Although it is certainly possible for there to have been other possibilities, past experience in battery explosion accidents would indicate that the most likely causes would be:
    (a) Excessive hydrogen accumulation, either caused by or combined with inadequate battery ventilation, and some type of ignition, or
    (b) A short circuit, most likely caused by conductive water reaching electrical components, causing and igniting a hydrogen accumulation.

    Whatever the cause, the follow-on question is why the crew did not notice and avert the causative conditions. Was it noticed at all? Was it noticed but ignored? Was it noticed but not in time for corrective action to be taken? Unlike the “cause” question, this is an easier one to answer since, based on probabilities, it is likely that problem was not noticed at all.

    It is to be hoped that some experienced person following this blog will come up with a satisfying answer.

    Terry Terrass

    • George Hubbard says:

      Mr. Terrass
      You are correct my discussion of water entry was limited. This was tied to several things. A: Most on this blog were unfamiliar with the Navy’s attempt to define … leak versus flooding ( and a clear line does not exist even thouigh a ” new ” definition exists. ) B: Here I’m assuming seawater entry. Seawater has multiple effects. At the time I was unclear but I was more generally addressing the trim effects and making a ” control condition ” that the seawater entry did not have severe effects outside a trim effect.. C: Location and severity of the seawater entry has a myiad of effects that result in possible fire, loss of utility of equipment , smoke etc.
      At the time I intentionally omitted the secondary effects although they could have been extremely deterimental even contributing to the battery explosion.
      I was generally trying to discuss the issue of crew action to water entry. Slow and medioum speed with moderate equipment damage would have resulted in surfacing. Rapid entry would have except in the worse case resulted in surfacing. Rapid entry precluding surafacing would have resulted in sinking to crush depth in far less than 22 minutes.
      So I had not neglected the water effect on the battery but had avoided it as a complicating factor. At the same time I had considered many scenarios in which the battery could have been affected by seawater or fresh water entry. I had considered the equipment in the well and outside the well and the effects of various speeds of entry and various locations of entry.
      Although someone mentioned a battery fire in San Diego , I had not read of the event until yesterday. In fact I made a statement that I was unaware of any separator fail or significant internal short in a submarine battery. Indeed that changed yesterday when I read the Guitarro incident which initiated at sea near San Diego. The details are quite limited. The description appears to define a ” medium resistance internal short “.
      Typical causes of internal shorts are ” treeing “, separator failure, sediment buildup or overheating. To generalize a high resistance internal short would result in the cell discharging unnoticed until it worsened. A moderate internal short would produce noticeable heat and perhaps fire. Internal arcing may occur as well as melting. A severe short would result in high heat, internal arcing and likely explosion. If the cell were in the ” gassing phase” of charge or discharge explosion was almost certain. Of course no clear definition exists for degree of internal shorting. All are attempted to be prevented and none are reversable. If anyone can find a detailed description of the Guitarro incident, I would appreciate it. Various crew lists exist and possibly a crew member will expand the information.
      I am in no way offended by refences to my postings.

  126. Dennis Mosebey says:

    I read with great interest Terry’s information and posted it to our Yahoo Scorpion Web site. Captain James Bryant(retired) observed a malfunction of a Trash Disposal Unit in which the crew actually had to put rags around battery well access to prevent water in leakage. Terry’s writeup reminded me of this and perhaps Captain Jim as I call him is not far off the mark. At any rate, if Terry reads this I hope he will contact me so I can hook him up with our moderator and invite him to join our site. A word of caution though if you think this site can get wild and wooly at times you have seen nothing yet compared to our site. I am relatively new to it being a member for over a year and a half or so, but many of the personnel have been involved for over 3 years and there are some 10000 posts as scenarios were exhausted.It was not until the seminal breakthrough of Bruce Rule that we at least had the outcome but we still seek the initiator. Angela, please note I said seminal work of Bruce Rule—that means cutting edge analysis and not just a tape viewed years ago. I am still awaiting your Dad’s response as a weapons officer of where the torpedo damage is on the Ballard pictures! And I am still awaiting a detailed analysis of the same data to the level Bruce did his to conclusively show the tape of the Echo locked in mortal combat is anymore than a ruse. In spite of what her debate coach told her, she violated the first rule of debate, detailed research of your position, but perhaps that is not essential anymore. Hooked by the Horns.

    Dennis Mosebey

  127. George Hubbard says:

    I have been reading your posts on the Yahoo website and find them quite credible.
    I have analyzed the TDU possibility and find it remotely likely.
    I large seawater entry outside the well would not have been allwed on the well and the ship would have surfaced. A lesser amount of water would have been conrolled and not permitted to enter the well.
    A short external to the well would have unlikely caused a battery explosion submerged.
    I would welcome an explanation that would connect the TDU and a battery explosion.
    On three ocasions I witnessed. seawater over the battery well hatch. On neither of these occaions did water enter the well.
    The lowest likely point outside the well for a short to occur to the battery is approximately 20 inches above the deck. That is a lot of water entry. Prior to that happening many other shorts would have occured not related to the battery.
    While I don’t know what lead to the explosion, The TDU is not on my list of possible causes.

  128. George Hubbard says:

    This is the detailed report .. ( I repeat “detailed report” ) required to be submitted each three months on a submarine battery. I retired in 1979. It became much more detailed in the mid-1960’s. I see additional items have been added since then. Specifically items related to jumpering, care of the items required for jumpering, battery agitation and the search for ” problem cells “. I can tell you experienced knowledgeable electricians sought out any abnormality in the battery. They looked for cells that seemed to ” resist” taking a charge, seemed to lose voltage faster than other cells or had higher temperature than other cells.
    Generally speaking there are two chemical actions taking place during charging … A: The chemical changes that are taking place to restore the plates to their charged condition and B: Electrolysis. In general as the plates become fully charged the balance of energy going to the cell becomes electrolysis. The more electrolysis the more rapid the hydrogen ( and oxygen) is produced inside the cell. ” Bad cells ” produce more electrolysis action relative to charging action.
    Cells that are not responding to charge can possibly be located by diligently reviewing the records after charge and discharge. After the equalizing charges ( monthly) and the test discharge ( quarterly ) all 126 cells are “sampled”. That means each cell is checked and recorded for the following readings … normal agitation ( that is just a visual check to see that the cell is bubbling at approximately the same rate as the others . If not, it is corrected. Also the temperature, hydrometer reading and electrolyte level is recorded.
    A problem cell could be indicated by high temperature, low hydrometer reading or high electrolyte level … ( low electrolyte level could also indicate a problem ).
    Typically E Division LPO and two experienced electricians reviewed the records for abnormalities. It was a good policy to have three electricians in the well taking readings. Two taking readings and one recording.The recorder was analyzing as the reading were being taken. Any time an abnormality was suspected. Each person took an independent set of reading. Then they were compared. The process was stopped until the three were in agreement that the reading were accurate … not made to fit. If the reading reflected a cell abnormality so be it … It was recorded and circled. Normally the Division LPO would be called so that he could get first hand info on the abnormality.
    Note there are certain parts of the report that is looking for ” problem cells ” .. Paragraphs 21.3.2,21.3.3,21.3.4,Appendix E Note 1,d,e,f,gand k, 10.c,12.e,
    14. PMS .. e.
    14.m .. Is a requirement that did not exist when I left the Navy in 1979. It is an attempt to preclude a phenomenon known as a ” high resistance connection “. ( This could result in two adjacent cells exploding. i am not suggesting that this is what happened nor am I excluding it .)
    Anyone with more ability than myself may want to pursue obtaining the Quarterly Battery Reports for the Scorpion and the Guitarro. There is a good chance some very interesting info is there.

  129. Terry Terrass says:

    For the last several days I have encountered a problem when trying to view comments after 40.2. When clicking on the “Newer Comments” box the screen returns tio the top showing the picture of SCORPION.

    Prior to my second posting with info about the loss of COCHINO clicking on the “Newer Comments” box worked OK.

  130. George Hubbard says:

    Mr. Terrass …. I have the same problem.

  131. George Hubbard says:

    Correction: It seems that I went ” brain dead ” for awhile but one line in the QBR ( Quarterly Battery Report ) woke me up. It mentioned …. Those items which are not checked for proper torquing must be lockwired. That refreshed my memory.
    Certain portions of the PMS were coordinated. The meters, thermometers and torque wrenches had to be sent to the calibration shop and returned before the PMS could be done. When they were returned. The torquing of the bolts,the agitation system work,and 2 ohm checks were conducted together. The domes were washed and dipped first, then the other work was done together. ( I seldom took the instruments to shop or cleaned the domes because I was on watch or doing repairs. The calibrated wrenches were kept in poly bags in a locker reserved for battery items only. The wrenches were never ” lent out ” to be used for any other purpose.
    The torquing was usually performed by two guys. A log sheet with each cell was kept. The first cells were done by both guys working together. Certain cells presented a high shock hazard because of the high voltage that came together at cells # 1 and # 126..One electrician would position himself in a safe position to hold the wrench on the bolt and the other would do the same for the nut. After all the unsafe cells had be done the guys would start on opposite ends and move about the well in a clockwise direction. One guy would start where cells # 1 and # 126 met and the other would start at cells # 63 and # 64. This kept the two guys from touching each other to minimize creating a electrocution path between the two guys. The cells outboard and near stanchions also presented safety hazards. They would get back together to do these cells. Each guy would clean each cell after he finished ( spotless ) and then move to the next.
    The well was kept nearly spotless to minimize cleaning. We would clean around the hatch before opening it and keep the dirt out. It was a heck of a lot easier to keep the dirt out than to remove it. We never took the vacuum cleaner in the well. We connected several hoses together to allow the vacuum to stay outside the well.
    Each intercell connector either had permanent plastisol fully covering it or a removable cover. They had to be removed and replaced. At no time did I even find that a nut had loosened on a cell nor did I find any sign of overheating or corrosion. The Mare Island Disconnect Links and the buswork at the high voltage area was lockwired and did not require torquing. They were inspected visually to be intact.
    On a track above the cells was a chain fall trolley system. The track was welded and all bolts on the trolley were lockwired. The chainfall was enclosed in a custommade insulated cover.
    After two days of this you were glad to see ” daylight “.

