Oil & Energy Investor by Dr. Kent Moors

Part III: America’s First Spy Sub

by | published November 10th, 2018

Chapter IV: When Heroes Shine

Benitez wanted to avoid abandoning ship. Indeed, his goal was to get the wounded crewman over to Tusk – which could then race ahead and get the men to a hospital in Hammerfest, Norway. 

Down below, the fires continued to burn. Toxic gases continued to climb up out of the submarine. By now, 57 men were crammed into the sub’s “sail” or onto the bridge with Capt. Benitez – again, an area designed to hold only seven. The sub commander was freezing: He’d given his jacket to one man, his sweater to another and his shoes to a third – Lt. Frank Clifford Jr., who only put them on after Benitez made it an order.

Down below – in the very back of the sub, the one spot the flames and fumes hadn’t reached – Hubert T. “Doc” Eason ministered to Wright, the horribly burned XO.

On the bridge, Capt. Benitez was drawing on every leadership trick he’d learned as a war hero, the authors wrote in Blind Man’s Bluff.

“Benitez kept talking to his men, encouraging them, asking them to just hang on,” the authors recalled. “The CO was calling upon every moment he had spent in the war, when he had crouched silently among another crew as their sub was depth-charged. If he was showing his aristocracy now, it was an aristocracy of sheer valor, and he was impressing even the hulking, red-headed Celt [Austin], who stood at his side.”

All afternoon, Benitez told his men over and over that they were nearing Norway – were in fact only three hours away. Four hours later, he repeated the promise. The crew knew he was lying – knew he was trying to lift their spirits – and they loved him for it.

The boat commander still believed he could beat the fire.

But he was wrong.

Part II: America’s First Spy Sub

by | published November 9th, 2018

The plan was to park a submerged Cochino about 12 miles off Norway’s Northern coast – roughly 150 miles from Russia’s big military concentration in and around Murmansk. At that time, Red Austin would try to zero in on Soviet missile tests.

By recording telemetry signals, the Pentagon figured it could better gauge how close Russia was to getting nukes, could understand launch and control procedures, and could better-design missile defenses.

But U.S. military leaders also knew they were swimming blind. The Pentagon had absolutely no idea whether any missile tests were scheduled to be run during Cochino’s mission. As was often true of the time, it was just a guess.

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