The problem with reading books like Sewell’s Red Star Rogue, Dunham’s Spy Sub and Craven’s The Silent War is that you’re inexplicably drawn into the story of the Soviet Golf II submarine that was lost in 1968 and the subsequent accounts that follow and are left with an increasing amount of questions after each page.
Everything that’s written about the Soviet submarine, the submariners that lost their lives, the search and discovery by the HALIBUT and then the infamous Project Jennifer has to be taken in with a healthy dose of skepticism and the eventual acknowledgement that regardless of how badly you may wish for it, the full truth will never be revealed to you.
The details of the actual events that unfolded over the course of seven years and that still reverberate through both the military and intelligence community to this day are blurred by time, disinformation and outright lies. Some people might argue that these lies are necessary in order to preserve national security or the reputations of those involved at higher levels.
But what about the Soviet submariners and their families; what about honoring their sacrifice? And what about the efforts of the U.S. submariners aboard the HALIBUT that found them? Is protecting 40-year-old national security more important than openly honoring these men?
I’m reminded every so often why it’s called the Silent Service when my non-qual puke questions seem to fall off the edge of cyberspace when I post them in the usual forums. When I look at my unanswered post sit idle and eventually fall off the boards, at first I think that maybe no one was interested and that I’d finally found a way to ask a truly stupid question that wasn’t worth answering. Then I realize what it is that I had asked and who I had asked it to. All that crap about OpSec, top secret and need-to-know do actually have meaning. Who wants to be fined or imprisoned because they answered some NQP’s question that was posted on the internet?
They don’t call it the Silent Service for the sheer hell of it, that’s for sure.
But that doesn’t make it any easier to silence the questions that get kicked up from reading about the Soviet missile boat or the SCORPION. Those questions and doubts just seem to hang there, waiting to find a home - kind of like the souls of lost submariners.
I try to quiet my questions and doubts with the half-ass belief that someday, in my lifetime, the truth of Cold War incidents like this will see the light of day. That all of the puzzle pieces will be there, laid out and only waiting to be fitted together by anyone interested enough to care. And with the truth known, those that deserve the recognition will be honored in the way they should and the sailors on Eternal Patrol can at last find peace and return home.