  132. Denise (Foli) Jarratt says:

    Corinne it’s obvious you did not lose a family member on the Scorpion. We cannot and will never forget because we have never been told the full account of what really happened. I cannot fully describe or explain the anguish, sorrow, loss, disappointment and grief my family and the families and friends who lost their loved ones went through and still go through “waiting” for the answers that never came. You will never understand or know the atrocious way the Navy and Government handled the situation at the time. It is my understanding and if i’m wrong please correct me, it is my understanding there are still classified documents regarding the demise of the Scorpion. As long as these files remain closed to the families and public there will always remain doubts, skeptiscim, suspicions, speculation and a demand for answers surrounding the sinking of the Scorpion and this is the number one reason why we cannot and will never just “let it go”. I am the niece of Vernon Mark Foli and remain hopeful that one day I will know the truth once and for all.

  133. Denise (Foli) Jarratt says:

    I’m very happy to see so many are still interested in finding out the truth and are willing to put their reputations on the line to speak out. After reading these sometimes very heated posts, All Hands Down, Blind Man’s Bluff (have yet to read Silent Steel) I am as uncertain today as I was in 1968 about what really happened. I want to believe it was just an accident involving faulty battery or error, but cannot discount the possibility of a cover-up and possible Soviet intervention. The latest post from Lee regarding the Bermuda File, the paid day-off a few days before the Scorpion went missing is just another reason to raise suspicion. As long as the files are kept sealed we will never really know. Also curious to hear about a possible Mother Nature scenario as this was thrown into the pot back in 1968 as well.

    • John Wouldridge says:

      Denise (Foli) Jarrett You/we will never be told what the real cause of the Scorpion’s sinking. The only info that any of us will receive will be more of what we have already heard, speculation, conjectures, or made up personal theories. Those so called “sealed documents”, if they even exist, contain no more than inconclusive information. Probably more theories. I would like to know who saw a “sealed document” that was said to contain the absolute truth of the Scorpions sinking or anything related to it? There are a lot of people out here with a lot of speculations and personal theories of what they believe happened. They are looking for an audience. You may even see a book authored by someone on this net. I won’t buy it. I already have all the books that are mentioned by those here. What could they write differently, other than what speculation is mentioned on this net. I might look at or browse through it in the bookstore, but I won’t buy it. You will hear about battery explosions, torpedo attacks, etc. No one other than the Scorpion’s crew that went down with her know what really happened. All that anyone can be sure of is that she sank in 11,000 ft of water. Hydrophones picked up imploding noises. There are those that have theories as to what noises were made by what during the sinking, but they are only speculating. I lost a friend who was on board, Joe Cross, SD1. At the time he went down with the scorpion, it had been about three or four years since I heard from him. Wasn’t sure if he was still in the Navy or where he was. I discovered his name while reading the Scorpion’s crew list. I was stunned. Sure, I would like some closure, but I’m not ready to accept these speculations. I have my opinion on what I may believe happened. I don’t know what the truth is no more than the next person. Being an ex- Navy man, I don’t want to believe that the Navy is hiding something. The Navy is in my heart. I also submitted my speculations on this net. It doesn’t mean that I know what really happened. Scenarios are easy to make.

  134. Dennis Mosebey says:

    RK Alleman, please publish the book in spite of what that someone told you. I would love to read it. Books such as yours can only lend more light on what Cold War Heroes we really had. History must know of these people and efforts. I leave it to you but encourage you to proceed unless that same person implied some type of physical harm might come to you. Best wishes. Dennis Mosebey

  135. RK ALLEMAN says:

    Dennis, thank you (and many others) who have said something similar about “The Dive of Brandywine” and its publishing. You know, since meeting you and some of the elite others corresponding on this intelligent website, I have to humbly say I am blown away by the insightful information about the Scorpion’s last loss. George, and so many others, are, well, let me say I am reticent to publish this memoir that really was more like a memento to the loss of someone I knew on that fateful boat. I don’t have the technical knowledge or the writer’s prowess to dare the attempt to set this work of mine in motion. “All Hands Down” and “Silent Steel,” two of the greatest, are very insightful accounts of the sad business of her sinking. I never did hear back from Mr. Johnson about his truly engaging work, but I think my mentioning some of what I recall, still vividly mind you, about the loss may have turned the man off. I just had other information and a somewhat too personal engagement with the crew and the boat’s loss. I am unable to rid myself of the idea of the usual strange maneuvers (as an exercise) of sheer aggressiveness of the Soviets, also our boats, playing those ‘aquatic chicken’ games as we called them from the antisubmarine warfare perspective. I do believe the Soviet Navy was over zealous in directly confronting SSN 589, and perhaps it was her lack of performance, not Captain Slattery’s sub-driver performance, that ended up in one of the greatest, if not the most infamous, encounters of a sub kind, there near the deep waters of the Azores. What I AM miffed about to these days is why someone in a higher command decided my records turned into to CNO and COMSUBLANT about being in brief contact with the Brandywine was, well, more myth than fact. I really don’t know how anyone working in HICOM, the US Naval Station in Gtmo, can be accused of such hyperbole given the entrusted position of a well-trained radio-crypto operator serving out his last months in service. But “Ivanhoe,” the U S Atlantic command in charge of that sector and network I was plugged into, was apparently not enough credence, as additional testimony, the Navy Department endorsed. For some reason, the U S State Department, also heavily involved in this affair, made a decision that kept the ideation process running another way. Those records turned in are somewhere, I submit, but I have no proof, because like anyone else involved with the silent service an oath is an other. Silence, in this case, that must be kept. Indeed, I have to tell you I was so relieved when I stumbled upon this network, this website, all about the USS Scorpion. Again, I was, and remain, blown away with the likes of all of you. Unfortunately, I ended up pursuing a Ph.D. in Eastern and Western Philosophy, among other endeavors, which means I am less the person of science, especially in the acoustic and sonar field. I think most of what I have read thus far far out trumps the speculative cards that I hold, though I have never folded my hand. I still live with that last Mayday and brief session of someone inside that fateful hull. RK

  136. RK ALLEMAN says:

    P. S. Dennis, I think you still have my personal email, so we can continue this way if you like. I see you leaning, still, against that fancy vehicle, with your buddy, the special website you still mentioned. And, yes, I am still in awe of someone who has made the voyage undersea around the world. I was merely a spook rider type; not regular crew. RK

    • John Wouldridge says:

      Hey RK, I have not been able to tune in for about a month now. Did a little traveling, which took me to New London, Baltimore, Atlanta, Grand Prairie (Texas), Little Rock, and finally back home. I see the site is still alive and pumping.

  137. John Wouldridge says:

    RK, If you do the following search, you will see a photo of the USS Scorpion ssn-589 being commissioned at EB/Electric Boat. Look up USS Triton ssrn-586, Go to Photo Index Section, scroll down the photos until you view the USS Scorpion ssn-589 being commissioned. Tied up at the pier across from the Scorpion is the USS Triton ssrn-586 after her submerged voyage. I remember us sitting opposite of Scorpion that day. Did not watch the whole commissioning. Little did I know that tragedy would strike several years later.

  138. JAMES KLEVORN says:

    I find it interesting reading all the information and theories about the cause of the Scorpion disaster. Can’t even think (comprehend) how horrible it must have been for the crew. I feel for the families to have to go on to this day without any real concrete answers from the Navy and the way the Navy treated the families right after the disaster.

    My opinion or statement as a former Submariner is simply this whatever the cause of the disaster I will keep the memory of these submarines in my thoughts and prayers. I believe many submariners are here today because of the sacrifices of these men and in lessons learned after these disasters.

    • John Wouldridge says:

      I agree James, to comprehend the horror and fear of the Scorpion’s crew cannot be imagined by any of us. Joe Cross, SD1, was a friend of mine. Joe could keep you laughing. Hell of a softball player. He could bar-b-cue on a grill as if he invented it. No one really knows what happened other than those that went down on her. Everyone is purely speculating and expressing their theories. No one knows the true facts. They might want you to believe that they know, but they/we will go on for the rest of our lives contending what we think is fact and is what happened. It is all buried 11,000 feet down, regardless what anyone says or believes. The truth will never be known. Purely conjecture and speculation.

  139. John Wouldridge says:

    Bob Hughes STCS (SS) I read your comment posted May 24, 2011 at approx. 11:44 am. You mentioned about the unstability of the Scorpion during high speed maneuvers and turns. All Skipjack class ssn’s I believe suffered that same unstability at high speed maneuvering and turns. When I lived in sub base housing in Groton, in the early 60’s, my neighbor was William O’brien who was a FTCS aboard the Skipjack. I remember him making a comment about how she was a handful to handle during high speed turns and maneuvers. The Skipjacks had the shortest/stubbiest hull of all US nuclear boats with a length to width ratio of 8 to 1. Which was the smallest of all US nuclear subs. The instability of the boats at speed could have been why the Navy went to a different hull design with a length to width ratio of 9 to 1 with the Thresher class. Even the Tullibee, which was 273 ft. in length and a beam of 23 ft., had a length to width ratio of 11 to 1. At the location of the Skipjack’s sail is where her beam was 31 ft. Forward and aft of the sail, the beam progressively became less as you got to the bow and stern. I believe that the shorter/stubbier hull was the reason for that unstability during high speed turns and maneuvers, which was probably very tricky at depth. That could be the reason for hull design to change to the Thresher’s design after six boats. This is my opinion that I formed through observations of hulls when viewing photos of them during launching, dry docked, and in the water. I don’t contend that these are facts. Just speculation. All US ssn’s after Skipjack class have larger/longer length to width ratios. There probably will not be a lot who will agree with my OPINION and SPECULATION, but that is ok.

