Sunday, December 09, 2018

CBS Sunday Morning on 9 December 2018: when was the USS Scorpion found?

Jane Pauley reported the top news story as the snow in North Carolina and Virginia.

The cover story, nominally about the Titanic, also involved the submarine USS Scorpion, which sank in 1968:

Unable to get science grants, he [Robert Ballard] asked Deputy Chief of Naval Operations Ronald Thunman if the Navy would help fund his project. "He said, 'All my life I've wanted to go find the Titanic.' And I was taken aback by that," Thunman recalled. "I said, 'Come on, this is a serious, top secret operation. Find the Titanic? That's crazy!'"

Thunman did say yes, but only if Ballard used the funds and the time to find two missing U.S. nuclear submarines – the Thresher and the Scorpion – which had sunk in the Atlantic in the 1960s.

"So, it was a deal – you'll let me do what I want to do, if I do what you want to do," Ballard recalled.

"Sounds like the real 'Hunt for Red October,'" said correspondent Chip Reid.
The focus of this mission was to find the Scorpion. The Navy didn't want anyone else, like the Russians, to find the submarine. "It was very top secret," Ballard said. "And so I said, 'Well, let's tell the world I am going after the Titanic.'"

The top secret part of the mission took longer than he expected, so when he found the Scorpion, and was finally free to look for the Titanic, he only had 12 days left. But his experience finding the Scorpion had been invaluable. "I learned something from mapping the Scorpion that taught me how to find the Titanic: look for its trail of debris," Ballard said.

Seeing this text, one might infer that the Scorpion had not been found by 1985, when Ballard did his work.

In fact, as wikipedia notes, the Scorpion was "found" in 1968:

At the end of October 1968, the Navy's oceanographic research ship Mizar located sections
of the hull of Scorpion on the seabed, about 740 km (400 nmi; 460 mi) southwest of the Azores,[15]
under more than 3,000 m (9,800 ft) of water. This was after the Navy had released sound tapes
from its underwater "SOSUS" listening system, which contained the sounds of the destruction of Scorpion.
The court of inquiry was subsequently reconvened, and other vessels, including the bathyscaphe Trieste II,
were dispatched to the scene, collecting many pictures and other data.

The U.S. Navy has acknowledged that it periodically visits the site to conduct testing for the release
of nuclear materials from the nuclear reactor or the two nuclear weapons aboard her, and to determine
whether the wreckage has been disturbed. The Navy has not released any information about the status
of the wreckage, except for a few photographs taken of the wreckage in 1968, and again in 1985 by deep water submersibles.

One notes the 2018 Sunday Morning cover story is basically a re-hash of a 2017 presentation by
National Geographic [ Titanic Was Found During Secret Cold War Navy Mission ]

In passing, the CBS Titanic story even had a Civil War allusion:

"You don't go to Gettysburg with a shovel. You don't take belt buckles off the Arizona," he replied.

There was a nice story about the relationship between Norman Mineta, a former Democratic Mayor,
Congressman and Cabinet member, and Alan Simpson, a former Republican Senator from Wyoming,
related to their meeting at a Japanese internment camp at Heart Mountain, Wyoming.
An interesting line by Simpson: "The word 'politics' is interesting because it comes from the Greek,
you know that? Poly, meaning many, and tics, meaning blood-sucking insects!"
Also, of reunions at Heart Mountain: "We don't talk of Scouts and tying knots.
We have organ recitals. How's your heart? Liver? These are called organ recitals!"

Almanac did the smog in London on December 9, 1952.

Moment of nature was puffins in northwestern Iceland.


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