For years, it was rumored throughout the Submarine Force that USS Tautog (SSN-639) had collided with, and sunk, a Russian submarine that it was trailing in the late '60s. With the publication of Blind's Man Bluff, the story came out in the open -- the authors had tracked down Russians who had claimed to be crewmembers on the "Black Lila", the sub with which Tautog had collided. It turned out that the Russian boat had made it back to port, and many of them thought the Tautog had sunk.
Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, was the site of a recent reunion of USS Tautog crewmembers.
"Jerry Day was the medic on board the Tautog. He was asleep in his bed when the Black Lila hit the Tautog belly-first.
"It knocked me out of bed," he says. "I ran up to the control room and met the captain in pajamas. I checked for injuries among the crew, but there were only a few bruises. I remember thinking we were lucky, and then we were hauling ass out of there."
"My concern for the first 12 hours was that they'd come after us," he says. "We were making an awful noise underwater. Our captain was one of the best, and he took it all. But I don't believe he was responsible."I mean, as captain, he was. But I don't believe it was his fault."
"When it was all over, the Tautog's crew took inventory. The crash had crumpled its sail, bent one of its two periscopes, and sent a chunk of the Russian ship's propeller into the upper hatch of the Tautog's tower."
It's a good story of old shipmates getting together... check it out.