  140. Dennis Mosebey says:

    John and Denise I believe, anyway I encourage you to publish your theory, you would be surprised what can come of it. This place is as good as any or please put on Scorpion Web Page, Dr. Bill Corcoran is moderator. Any such events that did not have direct witnesses who survived will of course have an element of speculation but with time and enough people putting out what they think and then being willing to honestly and open listen to others, you would be surprised what can be concluded. I used to be a full torpedo cook off believer, but I was quickly and correctly disabused of this theory on the Scorpion Web page by very knowledgeable people. While I was never in the Navy, I have a deep abiding love for all military personnel and especially our sub crews and their boats of all types. Would love to hear privately your theory if you do not want to publish publically, Dennis Mosebey

    • John Wouldridge says:

      Dennis, I have been posting here since 2/1/2011. I have always been willing to listen to others and always will. I have purchased all the books and read a lot of articles. As soon as it was announced the Scorpion went missing I was reading everything that came out. I remember the Brandywine SOS that a schooner said they heard, but the Navy, so it goes, could not reach her for validation or specifics on that SOS. Lost a good friend, Joe Cross SD1, on the Scorpion. Almost lost my best friend on the Thresher, his name was Rufus Weaver, CSC. He did not make that cruise because he was in New London and the sailor he was to relieve told Weaver that the Thresher was going to return to New London after conducting tests and he could relieve him there since he had to come to New London anyway. Weaver still has his transfer orders which transfer him from the Cavalla ss-244 to the Thresher on April 10, 1963. He is retired and still lives in New London. I visit him from time to time. Met him on the Sea Owl ss-405, Capt. “Ace” Taylor loved Weaver. When he transferred from the Cavalla ss-244,the crew gave him one hell of a send-off. The captain even gave Weaver the chair from the Cavalla with all kinds of good luck wishes and saying enscribed on that wooden chair. That is a very impressive chair/gift. He also knew Joe Cross SD1. I have my speculations about a lot of things. I do read and respect everyone’s theories, speculations, or whatever. Would not be here if I didn’t. I am going to cut this here, getting late. Will talk later. I’m always here reading the mail. Thanks Dennis.

  141. RK Alleman says:

    John, well said about your last remarks, at least those comments you’ve made to this other person and saying what you believe, what your heart believes, about what may have happened, and standing by the Navy. I also believe there are just those special kind of ops and issues the rest of the world really isn’t prepared to accept as SOP in the business, especially the Silent Service. In our government, like all other governments, there is an inner sanctum that runs its clockworks, it’s business as usual, and sometimes the unusual comes up and new and stealth tactics must be in force. It’s obviously only the crew of SSN 589 knew what was happening in those last fateful moments, regardless if there really was an outside force lurking in that vicinity. Those final moments and all the shrouded secrets were on that boat and went all the way to the bottom. On this Memorial Day weekend, and less than ten or so days of her sinking many years ago, she and her crew remain in our hearts, just as conspiracy theories and all the intrigue of what may have happened remains in our minds. I’m going to put my chips on your table, because I think you, and some few others, have said it best all along: it’s time to move on and let this matter go, because we’ll never find out the source of the mystery. Rather, what’s debated will only lead to continuing conjectures and refutations. Thanks to you and all the rest who have given me guidance on this haunting episode in my life since my watch on that fateful day in August, 1968. I still believe in my heart and mind I was the last to hear from her given those S.O.S. transmissions, calmly sent I might add, which is testimony to what any brave crew of any American sub exemplifies: order and discipline to the last. Here’s to the Scorpion’s brave lads on her eternal patrol. RK

    • John Wouldridge says:

      RK, What I believe, whether in my heart or what, I don’t contend that it is fact, never will. I don’t believe what I think may have happened no more or no less than I do anything from anyone else, all conjecture and speculation. Sure, I would truly like to know what really happened. 43 years is a long time, but not long enough to forget. I will never forget the Scorpion ssn-589 and Thresher ssn-593. I believe that you were the last to hear the SOS. I never doubted that. Hey, wish I was able to catch up with you and had a few rounds. Would have been fun. It could still happen one day. I feel that within the next year I will have to return to Little Rock. Oh well RK, I must close for now. Will talk to you later. I consider you a buddy.

  142. RK Alleman says:

    As to your other email, about all your travels of late, John, you didn’t come see me in Santa Fe, and so that’s that. Until the next time, eh? Sent you (just now) another reply to your longer and more recent missive posted on the site. You’re a good man and I don’t care what anyone else says about you, sailor! Here’s to Memorial Day and what it means to some relative few of us, while most others, I’m afraid think it’s just another long weekend of R & R. RK

    • John Wouldridge says:

      RK,, I didn’t hear from you in reference to Santa Fe. I am sorry for missing that.

  143. RK Alleman says:

    John, yep, still here in Santa Fe, but have to move a bit further south at the end of the month, back to Albaturkey. May get back to teaching, not sure; certainly back to a more invigorated networking process. So, come see me there. I’ll buy the first few rounds. Also, that schooner business of picking up the S.O.S., what a crock. That was ‘Barbaric’ picking up the message in the comm shack, there at HiCom, US NAVSTA, Gtmo. Why the Navy decided not to admit one of its own picked up the final transmissions of the fateful ‘Brandywine,’ go figure. There’s always been some occluded with the machination of this sad business. I don’t know, maybe the government’s right: there are just some things citizens have no rights to know or learn. Its operation, especially the State Department can be stealth within stealth, you know? All the best and here’s to a rendezvous one of these days. Also, I, like you, read everything ever written on this wondrous site contributing by such excellent minds, most of them anyway. I have always learned the wise philosophy “Even if you can’t agree with what you’re hearing or reading from another source, at lest respect his or her views.” And that’s exactly the summation I feel for the posters on this site: respect. RK

  144. George Hubbard EMCM (SS) says:

    Within the last four months I have joined the Yahoo Groups for Scorpion. Being a Johnny Comelately I had missed many of the preceeding comments and “entered lost as a loon”. So I still have not read all of the available material. I still do not know how to fully navigate the website and access all the info. Specifically I understand much of the battery discussion is there but I have not read nearly all of it.
    The reason for commenting today is to cover a few areas A: The ” collapse event ” , B: The possibility of getting more battery information in an attempt to determine the cause of the battery explosions and C: A brief statement on my opinion.
    On the site is a very detained study of the collapse event. The work done on this study is much appreciated. It generally analyzes how the collapse occurred and focuses largely on what happened at the ER transition element. It also considers whether the ER went into the AMS or around the AMS. It settled on the ER going into the AMS.
    I am in no way faulting the extensive work done but wish that they had moved forward to describe in more detail what occurred as the ER stopped its move forward.
    One person did a review of the study and disagreed with a few of the studies comments. Somewhat amazingly, because I am a layman, I had the same disagreements as I read the study.
    You will have to read the study to fully understand what I am addressing here.
    Point one: The reviewer and I believe that the ER bulheads connecting to the transition ring ” folded inward”. and the transition ring remained intact momentarily. This allowed the transition ring to act as a funnel compressing the ER into the AMS.
    Point Two: The person doing the study breaks the collpase events into segments. I agree with this concept as I do not believe a simultaneous forward and aft hull collapse took place. I believe the after failure occurred first and that the forward failure was the result of the ” impulse function” that occurred when the after section collided with the forward section .. The section speeding forward much faster than the forward section was moving aft. This was due to the much higher inertia of the foward section.
    Point Three: I believe the very short period of time as the ER bulheads were folding inward relieved the stresses on the weakest point forward actually preventing the forward collapse. Delaying ever so slightly the event that destroyed the missing section.
    It appears that virtually everyone has given up on determining the exact cause of the battery explosions. ( I am close to that point.) However I still believe there are clues that one day will be recovered. I believe the QBR’s will be released ( or a surviving electrician may comment on any known material conditions that may be related. ) If I understand some comments correctly … the battery was generally in its later life period.
    Opinon: Background: When batteries are new and on charge ,as current is being feed into the battery some of the energy is ” charging enery ” and some of the energy is ” electrolysis energy “. As batteries age they are more resistant to taking a charge. ( Also as batteries get near to full charge they become more resistant to charge. ) This causes older batteries to get hotter during charge and to gas more. Because I do not have the data I desire I cannot even closely analyze how battery condition may have played into the explosions.
    Even without data … I lean toward battery age and condition affecting the loss.
    A very experienced person on batteries has studied this .. Al Paulter ( I hope my spelling is correct ). I am not privy to his opinion. ( I believe that I have seen his comments being sent to submarines on which I served.)
    I welcome any comments.

  145. bob hughes STSCSS says:

    Did you receive my comments?

    • John Wouldridge says:

      They have moved to another site.

      • RK Alleman says:

        John, what other site. Who is ‘they?’ I’m a bit in the dark. Oh, wait; I still have my sunglasses on. . .there, that’s better. . .but I still am missing details about your posting on 7/23. Can you please clarify? Thanks. RK

  146. RK Alleman says:

    Author: bob hughes STSCSS
    Did you receive my comments?

    Bob, sorry, no, I didn’t not receive your comments, that is, if this latest traffic I received was sent by you and for me.


