In the years immediately following World War II, the United States was confronted with an ill equipped submarine force unprepared to face the new challenges of the Cold War.In response to the emerging threat, the United States Navy developed the Skipjack class of nuclear powered submarines.Among thefirst Skipjack models was the USS Scorpion (SSN 589) and was designed primarily for anti-submarine warfare against the Soviet sub fleet.It carried a special team of Russian linguists specifically to translate intercepted Russian naval communications.It was very fast, stealthy and durable.Yet with all these strengths, the United States lost contact with the USS Scorpion on May 22, 1968.Much confusion ensued and many asked how a state of the art submarine could essentially explode on its way home; the answer is that it didn't.The USS Scorpion was sunk by a Soviet torpedo and was subsequently covered up by the United States and Soviet militaries in order to preserve the countries relationship and to avoid escalating the already passionate Cold War.
On May 17, 1968, the USS Scorpion was on its way home after a three month deployment when an encrypted signal ordered the submarine to conduct surveillance and reconnaissance on a group of Soviet ships lurking off the southwest coast of the Canary Islands.A review of recently unclassified Navy documents proves this assertion.Captain W.N. Dietzen said " 'we recognized the high desirability of getting…over there and taking a look at them [the Soviets],' Dietzen said. 'I was salivating in the [Pentagon] corridors to find out what they were doing'" (Offley 3).Although the Navy has yet to declassify the information obtained from the Scorpion's surveillance mission, from what has been leaked, the Russian's were developing a way to support warships and submarines at sea without the need for foreign seaports or refueling depots.The U….