it was not a game...
Soviet Missile Ship Moskva at sea in the Mediterranean, ca. 1976
The Navy ordered me to
Italy to coordinate the
search and tracking of Russian submarines operating in the Mediterranean
Sea. It was 1975 and the
Cold War was in full swing.
The Mediterranean Sea was a seven-ring circus for the
United States Navy, because the whole war of
threats and counter-threats between the Union of
Soviet Socialist Republics and the
played out here, every day. United States
I was going to a job conducting around the clock airborne surveillance of the
Sea. At the time, the
Israelis and all the Arab countries around them were in a state of tension. Pretty much like today, except in those days,
the Soviet Union backed the Arab States, most African states, Albania, Yugoslavia
and the United States, as a
part of NATO, had bases in Italy,
Greece, Spain, Turkey
Like today, we backed Iran
in their confrontation with their Arab neighbors, and the Soviets. There were
many more little alignments, but always with the Russians taking one side and
the Americans the other. Israel
We were a part of the Sixth Fleet, operating in the
Mediterranean. That force included two aircraft carriers,
numerous destroyers, cruisers, patrol craft, ammunition and fueling ships,
land-based air patrol craft, and submarines.
The Soviets also deployed a fleet of missile cruisers, destroyers and submarines in the
Today, with the benefit of hind-sight, it is hard to imagine the tension between all these ships and aircraft operating here, but when you consider that both sides went to sea loaded with all kinds of nuclear and conventional weapons, and even a small misunderstanding between forces of the
could have disastrous consequences. And-- all those client states were continually
cooking up minor and major incidents that could drag the whole world into war. USA
My job was to use my experience in submarines and destroyers to work with naval aviators in searching for Russian submarines. We employed land-based maritime aircraft and airborne early warning planes, and we coordinated with the antisubmarine elements aboard the carriers, and their escorting destroyers. We shared our headquarters with the staff that coordinated American and NATO submarine operations.
Often I would fly out to
Rota, Spain, or to ,
where our aircraft were based, and join them on one of their 12-hour
missions. Sometimes I’d be taken on a
COD (carrier onboard delivery) plane to land on one of our carriers, to take
part in a coordinated antisubmarine warfare operation, which involved Sixth
fleet carrier aircraft, our land-based patrol aircraft, as well as destroyers
and submarines, all tracking a Soviet submarine, with or without the
interference of the Soviet surface warships in the area. Sigonella, Sicily
Our submarine crews became quite skilled at picking up a Soviet submarine out in the Atlantic and trailing him into the
Mediterranean. Sometimes we’d organize a squadron of
destroyers with sophisticated towed sonars aboard, and they would coordinate
with our submarines and aircraft to track the Russian.
At times Soviet surface warships would show up and get right in the middle of our tracking operation.
One day we were conducting a large operation that used carrier-based air, destroyers and land-based air to track a Soviet nuclear missile submarine. This type of submarine carried anti-ship missiles, and the Soviets positioned them to attack our aircraft carriers.
We had tracked him to the Central Mediterranean, just west of Crete and south of western
. One of our towed array frigates, USS Voge
(FF-1047) was tracking him closely when sailors on the frigate noticed that the
submarine had popped up and was behaving like a porpoise, speeding, still
submerged, but with her periscope sticking up, and then part of her sail. She was heading right at the frigate! Greece
USS Voge displaced about 2600 tons, but this submerged monster displaced as much as 5700 tons, and she was traveling at a speed of about 18 knots.
Here’s a photo someone aboard Voge shot, just before the submarine collided:
Photo taken from deck of USS Voge as Soviet submarine
collides at sea off
28, 1976 Greece
Soviet Photo of nuclear submarine K-22
after collision with USS Voge 8-28-76
You can see considerable damage to the sail of the Russian submarine, and there was also damage to the hull of Voge, so she had to go into drydock in
shortly afterward. One sailor aboard
Voge was injured. Toulon, France
Some fine people will read the foregoing here in the year 2011, and say, “how stupid you all were to be playing with the lives of all of us like that!” Since the Cold War began right after World War II ended, up until the
collapsed in 1991, we lived in a world of continual tension.