    • John Wouldridge says:

      RK, On May 24, 2011, Bob Hughes STSCSS posted a comment. He stated that he served on the Scorpion from Jan. 65 till Aug. 67. He mentioned about the un-stability of that class boat during high speed turns. I replied to that comment on May 25, 2011. He noticed that no one had mentioned whether or not the Scorpion or her sisters could have suffered handling problems during high speed turns or maneuvers. He was waiting for feedback on that issue. It’s obvious that you did not see it. You normally respond. Or, maybe no one wanted to respond to it, or maybe they did not see it. I don’t know who was in the dark or who was wearing sunglasses, but I do know that I wasn’t. That is why I said, “They moved to another site.” I hope that clarifies it for you

  147. RK Alleman says:

    John, thank’s for the latest reply about the difficult in high-speed turns (for the Scorpion). And, no, I didn’t see the posting. I’m not even sure where my postings end up. Anyway, she did some work for us (at ASW) and there were problems in this area, even though she was still a very fast boat. Given her final moments, however, I’m not sure any speed of any turn could have saved her. I only know with certainty she was screwed out of SUBSAFE procedures when last she was in port, hurried off into battle, as it were, and was supposed to get a complete clean bill of health the next time she returned to drydock, which means her problems fix, including the emergency blow option she did not have. I guess I’m one of those types who still can’t figure her crew, let alone the boss, did anything wrong, other than the fact she only had so much to give in lieu of what she had (or didn’t have). Sending her to eavesdrop on the Ruskies wasn’t exactly the smartest intelligence option ever executed by command. But duty calls and that slight detour cost her and her fine crew their lives. Hope I’m not being too preachy by saying all this. Anyway, yes, ASW knew there were some problems with her higher speed capabilities, but had all her parts been in sound working order, and with an intelligent sub driver like Capatin F. and a fine, though somewhat fatigued crew, hell, she held her own. At least for a time she did. RK

  148. George Hubbard EMCM (SS) says:

    Good morning !! Indeed, I am working with a group further investigating loss of Scorpion. At times it is just as antagonistic as but we are moving forward. I get a frequent blast of crap but … but I have a raincoat for that.
    The results will be detailed and complex. I will assure you and will see the results.
    Best wishes !!

    My e-mail directly to you returned.

  149. RK Alleman says:

    George, I’m in. Wanting to know more about your new site and info. There’s more to this caper than meets the proverbial eye, the adage I mean. Connect with me via and we can continue further, and of course I can find out the new site to find you, et al. In short, I’m mustering in. RK

  150. Vernon Nease says:

    To: Mr. Bruce Rule,

    I would like to have a copy of the data you mentioned earlier about the loss of USS Scorpion. (51 pages via e-mail)
    I have not been in the service but do remember all theThresher stories. I guess the MLKing Jr. and the Robert Kennedy deaths along with all the Veit-Nam stuff just seemed to overshadow the event.
    My son mentioned Scorpion today, much to my amazement, and asked what I thought happened. This fact would not be so unusual were it not for his age (very young) and I would like to answer him in what I consider the best way.


    Vernon Nease (

  151. Dennis Mosebey says:

    To Vernon Nease, Bruce Rule asked me to post following:

    Vernon Nease:

    The file you requested, which includes six letters written to the Navy
    between 2009 and 2011
    would exceed 30MB. I cannot send that large a file and few ISPs can
    accept such a file.

    Instead, see below the summary that will be on the back cover of THE
    IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC to be published this fall by Nimble Books. That
    book, for which I have
    refused any compensation, will provide you with non-technical summarizes
    of the six letters and
    the letters themselves which, although technical, should be of interest
    because they explain in
    detail how it was determined that SCORPION was lost because of a battery
    explosion. They
    also provide the basis for debunking the conjecture that own-ship’s
    torpedo was involved and the
    conspiracy theories of Soviet involvement.

    As was summarized in an article in the PING, the Submarine Force Library
    & Museum Electronic
    Newsletter available at
    (quote) No conspiracies, no Soviet attack, no torpedo hot run, but a
    tragic accident. (end quote).

    From the book:

    In their official report of 29 January 1970, the SCORPION Structural
    Analysis Group (SAG), which included the Navys leading experts in
    submarine design, submarine structures and the effects of underwater
    explosions, advised the Navy Court of Inquiry (COI) that the US nuclear
    submarine SCORPION was lost on 22 May 1968 because of the violent
    explosion of the main storage battery.

    The COI disregarded that assessment and concluded SCORPION was lost
    because of the (quote) explosion of (a) large charge weight external to
    the submarine?s pressure hull.(end quote) That erroneous conclusion
    which, by default, has become the Navys explanation for the tragedy,
    contributed to the conspiracy theory that SCORPION was sunk by a Soviet

    This book includes six letters sent to the Navy from 2009 to 2011.
    These letters provide the results of the first reanalysis in 40-years of
    acoustic detections of the loss of SCORPION. This reanalysis confirms
    the 1970 SAG battery-explosion assessment and provides important new
    information on the loss of SCORPION.

    Bruce Rule

  152. D. Williams says:

    There is a particular danger to all submarines that was never mentioned even once during the investigation into the loss of the USS Scorpion.

    Figure out this particular danger and you solve the mystery of why the Scorpion sank.

  153. Dennis Mosebey says:

    To D. Williams

    You intimate there is a particular danger not looked into on submarines related to Scorpion loss. Please post as to what your hypothesis is so that I can post to our Scorpion Yahoo site where a great deal of talent and experience is seeking to solve the question. Most appreciated.

    Dennis Mosebey

    • D. Williams says:

      Dennis, I’m sorry… maybe I should not have said anything at all until my book is ready for distribution. I hope it will be available in six months. I have spent over 25 years researching the material.

      The story started out as a poorly written novel about man who lost his family in a freak boating accident Bermuda Triangle style. It was first published by Simon and Schuster 20 years ago. But something strange happened. The book was never distributed as promised. I sued and got to keep the $15,000 advance and my rights to the story.

      Now I think I know why the book was never distributed and the answer involves the mentioned on the back cover of a lost submarine and a Navy secret too deadly to reveal.

      It took a lot of research to sort it all out but now I ready to release the new book for a second run at the market. Its not the best written story in the world but the information buried inside the book is factual and shocking almost beyond belief.

      The factual material unravels the mystery not only behind the loss of the Scorpion but also behind the sinking of a dozen other famous wrecks as well.

      I plan on taking some advance orders soon and will let you know when I have a publication date along with why the Scorpion went down. If you know of anyone with original black and white (or color) pictures of Scorpion please let me know.


  154. Dennis Mosebey says:

    To D. Williams

    Thanks for yoru response. Please let me know title of book when it comes out and how I can get a copy. I have seen many treatises on different things on Bermuda Triangle including the loss of the whole flight of the Avenger aircraft on a Training mission.

    But I warn you ahead of time, to be a true cause, you must in your book show how it relates to two internal explosions within the submarine–no internal explosion link, it will be in my view anyway not credible. Any working theory on loss of USS Scorpion must account clearly and definitely for Mr. Rule’s acoustic analysis as far as I personally am concerned. I also strongly recommend unless the evidence is incontrovertible that you preface the work with words to the affect the book is not to be take as fact, but judged by each individual. That way you avoid the false claims made by Offley and Sewell and others about her loss. And it should also be classified as fiction again unless you have incontrovertible proof within the pages as outlined above. Just some recommendations from me.


    Just how it is with me.


    • Bruce Rule says:

      Well said, Dennis.

      There has been enough unsupported conjecture from Offley and Sewell. The last thing that is needed 43-years after SCORPION
      was lost is another book that fails to consider imagery of the
      wreck, analysis of the recovered battery component and the

      i urge D. Williams to read the SCORPION Structural Analysis
      Group Report of 29 January 1970 and address the conclusions
      it provides. If Williams conclusions run counter to that report, he
      should, in specific detail, explain why.

      B. Rule

      Bruce Rule

    • D. Williams says:

      Bruce and Dennis….

      First, my work shows exactly why the battery exploded so no need to be concern that I have developed an off the wall concept. I hold patents in underwater acoustics and understand quite well that sounds must reach the deep sound channel before they are transmitted great distances. Those sounds generated when the sub was at the thermocline would naturally by the loudest. On the other hand, vertical traveling vibrations can damp themselves quickly bouncing up and down in the water column before they enter the sound channel. Thus, the intensity/volume of signals pick up at great distances can not be relied on to indicate their cause or origin.

      I also understand the US Navy and its ability to distribute misinformation. The use of propaganda has been a subject taught at the Naval War College for several hundred years. In fact, admirals are promoted on their ability to spread believable bullshit. Much of what you read about the loss of the scorpion and much of what happened after her loss was discovered was purposefully twisted so that the Navy could escape its own culpability.

      The scorpion was a wreck looking for a place on the bottom to rest even before she was put back in the water after her so-called overhaul. She was send on a death mission and the Navy should be forced to admit it. She was vibrating so badly when she departed Rota Spain that she could not been involved in any spy mission. On the other hand, that the Soviets may have played a part in her sinking in retaliation for K129 is possible and can not be proven one way or another.

      It is strange that Minerve sank in January, followed closely by the Dakar, and then the Eurydice and K129 and then Scorpion. Has anyone made the connection between the mysterious loss of these five submarines?

      The problem for my work is that I can only offer what my discoveries force me to believe–I can’t PROVE I’m right or wrong. This is why I am writing a novel. I call it a docudrama. Regardless that it is supposedly fiction, I do promise that those who read my work will have theirs opened to an entirely different way of thinking about the disaster and about the deceptive ways of the US Navy.

      By the way, I do know what happened to Flight 19 and the where these planes will be found. I also know what happened to the USS Cyclops and many other mysteries.

      And… I really would enjoy sharing what I know right now but must force myself to keep quiet for a little while longer.

