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USS Scorpion


Nuclear-powered, fast attack submarine, SKIPJACK class.

Dan Rogers reported for duty aboard the Scorpion on Jan. 29, 1967, having enthusiastically volunteered for the elite nuclear submarine service after serving aboard the nuclear-powered surface ship USS Bainbridge. He expected to find the Scorpion being rebuilt by the Norfolk Naval Shipyard's civilian workers. Instead, he walked into a maelstrom of activity as the Scorpion's sailors worked two grueling six-hour shifts every 24 hours to recondition the submarine with little shipyard help.

Machinist's mates had to fabricate their own spare parts because of shortages; work was slipshod. Rogers once was ordered to weld a bookcase onto the submarine's hull—the crew's protection from the crushing depths—without proper authorization.

Rogers didn't realize the pressures his officers were under to keep the submarine combat-ready with limited resources. "We called the Scorpion the 'USS Scrapiron,'" he said. "You'd spend the entire day working on equipment, and it was still in bad shape. We were giving the thing an overhaul without spare parts."


29 Dec 1959 The USS Scorpion launched.
15 Feb 1968 The USS Scorpion departs Norfolk Naval Base.
22 May 1968 Six months after receiving the cheapest, fastest repair job in US Navy history, the USS Scorpion sinks in the mid-Atlantic, 400 miles southwest of the Azores. All 99 lives are lost.
27 May 1968 The USS Scorpion fails to return to Norfolk Naval Base.
2 Jun 1968 The USS Scorpion is officially "presumed lost."
30 Jun 1968 The USS Scorpion is officially struck from the list of Navy vessels.

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