The Soviets tried very hard to grab up as much territory as they could as World War II ended, and countries that they couldn’t swallow up then they worked hard with elements in those countries to create Communist regimes.
We had just defeated
Germany, Japan and to keep ourselves from being
swallowed up by fascist forces, and now the Communists wanted to take over the
They had a lot of successes, and if we had ever “relaxed” and let the Russians, the Red Chinese, and the communist states in Czechoslovakia, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Albania, Rumania, Cuba, Poland and elsewhere have their way, they might have succeeded.
We weren’t “playing”, and neither were the Russians.
Here are some books and papers that The Personal Navigator would like to offer you:
Abdul Buhl: The Chronicles of Abdul Buhl by Leslie F. Deacon, Illustrations by Polly Hill ca. 1948. These are the timeless adventures of Abdul Buhl the terrible, and Morbhid Dhung, his man, told in verse. Charmingly illustrated by Polly Hill, Adul and Morbhid cross a desert, go out to sea, meet some Amazons, including Sweet Ahlmad Buhl, from Abdul's clan. They encounter Whirling Dervishes, Attila's Huns, sail back over the sea to Araby the Fair. [Author believed to be the same L.F. Deacon b. 1913 who served in the RAF in World War II and taught at Tanglin in Singapore after the war, then moved to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and then South Africa.] 23 pp. 13.5 x 23.8 cm. Green suede leather cover, text block loose from binding, poor. (8200) $39.00. Poetry
Russo-Japanese War Commemorative Post Cards, 1905
Portsmouth Navy Yard Peace Conference 1905-- Set of five post cards commemorating Russo-Japanese War Peace Conference 1905
: First National Bank. Set of
five postal cards commemorate the Russo-Japanese War Peace Conference sponsored
by President Theodore Roosevelt. Two cards show participants: Sato, Takahira,
Komura, Otchai and Adachi for Portsmouth,
and Korostovetz, Navohoff, Witte, DeRosen and Plancon for . Another
card shows inset pictures of Czar Nicholas, the Mikado and President Roosevelt. 5 cards 13.7
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and one printed post card, all very good. (8202) $45.00. History Russia
Art Metal Steel Office Furniture and Filing Supplies, 1915 No. 757 1915
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Features of Art Metal Files--why they excel. File Drawers, Upright Units,
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booklet, cellophane tape repairs to spine, good. (8199) $28.00. Advertising Jamestown,
Boston Weekly Journal, Boston, Mass., Thursday Morning, February 25, 1869 Boston, MA: Charles O. Rogers, 120 Washington St. Dispatch from St. Louis reports that all of the Kiowas except four or five lodges have come in to make peace, and will at once be assigned reservations. Kiowas have been the most troublesome and hostile of the frontier tribes. Part of the Arapaho and
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assignment ot reservations. Gen. Cushing met with success in negotiations with
the Government of Colombia for the right to construct an inter-oceanic canal
across the Isthmus of Darien. Discussion about the way that the
President-elect, General Grant, is going about forming his Cabinet. Meager information from Cheyenne indicates
that troubles there are daily becoming more serious, and both the Spanish
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outbreak. Bands of insurgents are making
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Shipmate, The Eyes and Ears of the Navy; Publication of the
United States Naval
Academy Alumni Association, September 1945 1945
Harry W., Managing Editor. England Annapolis, MD:
Naval Academy Alumni Association. Victory and Industrial Issue: End of World
War II came as a surprise to editorial staff, so they rushed to include "The Sinking of the Rising Sun"
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Story of new USNA Superintendent, first Naval Aviator to take post, Vice
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alumni, first entry is from Col. Harry Hawthorne, Class of 1882. Names of naval officers mentioned in this
issue is an honor roll of naval heroes of World War II and afterward. 104 pp.
21.7 x 29.3 cm. Magazine, moderate wear, good. (6229) $35.00. World War
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