  155. RK Alleman says:

    To D. Williams missive sent 8/18/11:

    Sir, I concur with what you wrote concerning the intrigue of the Navy, certain departments, with respect to the death-listing of a ‘wreck’ waiting to take a long, fairly fast fall and ride to the bottom of the Atlantic. I, myself, have tolerated quite a few challenges, especially from the likes of Mr. Johnson, author of “Silent Steel,” and those challenges always amounting to what happened BEFORE the catastrophic developments took the crew of 99 from us. I had the feeling Mr. Johnson, et al., were saying, “Sure, we don’t know what those ops were prior to her leaving, not really; and we don’t really think you know anything about that situation either.” Well, I do. I have yet to see anyone in command with COMASWFORLANT or CINCLANTFLT OR COMSUBLANT or any other submarine adjunct department come forward and make open to the public what really was in the minds of a relative few at that time who knew precisely what the intelligence (so-called) was all about in sending an ailing boat on that detour. I have also heard from a few and select families whose loved ones never returned on 5/21 because of that special ops. Mostly, these comments were in favor of my own ideas expressing a indignity of the Navy and State departments, the coverup that Mr. Johnson, et al., don’t care to mess with, but instead all the erudite minds feeding new investigation research are busy doing what the government wants people to do, thereby not, I repeat, NOT poking fingers of blame where the blame should have been all along. SSN 589 was an ailing boat that should not have been in those same waters with the Soviets. I am also NOT saying the Soviets deliberately caused her demise, but am saying the Scorpion was dubbed LID, and there are other problems centered on performance, such as maneuverability and speed factors that just might have been too much for the crew to handle in those aggressive cat and mouse games, otherwise known as playing chicken. Sure, the erudite minds on this site, as well as the Yahoo site, are loud and mighty with respect to the noisy Soviet boats at the time, but don’t under estimate their Navy. They pulled quite a few slick ones on us from time to time. The SOSUS part of the deal I was in, and the ASW in general, didn’t always allow us to come out on top. We were a superior force in all ways, yet this opposing force were outright reckless in some ways, and they would do anything to intimidate our fleet. So, whatever follows from the upcoming book you wrote will be what it is. I’m happy you and others possibly solved the problems that sunk the Scorpion, post problems let’s call it. Prior to that awful event, trust me, the crew and Capt. Slattery had plenty on their minds doing the ops they did. I have always felt especially bad for the families of those brave lads, because they really should have been met by a homesick crew that dearly wanted to be back in home port, and a submarine that dearly needed to get her repairs. . . .including those she should have gotten the last time she was in dry dock. She did not because her presence in the Med was requested, as a fill-in boat replacing the other submarine that was almost lost with all hands down. Sorry to take so much of your time plowing through this verbiage. I stand by the families, I think the Navy will always keep its secrets about this matter, and for those outsiders who do not have select reports and photos never released, there will always be a big question mark hovering over the haunted image of this crashed boat lying in pieces on the bottom of the ocean. Now let someone from command from any of those aforementioned departments come forth and open up Pandora’s box. A serious infraction was made when pulling SSN 589 into a great big mess she and her crew had no business being part of. The Navy gambled and those men lost. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I also like how and what you said in a similar tone, though more eloquently than I, and with less words. Sincerely, RK

  156. D. Williams says:

    Mr. Alleman, I enjoyed your post.

    In a round about way, the Scorpion was a victim of the Six-Day War. The sub was dry docked at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in February 1967 when things started warming up in the Middle East between Israel and her Soviet-backed neighbors. In April, Admiral Shale ordered the diesel-electric attack submarine, USS Requin to enter the Mediterranean in support of the Sixth Fleet just in case the Soviets entered the mêlée. He also ordered two nuclear attack submarines on patrol off the Vietnam Coast to pass through the Suez Canal and meet up with the Sixth Fleet. However, on 5 June 1967, before the US subs could enter the Mediterranean, the Six-Day War broke out and immediately thereafter Egypt sank six large ships in the middle of the canal and laid the blame on Israel, Britain, and the United States. Other Arab countries quickly rallied in support, pledging to stop the flow of oil to the free world. Then on 8 June, in what Israel later claimed to be a case of mistaken identity, Israeli warplanes opened fire on the USS Liberty, an electronic spy ship that was cruising in international waters off the Egyptian coast. The attack disabled a vital source of the Navy’s decision-making intelligence and caused a great amount of political tension. With the Mediterranean bottled-up by the canal closing, Admiral Colmes decided the Sixth Fleet needed at least one nuclear attack submarine as support. The only way the Navy could get a sub from the South China Sea into the Mediterranean was to send it around the tip of South Africa then north back up through the South Atlantic—one hell of a long trip. The USS Seawolf was on routine patrol along the U.S. Atlantic Coast so rather than send a sub from the Pacific; Admiral Shale issued orders for the Seawolf to prepare to get underway. He also ordered Scorpion put back in the water. He did not want her setting in dry dock in case World War lll erupted. She would too vulnerable. Instead, he planned to use her to take over Seawolf’s Atlantic Coast patrol duties regardless that he knew she was unfit. The USS Requin was ordered back to Norfolk to assist Scorpion in defending the Atlantic Coast. But, as time went by, several unforeseen events changed Admiral Shale’s plans. The North Koreans seized the USS Pueblo on 23 January for spying. Two days later, the Israeli Submarine Dakar mysteriously sank in the Mediterranean and, a few days after the Dakar went down, on 28 January, the French Submarine Minerve suddenly vanished a few hundred miles from her home port in the Med. Shale thought the Soviets had already started World War III so he directed the Seawolf to depart immediately. However, as luck would have it, the sub hit bottom off Cape Cod the day before she was set to leave. The repairs were going to take far too long so Admiral Shale decided to get the Scorpion ready knowing she was in dire condition. He was hoping that by restricting her diving depth to four hundred feet she would hold together long enough to make it back to Norfolk in one piece. Scorpion departed in mid-February and hobbled around the Mediterranean with the vibrations in her stern getting worse day by day. She could not possibly spy on the Soviets in the Canary Islands. They would have heard roaring toward them from 200 miles away. Her condition was disastrous. If she was getting out any messages, they were more likely calls for a sea tow. She was never 400 miles SE of the Azores; she was ~180 miles SE of Flores Islands,one of the Azore Islands. How can the Navy give a position as 400 miles SE of the Azores when the Azore Island chain is 400 miles long running more or less East to West. This was just bullshit given out by the Navy to cover their own ass. There was even a false report that the sea was calm on 21 May. If you’ve ever sailed near the North Atlantic Ridge in May, you’d realize how unlikely calm seas are in this area. The wind is usually 20 to 25 knots of the NW, sea 6 to 8 feet with breaking whitecaps.

    The disinformation causes one to suspect that she is still in Azore waters, leaking radiation into their fishing grounds. The deception was far too heavy; but, this should have been expected from the US Navy who has NEVER EVER admitted blame for anything in over 200 years. The deception was the same with the loss of Flight 19. If the Navy had any brains that would realize that deception was easy to get away with 100 years ago, but things have changed now. The public is much more aware and a 1,000 times more sensitive to liars. The US Navy is destroy all its credibility by pretending not to know what happen to the Scorpion and to Flight 19.

    In my opinion, the sinking of the Scorpion involves her wobbly shaft, severe metal fatigue in her tail section, flooding through several free-flooding valves, and the in-rush of seawater through the TDU that seeped into the battery space below. Yes, there was likely a battery explosion but this was not the root cause of the disaster.

    • Bruce Rule says:

      This post responds to the following from D. Williams:

      (Quote) In my opinion, the sinking of the Scorpion involves her wobbly shaft, severe metal fatigue in her tail section, flooding through several free-flooding valves, and the in-rush of seawater through the TDU that seeped into the battery space below. Yes, there was likely a battery explosion but this was not the root cause of the disaster. (end quote)

      The SCORPION wreckage, as imaged by the USNS MIZAR (T-AGOR-11) on 28 Oct 1968, is located at 32-55N, 33-09W.

      The condition of the wreck DEMANDS that SCORPION was intact until
      the pressure-hull collapsed at 18:42:34Z. Had there been earlier
      flooding, the hull would have been pressure-equalized before it reached collapse depth and the wreck would be essentially intact and NOT in two major sections Two stern sections are telescoped into each other a distance of 50-feet, a condition that could only have occurred if pressure was applied equally around the hull.

      The empiric relationship between (among) the bubble-pulse frequency of 4.46-Hz and the volume of the pressure-hull confirm that SCORPION collapsed at a depth of 1530-feet with an energy release equal the
      explosion of 13,200-lbs of TNT at that depth.

      Had there been any severe shaft imbalance (wobbling), SCORPION would have produced an exceptionally strong mechanical blade-rate
      below 25-Hz. No such signal was detected by SOSUS during the
      deployment from Norfolk or by the Canary Island sensors. Further,
      no Soviet shipboard acoustic sensorsystem then deployed had any
      response in that areas of the acoustic spectrum. Bottom line: I don’t
      lknow where you are getting this roaring detectable by the Soviets from
      a range of 200 nm but it is complete fiction.

      Finally, I went through the Canary Island acoustic data second-by-second from 220914Z to 230836Z and there were no detyections of any sesimic activity that would have produced significant acoustic energy below 50-Hz with durations in 10s of minutes to hours. The response of the Canary Island hydrophones was about 2-Hz to about 1-kHz.

      There has been enough disinformation about SCORPION disseminated by Offley and Sewell. I suggest that before you add to it, you wait until the
      fall and read The Death of a Submarine in the North Atlantic to be published by Nimble Books. As the author, I have refused any compensation for the book.

  157. Dennis Mosebey says:

    D. Williams

    Thanks for the terminology you are going to use about your book. This is much more above board and honest than Offley and Sewell.

    One item though, I do not believe it is true Scorpion was vibrating as badly as you say except at a speed of around 20 knots. The Book Silent Steel does document that troublesome vibration but it was highly speed dependent and was not present all the time. Much investigation was done to try and eliminate it with as I recall little success.

    I believe Silent Steel also conclusively supports your thesis about a boat whose maintenance was neglected leading to the initiating event, but as to the remark about Bermuda Triangle, well the jury will probably be debating that for years to come regarding all losses in that area.

    Regarding Flight 19 I would appreciate your insights on that and you can get me at and that way we will not tie up this page.

    So your thesis leads into the battery explosion vice being some new complete theory regarding some other unrelated phenomena? Well that is encouraging at least.


