The USS Scorpion (SSN 589) was an American nuclear submarine that was lost at sea May 22, 1968 with all 99 crew members on board. The incident remains one of the biggest mysteries in the history of naval warfare, as the exact cause of the submarine’s sinking has never been determined.
The USS Scorpion was commissioned in 1960 and was part of the U.S. Navy’s Atlantic Fleet. It was known for its state-of-the-art technology, including a nuclear reactor and high-tech sonar and communication systems. On May 20, 1968, the submarine set sail from Norfolk, Virginia, on a routine mission. A few days later, it was reported as overdue and was officially declared missing on June 5th.
Several search and rescue missions were launched in an effort to locate the missing submarine, but they were unable to find any trace of it. The United States government initially believed that the submarine had been hit by a torpedo fired by a Soviet submarine, but this theory was later discredited.
In October of 1968, the U.S. Navy finally located the wreckage of the USS Scorpion on the ocean floor about 400 miles southwest of the Azores. The discovery confirmed that the submarine had indeed sunk, but it did not explain why. An extensive investigation was conducted to try to determine the cause of the sinking, but it was ultimately inconclusive.
Theories about the sinking of the USS Scorpion range from a malfunction in the submarine’s power or propulsion systems to a torpedo explosion or even a deliberate attack. Some experts have speculated that a fire or a structural failure could have caused the submarine to sink, but there is no solid evidence to support these theories.
The Navy’s official explanation for the sinking of the USS Scorpion was that an internal malfunction caused a torpedo to detonate and sink the submarine. However, this theory has been criticized by some experts who argue that the evidence does not support this conclusion.
The loss of the USS Scorpion had a profound impact on the U.S. Navy and the submarine community. It led to significant changes in submarine safety procedures, including improved firefighting and damage control measures and increased training for submarine crews. The incident also highlighted the need for better submarine rescue capabilities, which led to the development of more advanced deep-sea rescue vehicles.
The USS Scorpion incident remains one of the most mysterious and intriguing events in the history of naval warfare. Despite decades of investigation, the exact cause of the sinking remains unknown, and the loss of the submarine and its crew remains a somber reminder of the dangers and uncertainties of naval operations.
In conclusion, the USS Scorpion incident was a tragic event that continues to capture the imagination of military historians and the public alike. The loss of the submarine and its crew was a reminder of the dangers of submarine operations and the importance of continued research and innovation to improve the safety and reliability of naval vessels. Despite the many theories and investigations that have been conducted over the years, the exact cause of the sinking of the USS Scorpion remains a mystery.
22 May 2023 at 10:38
I was on the NSGDet on the USS Shangri-La (CVA-38) in the western Med and remember listening intently on the emergency frequencies during the silent periods for comms from the Scorpion at the time. Then CTR2 TAD from Rota.
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22 May 2023 at 15:01
I was active duty then based at Cheltenham, MD. We were given all their frequencies of transmission, but never intercepted any from the Scorpion. I know attack by a Soviet submarine is discredited; but that could have been a cover up. Revealing that could have led to nuclear war.
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