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Vance Walton | all galleries >> Naval Museums >> Naval Museums Galleries >> USS Yorktown In Chatleston S.C. > USS Clagmore SS 343
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USS Clagmore SS 343

USS Clagmore SS 343

Canon EOS 20D
1/125s f/9.0 at 22.0mm iso200 full exif

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Guest 12-Feb-2011 01:25

It was the time of the cold war; the cover story was that we were participating in a NATO training exercise. We were three submarines operating in Wolf pack fashion for the first time since World War II. The exercise was we would go to a predetermined area of the north Atlantic dive and evade NATO surface ships. We were to stay within a certain operating area and the surface ships would try and find us. It was ASW practice.
They never found us, once we dove we left the area to conduct our real mission, spying, we were to lay off the entrance of a Soviet port, record the screw noises and radio traffic, and try to identify the vessels going in and out of the port. We carried three extra men who were not part of the ships company that did the recording and directed the operation. We stayed undetected for 30 days coming up to periscope depth to take pictures, and at night to snorkel and recharge the batteries. Sometimes you could hear the noise of a ship passing overhead right through the hull, there were tense moments. When the patrol was over and we were still alive we put into Portsmouth England for three days of liberty and to refuel and resupply. We had just left England, on our way back to New London Connecticut.
Once we got out to sea we prepared for our trim dive. My diving station was to man the sound powered phones in the after battery were the galley is. Once the dive started it got out of control very quickly, the bow and stern planesman could not control the down bubble and the angle of the dive continued to increase until it was around 30° it was surreal to be standing on the deck looking through the open hatch into the next compartment and seeing the extreme angle at which we were descending. The Captain came running out of his room in his underwear, and started giving orders, blow the main ballast tanks, blow safety tank, blow negative tank. Maneuvering room full reverse. There was complete silence in the control room as we all watched the depth gage. We passed 400 feet the deepest this boat was designed to operate. At 600 feet the numbers stop. There is a little peg that sticks out. The needle was against the peg when full reverse and positive bouncy started to take effect. We were going up, backwards and with extreme speed, like a cup filled with air held upside down underwater and then released we exploded stern first out of the water. Sea sawed stern first back down, then popped up again. The north Atlantic sail did not have time to drain so we flopped over flat on our side. I was standing on the floor lying on my back against the wall looking up at the wall across from me, two toasters fell out of their holders fell across the room from port to starboard and landed on either side of me bang bang. Within a few seconds the sail drained and the sub righted itself. And we were still alive. After a quick check showed no major damage we cranked up the diesels and continued on. It was determined that The engineer failed to take into account the weight of the 92,000 gallons of diesel fuel we took on in Portsmouth when he was making his pre dive calculations.
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