  158. Dennis Mosebey says:

    D Williams to RK Alleman

    Wait, wait, wait! First is is Schade, Admiral Schade. Now for the important question, are you saying those pictures Ballard took are not Scorpion or that the position recorded for her wreckage is in fact a falseification?????? We found her, we know where she is. Ballard confirmed no leaking radiation, that was his mission as documented and he confirmed it and with the time left after surveying both her and Scorpion he found Titantic using Navy funds. All part of the deal when he was brought back in to active duty from Naval Reserve. It also sounds like you are trying to build the common thread that the Soviets did in all of the subs Dakar, Minerve, etc. Whew, this is getting a bit much to swallow.

    I do not believe for one minute Arnold Schade casually sent any boat in harm’s way. I do believe that none of us understand the exigencies of command at that time he deployed her. I also believe that none of us are in a position to judge his decision to send her on the detour—he may in fact have had no choice. He may have argued against it and chain of command overruled him. And I say again the idea that she was some loud running boat is not supported by anything I have ever read and in any case she would not have come up on that Russian expedition without using due caution. Every indication is she completed her mission successfully without detection, transmitted her data and headed on home.

    I am sorry but I cannot buy much of this latest post without some very hard facts. I also do not buy the Navy conspiracy theory. I am sure as in all services there were some unscrupolous people but I do not believe Arnie Schade was one of them and I am double darn sure that Hyman Rickover would have never rested if he believed one of his nuke boats was being covered up.

    If someone has proof what those Russians were doing then please lay it out! Otherwise it is all conjecture. Being Comsubpac or Comsublant in those times had to be the toughest, loneliest job around save maybe those guys sitting on the boomers and in the missle silos or manning the bombers. They bore a heavy burden and none of us should be throwing around false claims as to their veracity. Sorry D. and RK I cannot go there with you. Dennis

  159. D. Williams says:

    The only position I’ve ever heard for the wreck site is 400 miles SW of the Azores. Does anyone have the exact coordinates? What I saying with 100% confidence is that the wreck is not 400 miles SW of the Azores! That location is indeed a big fat lie (falsification). I’m even surprised you believe the navy would identify the wreck site. I’m equally surprised that you would believe the reactor was not damaged after seeing how the hull was twisted into a knot. And… Bob Ballard would have said anything the Navy asked him to say to get the funding and the opportunity he was provided.

    And… I’m not trying to say the Soviets were responsible but they could have been. They had the capability to pull it off.

    As to the condition of the Scorpion, I am equally surprised that you believe she was running smooth and not vibrating. Her shaft was bent… and had to be replaced to cure her vibration problems. The navy had tried everything but replace the shaft. I even doubt a new shaft would have fixed her.

    And, the navy did indeed send her on a death mission and the admirals making the decisions knew she might not make it back in one piece. But it makes no sense for me to argue with you now because you obviously do not know what I know and I have no intention to play my cards until my book is ready.

    What is unimaginable to me is that you and others have missed the most important facet of the sinking. And…. rest assured, there is a strong connection between the K129, the French and Israeli subs, and the Scorpion far more fascinating then you will ever guess.

    Here’s another little tidbit… the US Navy had a secret weapon and planned to sink a few Soviet submarines in a fashion to make them think there was an accident. The Soviets figured out the weapon at about the same time K129 went missing but without hard evidence–they could not prove nothing. Bottom line is that I don’t believed they retaliated because they did not the evidence nor enough time to put a plan into action. But they did want to….

    Both the US and the Soviets knew how to use the secret weapon but they agreed it would not be in their best interest since using it would certainly start world war lll. They agreed not to use nor to reveal any part of weapon system since neither would gain and both would likely lose.

    One more tidbit, the navy is now building a scaled down model or an acoustic shock wave weapon system that promised to be far more deadly against an enemy vessel at close range than any torpedo. Its like an underwater ray gun only it uses LF acoustic shock waves.

  160. Harold Evans says:

    D. Williams

    Your thoughts on the loss of the Scorpion and other mysteries have in and of themselves created a mystery of their own on this blog. You also issue a challenge to figure out this secret.

    You have given a number of clues as to what your scenario is with respect to what is and isn’t involved with the loss of the Scorpion. So let us follow a logic path. During this effort I will not question the validity of your “facts” however I do not agree with several of them. I did not correct your typos, except for the misspelling of Admiral Schade.

    In your first post 154 you said:
    “There is a particular danger to all submarines that was never mentioned even once during the investigation into the loss of the USS Scorpion. Figure out this particular danger and you solve the mystery of why the Scorpion sank.”

    OK, that is straight forward enough and a nice challenge. Your root cause has never been mentioned so we must conclude that it is something that hasn’t been “officially” mentioned before.

    In your second post 155.1 you hinted:
    “Bermuda Triangle Style” and “hint a Navy secret too deadly to reveal”. You also mention that it is something that is behind the sinking of a dozen other wrecks.

    You also said, “I plan on taking some advance orders soon and will let you know when I have a publication date along with why the Scorpion went down.”

    OK, you are a Bermuda Triangle guy. The root cause is behind other wrecks. There is something that the Navy is covering up.

    So I don’t think you are an alien abduction kind of guy, so that leaves some sort of relatively rare natural phenomena. You are also trying to drum up interest and book sales.

    In your third post 156.2 you provide lots of hints:
    The battery exploded. You understand underwater acoustics. The Navy distributed misinformation about the Scorpion to escape its own culpability. The Scorpion was a wreck looking for a place to rest. The Scorpion had a vibration problem. The Soviets may have played a part. The Minerve, Dakar, Eurydice, K129 and then the Scorpion sank and there might be a connection. You know what happened to Flight 19 and where the planes will be found. You also know what happened to the USS Cyclops and many other mysteries.

    OK, you reconfirm a Navy responsibility and a cover up. You reveal that the Scorpion material condition was poor. There was an ongoing vibration problem. The Soviets may have played a part. There might be a connection to other recent submarines lost. You also know answers to other mysteries.

    So now we have more clearly a Navy cover up that may include the Soviets and losses of other submarines. We also have an ongoing mechanical problem and a poor material condition of the Scorpion. And again perhaps a reference to a common link with other unsolved mysteries.

    In your fourth post 158 you said:
    “Admiral Shale [Schade] decided to get the Scorpion ready knowing she was in dire condition. He was hoping that by restricting her diving depth to four hundred feet she would hold together long enough to make it back to Norfolk in one piece. Scorpion departed in mid-February and hobbled around the Mediterranean with the vibrations in her stern getting worse day by day. She could not possibly spy on the Soviets in the Canary Islands. They would have heard roaring toward them from 200 miles away. Her condition was disastrous”.

    You went on to say: “This was just bullshit given out by the Navy to cover their own ass. There was even a false report that the sea was calm on 21 May. If you’ve ever sailed near the North Atlantic Ridge in May, you’d realize how unlikely calm seas are in this area. The wind is usually 20 to 25 knots of the NW, sea 6 to 8 feet with breaking whitecaps”.

    You also said: “The deception was far too heavy; but, this should have been expected from the US Navy who has NEVER EVER admitted blame for anything in over 200 years. The deception was the same with the loss of Flight 19. If the Navy had any brains that would realize that deception was easy to get away with 100 years ago, but things have changed now. The public is much more aware and a 1,000 times more sensitive to liars. The US Navy is destroy all its credibility by pretending not to know what happen to the Scorpion and to Flight 19”.

    You concluded: “In my opinion, the sinking of the Scorpion involves her wobbly shaft, severe metal fatigue in her tail section, flooding through several free-flooding valves, and the in-rush of seawater through the TDU that seeped into the battery space below. Yes, there was likely a battery explosion but this was not the root cause of the disaster”.

    OK, the material condition is disastrous. Vibrations were getting worse daily. The Navy is covering up for the Scorpion and other losses. The weather was probably worse than indicated. You now say severe metal fatigue, probably from the constant vibrations, in her tail section, flooding and a probable battery explosion, none which were the root cause of the disaster.

    I can now begin to reach a conclusion:
    The root cause is a somewhat rare intermittent natural phenomenon not previously mentioned with regards to the Scorpion.

    Scorpion was in disastrous material condition with severe metal fatigue in her tail section just waiting for some phenomena to push her over the edge.

    The root cause is some unexpected force applied to the Scorpion by this rare phenomena.

    The cover up, weather, conspiracies and other details help fill out a good fictional story, but are not necessary to draw a conclusion.

    My conclusion:
    Without specifically judging the quality of the information you provide, much of which is subjective, questionable, and circumstantial at best…

    The root cause is an underwater earthquake – a seaquake – that sent some form of seismic waves and/or created a methane bubble that input enough energy into Scorpion’s fatigued tail section to cause her hull to fail which resulted in the telescoping event and subsequently her loss and the loss of the lives of the 99 crewmembers.

    Or, perhaps there was some sort of rare weather phenomena that generated similar energy waves. I have no serious position on this thought.

    Depending on the frequency of the energy waves they may or may not have been detected by acoustic surveillance systems in place. A methane bubble may or may not have been detected as well.

    The rest of the information/misinformation is just story telling. However, this conclusion appears to be very close to the root cause that you are keeping to yourself.

    My Comments:
    Taken in detail is it plausible? probably not for many reasons. Taken on a case by case basis there may be some plausibility but much that is not. Mixing plausible fact and fiction does not make it true but might make an interesting fictional story.

    It is also plausible, perhaps apparent, that you are coming to this website to drum up interest in your book and subsequent sales.

    Out of respect for the crewmembers who gave their lives in a rather “hot” cold war and for their surviving families who still grieve; please do not publish a book that both disrespectful and insulting to them.

  161. D. Williams says:

    Harold said, “Out of respect for the crewmembers who gave their lives in a rather “hot” cold war and for their surviving families who still grieve; please do not publish a book that both disrespectful and insulting to them.”

    Harold… how is possible that the truth would insult them? The truth will insult the US Navy, not those that gave their lives. As for the families, I am sure they would love to hear the truth and not the lies they have been spoon-fed for decades.

