“Fire ASROC.” I said, surprised at the way my voice lurched. On the O-1 level amidships, the launcher fired and a rocket streaked away from the ship.
At six miles, a small explosive bolt fired, and the warhead separated from the now-empty rocket. A small parachute retarded the fall of the warhead as it hit the water and began to sink. While this was happening, the ship turned back to the east and accelerated to our maximum speed. With the damage, we could only reach forty knots, but that would have to be enough.
Under the water, four subs passed the spot where the depth charge had hit the water, unaware that their doom was now descending to five hundred feet. They were a mile past that point by the time the depth bomb had reached five hundred feet. Another six subs had closed to within two miles of that point as well as they joined the hunt for our fleeing ship. None of them had any more than a moment’s warning as the depth charge exploded at the prescribed depth.
In the flash of an eye, two square miles of ocean were evaporated in nuclear fire. Ten of the attacking subs were vaporized in that explosion, their crews never even knowing what happened to them. We would later find out that there were another ten submarines in the area. They were all destroyed by the pressure change as the ocean rushed in to fill the hole left by two square miles of evaporated ocean. A tidal wave formed and raced out in all directions.
We were running fast and hard, but not fast or hard enough. The wave had subsided to twenty feet in height by the time it hit us. The stern of the ship was pushed under water and the entire ship shook with the impact. For a moment, I thought we were going to break apart, but we emerged unscathed, although for a moment, eighty percent of the ship had been underwater.
A side effect was that most of the fires in the forward superstructure were put out, but we lost sixteen crewmembers overboard. (from chapter 39 of Do Over, © by Daniel R. Kirk Jr. Considering the length of the full story and the purpose of posting this excerpt, I certify that its use satisfies “fair use” criteria.)