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Remembering Scorpion, May 1968


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Let us remember another sub loss that came thirty-nine years after the Squalus went down of the isles of shoals.




It is May 1968, the nuclear powered USS Scorpion (SSN-589) is on the return leg of a deployment cruise to the Mediterranean. The Scorpion is the third of six Skipjack-class submarines built for the US Navy between 1956 and 1961. Scorpion has been in service since it's commissioning on July 29th 1960. On this voyage it carries 101 officers and men.



Selected photographs from the US Navy's NHHC online collection showing what are believed to be the last known photos of Scorpion, taken in April 1968 while alongside USS Tallahatchie County in the Mediterranean:






Two members of the crew departed the submarine at the US Naval Station in Rota, Spain. Scorpion now headed into the Atlantic carrying 99 men. On May 27th, 1968 the submarine was declared overdue.



A massive search operation was launched that finally located Scorpion's broken hull in October 1968. Numerous theories have been put forth for the loss, but none have been proven. It is generally accepted that Scorpion sank after suffering a technical failure/mishap of sort. As with anything that lacks proof-positive, Scorpion's loss is the subject of many theories.





Scorpion's Sail in 1986, and below in 1968.




What is known, is that 99 men were lost and remain on eternal patrol. They should be remembered as having died in their country's service. RIP Scorpion.

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Patchcollector, thank you for posting the link, and also for remembering.


46 years ago today Scorpion failed to arrive at home port.

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  • 11 months later...
  • 1 month later...

I read an interesting book on the Scorpion a couple of years ago. The true story ...as the book goes and there is thorough documentation... is that the Scorpion lost at at game of cat and mouse with a Soviet operation designed to lure the sub into a trap as payback for the Soviets believing that we were responsible for the loss of a Soviet crew.


I believe the book is entitled, SCORPION.


Highly recommended.

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I have three different books on the Scorpion that came out within a couple of years of each other. It's interesting how the different authors use essentially the same sources and come to different conclusions. The more controversial of course is that it was sunk by the Soviets. The more conventional that it suffered a mechanical issue that caused the sinking. One of those I doubt will ever know for sure events.

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