    Good Luck,
    Don Williams

    • Harold Evans says:

      Don Williams,

      In this particular case regarding your novel, understand I am not criticizing you personally; however I am critical of the apparent posturing of this work.

      Truth is measured against an ethical standard. A novel is a fictional prose and has no moral need to tell the truth. A classic documentary is presented objectively without interjecting fiction and without editorializing

      It is obvious that this work is taking full advantage of and is conforming to a novel, a work of fictional prose and it seems that it might be framed in a format similar to a documentary.

      The problem is that at least in this blog this novel is presented to us as truth. In the previous posts it is clear that there will be much fiction mixed with truths and half truths. If there are credible references to support scientific claims and specific events please provide them. It also appears evident that it will contain what appears to be sharp if not bitter editorializing, which always has the potential of a lack of objectivity.

      So please, in this novel, a work of fictional prose, out of respect for the crewmembers who gave their lives in a rather “hot” cold war and for their surviving families who still grieve; do not publish a book that both disrespectful and insulting to them. Be upfront and forthright that this is a largely a fictional story based on an actual historic event.



  162. Ron Keller says:

    Well Mr. Williams,I for one look forward to your book and hope to pick up a copy. I have been following this thread for quit some time now. I am certainly no expert, such as the ones on this thread would seem to be. I do believe the Navy and ‘all’ branches of the service are more than capable of misrepresenting the truth. From the bottom all the way to the top. It just makes common sense to question an ‘official’ story without being considered unpatriotic or insensitive. Looking forward to a good (non-pc) read. Ron

  163. RK Alleman says:

    To D. Williams:

    Don, I think that’s your first name, I have read with interest all these challenging emails, I think they’re challenging, sent your way, and some my way, nearly demanding the ‘put up or shut up’ approach to whatever it is your book will eventually reveal. I have stated my position too many times to even bother trying to restate it. People will naturally believe or disbelieve what they will or won’t. It’s the nature of the beast. This Scorpion business and the rather energetic contributions of so many learned others tends to get contentious at times, but, again, what can you expect from a highly-charged issue based on a very sad and tragic event? For the record, if one was not on the inside of this affair, then that means there was no extended privilege for outsiders, regardless one’s affiliation with the Scorpion incident. I read all sorts of intelligent commentary from others who have gone to great lengths to say, show or prove one’s position, yet there is none among them who was in the ops at that time, as an insider to those operations. ASW, COMSUBLANT, CINCLANTFLT, among others, never would or could reveal everything that was known, or suspected about the incident. Not even the FOIA could wrest such information from these knowing others. Ergo, not all the reports were available for scrutiny, even for greater minds and talents like Mr. Johnson. The same with photographs. It is in my humble view the Navy Department’s discretion (along with the State Department) to handle the matter in their own clandestine or sensitive way. We know the reports of the Scorpion’s problems that might have led up to her unfortunate ending. We know the incapability of the Soviets at the time, particularly the sub fleet. We know there was a special order issued for the Scorpion to take a detour en route to Norfolk. We even know what some of that business was all about. But if not on the inside, the more complete details are not open to subject or review or anything. This is exactly what some contributors to both Scorpion sites are asking for. Frankly, they can’t have it. They were not part of the inside ops at the time. The Navy does not give permission to others who feel it’s their right and duty to reveal certain details, even though it might bring some comfort, some closure, some insider’s information that can make better sense of a situation that ultimately makes no sense. Why? Because the USS Scorpion was in no shape to handle that ops. She should not have been sent to spy on the Soviet activities, but needed to get back to the barn and get back in tune. Why would anyone in the Navy, regardless the customary fairness extended to one and all, be willing to admit a mistake of such magnitude happened? For the most part, our government in all its facets, especially with the military ops, does a good job standing by its “Protect and Serve” mandate. But sometimes there are events that just go awry. I am thinking of the latest scandal that involved another branch of the military, the Pat Tillman case, that clearly violates the trust of the Army and Congressional committee that completely mishandled this episode from start to finish. In short, a major coverup. And so far, the Army gets away with it. Multiply this brave Army Ranger by 99 crew lost in the Scorpion event. Was it also a coverup? Some say yes, some say no. The important thing is what do you think? What does anyone think? Based on the challenge of revealing all the dirty laundry, as facts, in this case, some of those commentators are right: it’s all conjecture until empirically proven. Well, yes and no. It’s also a matter of reports and photographs and mitigating circumstances that likely will never be told, simply because the government in its most clandestine levels doesn’t throw down that card. Meanwhile, publish your work, endure the snide comments, which I think some of them are snide, and put your cards on the table. I take it you have verifiable evidence to support your case and let’s see what the armchair jurors on these sites think. All the best. RK

    • D. Williams says:

      RK: Looks like I have to backtrack…. I’m finding mounting evidence in my own files that Scorpion was indeed diverted to a point off the Canary Islands. It is hard to believe she was sent on a spy mission because of the vibratory condition in her stern. The only imaginable situation in which she would have been sent in that direction is if the Soviets were indeed conducting seismic and other acoustic surveys near the Canary Islands. If so, the Soviets would not have heard her roaring toward them due to their own load noise. Obviously, what ever purpose she served by going south did not involve stealth.

      Maybe she was sent to the Canary Island but her mission was canceled as soon as she was finally able to communicate her mechanical condition. She was then order to hobble home.

      But this changes very little in my overall work.

      I still intended to spend a month in deep research before I finalized the final draft. Maybe I’ll find some more mistakes.

      Thanks… no I’m glad I made the post.

  164. D. Williams says:

    To Harold: Your condescending remarks are well taken. Thank you.

    To Ron; Thank you… I would carry this conversation much further now but its simply too soon. I made a mistake to even post to the group before the final draft of my book is ready. Sorry about that…

    To RK: First of all, I do not think the Navy knew for sure what happened to Scorpion until much later in the disaster. What they did when she came up missing all seems to be normal. There was only a few that were aware of her condition when she left Norfolk. Since she held together until days before her return, those that knew her condition thought that she would survived long enough to get home. The real cover up started about the time the investigation got underway. You also said, “We know there was a special order issued for the Scorpion to take a detour en route to Norfolk.” Would you please point me to the source? Do you know the date the special order was issued? Do you know whether Scorpion took the detour or not? Maybe she did not receive the order or maybe her captain offered up an excuse as to why she could not comply? It makes no sens to me whatsoever to believe Scorpion took off towards the Canary Islands on a secret spy mission. If she was order to go spying, it would seem reasonable that her captain protested such an order. He supposedly send a letter from Spain telling COMSUBLANT that her ability to preform her mission was in question unless she was given a new propeller. Why would he send such a letter from Spain if it were not to save his own ass in case of a catastrophic failure as a result of the serious vibratory condition in her stern?

  165. Bruce Rule says:

    D. Williams

    In posting 166 on this site, you stated the following: (quote) What I (say) with 100% confidence is that the wreck is not 400 miles SW of the Azores! That location is indeed a big fat lie (falsification). I’m even surprised you believe the navy would identify the wreck site.(end quote)

    COMSUBLANT message Date-Time-Group (DTG) 271946Z May 1968 provided the Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) with the following information on SCORPION extracted from SCORPION’s last message DTG 212345Z May 1968: position at 220001Z: 31-21N, 27-36W, course for the remainder of the transit to Norfolk, VA: 290 degrees; speed: 18-knots. ETA Norfolk: 271700Z (1300 EDT)

    The position of the wreck (32-55N, 33-09W) was derived from a time-difference fix that compared the arrival (detection) times of the pressure-hull collapse signal at Canary Island hydrophone A, and SOSUS arrays 3141 and 3131 near the Grand Bank, Newfoundland. That position was the basis for the search by the USNS MIZAR that located the wreckage.

    The wreck position lies 297 nautical miles from SCORPION’s 220001Z position of a bearing of 290 from that position which required a transit speed of 16.1 knots. So, SCORPION was lost while on her planned course of 290 and had been operating at a speed close to the planned value of 18-knots.

    If the position of Lajes (38-48N, 27-06W) is used as the position of the Azores, the position of the SCORPION wreckage (32-55N, 33-09W) lies 466 nautical miles southwest (bearing 221 degrees) Lajes.

    Does D. Williams care to comment on this information versus his stated belief that a SCORPION position (quote) 400 miles SW of the Azores is indeed a big fat lie (end quote)?

    Best regards,

  166. Bruce Rule says:

    D. Williams:

    I must add that there is NO connection between SCORPION and the K-129. That Soviet submarine was lost on 11 March 1968 while near 40-06N, 179-57E because three onboard explosions incapacitated the crew and allowed a dual missile launch training event to become the actual firing of both missiles within their launch tubes.

    Read AZORIAN, the CIA and the Raising of the K-129 by Norman Polmar and Michael White for a detailed discussion of the recovery
    operation and the acoustic data upon wnich the above assessment is based.

    Bruce Rule

  167. D. Williams says:

    Bruce… I retracted my statement in comment 165.1–but I’m not sure now that I should back down because your comments don’t make sense. If the position of the wreck was derived from the so called acoustic fix, why did it take the Navy 8 months to find it?

    • Bruce Rule says:

      The fix was the center of an ellipse that was about 3 nm by about 2 nm. That’s a lot of territory to search with the limited capability MIZAR had.

      The wreck was found of 28 Oct, that’s a little more than 4 months from the time MIZAR got on station, not 8 months.

      Have you read my one-star review of Offley’s SCORPION
      DOWN. For almost 25-years, Offley was obsessed with the theory the Soviets sank SCORPION and he listened only to those few who supported his theory to which he added the wild conjecture that ONI confiscated all SOSUS detections of an event that was never detected
      by SOSUS or the Canary Island hydrophones: an encounter with a
      Soviet ECHO-II Class submarine. Never detected because it never
      occurred. The review says it all. I suggest you read it carefully and remember Carl Sagan’s classic statement: extraordinary
      claims require extraordinary evidence.

  168. Bruce Rule says:

    D. Williams

    If you are entertaining the possibility SCORPION was lost due to undersea seismic activity, you should consider the following:

    – Sea-floor acoustic sensors (hydrophones), which are essentially geophones, are extremely sensitive to seismic activity. As previously stated, an exhaustic review of the Columbia University Hydroacoustic Station, Canaries acoustic data idenitied no even extremely low level (1-2 dB signal rise) energy attributable to any seismic source during a 23.4-hour period that included the time of the disaster. Only the precursor events and the 18+ main sequence acoustic events (the first of which was hull collapse) came from the deep-ocean to the west of the sensors.

    The SCORPION-associated acoustic events were detected by Canary Island hydrophone A, located at 26-36-48.8N, 18-01-02.1W at a depth of 3960-feet and by hydropnone D located 4.76 nautical miles to the east of A at 28-35–53.6N, 17-55-42.9W at a depth of 2574-feet. The bearing from D to A was 281-degrees. The sound travel time from A to D was 5.90-seconds. The measured difference in arrival times of all SCORPION signals, first at A and then at D, was 5.8-seconds which agrees with the correction made by applying the co-sine of the angle of 11-degrees to the “end-fire” value of 281-degrees (D to A).

    You should also be aware that the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatka submarine complex, one of the worlds largest submarine bases since at least the mid-1960s, is locate in one of the world’s most seismically active areas: on the Pacific Rim of Fire. In 1968, Petro was home base to almost 40 Soviet diesel and nuclear.submaines. Although there have been many hundreds of seismic events in the Petro and approaching areas in the nearly 50-years since the base became a major installation, none has resulted in the loss of a Soviet submarine.

    Be advised, as in the case of the K-129 lost because of missile-associated event, the Soviets make no attempt to hide search and rescue activities when they believe they have lost a submarine. All radio transmissions directly associated with search activities are in the clear.

    In the early 1970s, I was at the Adak, AK SOSUS station when a 4.5 seismic event occurred 30 miles south of the island. Although the Adak sea-floor sensor was more than 120 naurical miles from the epicenter, the acoustic spectrum received by the sensor was completely over-ridden below 50-Hz for about six-hours. Bottom line: any seismic event in the east-central Atlantic on 22-23 May 1968 would have been detected by the Canary Island hydrophones. NO SUCH EVENT OCCURRED.

    Again, save yourself a lot of effort and wait to read The Death of A Submarine in the North Atlantic, out this fall, which included six letters written to various naval activities including the ÇNO, COMSUBFOR and the DNI.. Yet again, in no way do I profit from sales of this book. My only objective has been to get the techically-based assessments of the SCORPION acoustic data into the public domain.

    Bruce Rule

  169. Bruce Rule says:

    Those who have read my one-star review of Ed Offley’s SCORPION DOWN know that my assessment is that there are very serious credibility problems with Offley’s contention in his book that a student at the Navy ASW Training Center in Norfolk, VA in 1982, viewed a tape that purportedly recorded a Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) detection of an “underwater dogfight” between SCORPION and an ECHO-II Class Soviet nuclear submarine that sank SCORPION with a torpedo.
    The review summarizes why, in my assessment, this tape could not have recorded a real event but was, instead, a composite of three separate (unrelated) detection events:
    1. A US nuclear submarine
    2. An ECHO-II Class Soviet nuclear submarine
    3. A torpedo

    Unfortunately, the tape has disappeared.

    For background, the purported detection of the dogfight by SOSUS hydrophone arrays in the western Atlantic would have involved detection ranges at least as great as 976 nautical miles, the distance from the SCORPION wreck-site (32-55N, 33-09W) to the closest SOSUS array – designated 3141 – which terminated at Argentia, Newfoundland.

    Earlier comments left on this thread state that the acoustic detection of SCORPION (on the tape) included a “bathtub effect.” The term bathtub is SOSUS operator slang for the appearance of a Lloyds Mirror multi-acoustic-signal-path effect (interference pattern) on a SOSUS lofargram which is a time (y-axis) versus frequency (x-axis) plot of the low-frequency acoustic spectrum.
    The Lloyds Mirror effect appears on a lofargram as a series of energy swaths separated by nulls, both of which gradually decrease in frequency as an acoustic target is detected approaching a sensor on a constant course. The nulls, which have a common (basic) spacing (separation) in frequency, are not multiples of a common frequency, i.e., they are not harmonically-related. They decrease in frequency until a target, maintaining a steady course, reaches the closest point of approach (CPA) to the sensor. The swaths and nulls then increase frequency/spacing as the target, still operating on a steady course, opens range to the sensor. Viewed over time, this pattern resembles a bathtub in that it has a frequency dip (the bottom of the “tub”) at CPA. The swaths represent detection of broadband energy from the target. (Such energy is rarely detected from US nuclear submarines at ranges in excess of 5-10 nautical miles.)
    If the depth of the acoustic sensor is known and the range to the target can be derived from a Doppler shift in the targets narrowband energy during CPA, then the spacing (in Hz) of the nulls (between the swaths) can be used to determine target depth.
    Essentially all detections of Lloyds Mirror (bathtub) effects from US nuclear submarines involve ranges of less than 10 nautical miles because, as noted above, they require detection of broadband energy. Air-dropped acoustic sensors (sonobuoys) are the almost exclusive source of Lloyds Mirror detections of US nuclears and most of the involved ranges are significantly less 2-3 nautical miles, often in the hundreds of yards.
    The statement in this thread that the SCORPION detection on the ASW Training School tape exhibited a bathtub effect establishes conclusively that the detection was NOT made by a SOSUS array at a range of one thousand nautical miles or more. Further, it is stated the acoustic sources that formed the bathtub were dropping in frequency. This could only have occurred if the target had been on a steady course and had significantly changed aspect relative to the sensor in a relatively short period of time, i.e., 10-20 minutes. Neither circumstance would be possible if the detection had occurred, as maintained by Offley, at ranges of 1000 nautical miles or more and had involved frequent course changes while involved in the purported underwater dogfight..
    As concluded in the book review, the ASW Training School tape was a composite of separate detection events with the most probable source of the SCORPION (or other 585/588 Class hull) detection from a sonobuoy at a range not greater than several nautical miles.
    Bottom line: the ASW Training School tape viewed in 1982 was a composite tape put together at the ASW Training School, probably for training purposes, but passed off to students – and one junior instructor as a real event. This conclusion further refutes the basic contention by Offley that a Soviet submarine sank SCORPION.
    There was no SOSUS detection of an underwater dogfight between SCORPION and an ECHO-II Class Soviet nuclear submarine nor was there any effort by the Office of Naval Intelligence to confiscate and destroy any such detection. Fifteen analysts with a total of 400 years of SOSUS experience signed off on that conclusion.
    SCORPION was lost because hydrogen produced by the main storage battery exploded at 18:20:44Z on 22 May 1968 instantly killing or incapacitating the entire crew. There was no one left to maintain depth-control. SCORPION slowly sank to a depth of 1530-feet where the pressure-hull collapsed at 18:42:34Z.

    There was no Soviet involvement, no SOSUS detection of an underwater dogfight with a Soviet nuclear submarine, no SOSUS detection of a torpedo, no explosions external to the SCORPION pressure-hull, and no deus ex machina. There was only a terrible accident (the battery explosion) that occurred while SCORPION was transiting the east central North Atlantic toward its home-port of Norfolk.

  170. Hurtig Lån says:

    Hurtig Lån…

    The USS Scorpion Buried at Sea…

  171. […] a Russian sub while spying on manuevers around Africa and was not really "lost at sea." The USS Scorpion Buried at Sea Reply With […]

  172. […] Ever hear of the USS Scorpion? I certainly don't what caused the demise of 800 but I tend to view the information our government provides us with skepticism. That's only prudent IMO. The USS Scorpion Buried at Sea […]

  173. Emil Levine says:

    As a senior analyst at the Navy Field Operational Intelligence Office (NFOIO), Undersea Warfare Group, NSA Complex, Fort Meade, MD, in 1968 I was dispatched to Lajes to direct collection against the several Soviet oceanographic ships and submarines conducting experiments in the Azores. I was selected by COMASWLANT based on my prediction of the event.

    We had three P3s and two Canadian ASW aircraft. The Soviet group was constantly under surveillance, so it was no surprise we were there.

    The activity was terminated when we got the SUBMISS and all aircraft were diverted to look for the Scorpion. I set up the first search pattern.

    Upon return to NFOIO, we conducted an extensive all-source study of the sinking. We could find no evidence of Soviet involvement. We worked closely with NAVSTIC, including Bruce Rule, who was number one in his field. We included input from SOSUS and the Air Force AFTAC acoustic system, and all NSA input.

    There were no Soviet surface combatants in the area. To suggest Scorpion was sunk by a Soviet surface combatant is ludicrous. (NFOIO tracked all Soviet shipping worldwide.)

    The books that are suggesting otherwise should appear in the fiction section of a library.

    Emil Levine
    Captain, USNR (RET)

  174. […] submarines are safe. Only two of the over 400 U.S. submarines used since World War II have sunk (a Russian sub may have sunk one of these two, so it may not exactly fit the peacetime definition). Some submariners have died of fires and other […]

  175. […] QUIVER is used to report the seizure, theft or loss of a nuclear weapon. The incidents in which the USS Scorpion submarine sank with two eleven kiloton Mark 45 nuclear torpedoes aboard, or the incident in which an A-4E Skyhawk […]

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  178. […] Offley, Ed. 26 August, 2009. Retrieved 5 April, 2012. The USS Scorpion Buried at Sea. […]

  179. […] The USS Scorpion Buried at Sea – History Net – Jerry L. Huffman 8/30/2009 . I will go to my grave believing that the Russians sank the USS SCORPION. I will never forget the “99” as long as I live. […]

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