Chapter Three

FIRE AWAY

 

He followed orders and none too soon as the Captain appeared with his cup of coffee in hand and a stern look on his face.

“Are we locked in position, chief?”

“Yes, Sir” he uttered.

The chief checked the coordinates put into RUR-5 ASROC by Bubba and double checked them for accuracy. There was no room for failure or missing their target.

RU-5 ASROC

RU-5 ASROC

The chief calculated the speed of the sub to be approximately forty-two knots underwater. He knew the speed diminished significantly if the sub was on the surface. The swiftness of the sub changed the position quickly.

“We’re now at seven thousand yards, sir,” the chief told the Captain.

“When you are at five-thousand yards, fire!  Do you understand me?”

“Yes Sir, at five-thousand yards fire.”

Bubba looked up at the chief and he knew what was next.

Bubba softly uttered the words, “Yes chief.”

He knew what this meant and knew he was about to press the button that would kill all one hundred sailors aboard the sub.  Oh my God, please help me to do the right thing, Bubba prayed to himself. He knew if he disobeyed orders, he could be court-martialed or put into the brig.

“Oh my God, please help me to do the right thing”, Bubba repeated to himself.  All his life he followed the principles laid down by his father.  But his job was to protect his country and now he was faced with going against his upbringing and performing his job.  He was torn apart by the need to protect his country and uphold his ethical beliefs.  He recalled his father’s words to keep the commandments.  The words from his father rang in his head; “thou shall not kill”. As he stared at the key he was about to turn, he wondered if he could do it.

The gap narrowed to six thousand yards, and every second the tension in the Sonar shack grew immensely.  They were about to sink a Russian submarine and kill one hundred Russian sailors!  Five thousand five hundred yards and closing in on the sub.

“Sailor, get ready to turn your key – are you ready?”

Bubba uttered the words he never thought he would say, “Yes chief, ASROC is locked on and ready to fire”.

The deck was cleared of all personnel, the alarm sounded warning of an imminent firing of Anti-Submarine Rocket.  All personnel was below at their muster stations.  Only those responsible for the commencement of the ASROC launch were at their stations and ready to initiate their keys to lock in an ASROC firing. As the chief gave the word, all three Naval personnel simultaneously locked in their keys. The tension mounted because they knew this was not a drill. Even though they practiced previously, they knew this was no practice shot and the results would be devastating.  The Captain watched as the sailors performed their tasks readying to fire. On the Captain’s command, each turned their keys that began the automatic sequence for firing the warhead aimed at the Russian submarine.  Now, only the Captain could stop the launch. He didn’t. As he gave the command to fire, his last words were, “God forgive us for what we are about to do.”

With the turn of the keys, the rockets were off!  Everyone was glued to the Sonar screen.   Sonar picked up the deployment of the parachute to slow down the torpedo for entry; then came the pulsating sound of the torpedo motor seeking its target.

“Confirmed hit” screamed the Chief.  “Submarine down, perfect launch”.

Silence fell over the Sonar shack.  They had a secret to keep and they knew only this small group of men knew it.  It was the burden they must carry the rest of their lives.

Bubba and Bob found their secret hide-a-way on the deck.  It was good to get away from the crowded spaces of the ship.  They could feel the cool breeze and fresh air on their bodies. Bob was just about to tell Bubba that he had feelings for the chief’s wife.  He wondered how Bubba would take it.  The biggest worry was could Bubba keep his secret?  They sat on the deck in their favorite corner when Bubba said to Bob, “The captain’s behind you”.

Yeah, yeah said Bob.  “Like hell, the Captain’s behind me, you are such a tease, Bubba”.

At that moment, Bob felt a tug on the collar of his work shirt. The tug was so hard that he found himself upright listening to a male voice stating, “I am your Captain sailor”.

Bob was so stunned that for once he was at a loss of words.  All three broke out in laughter as the Captain lowered Bob back down to the deck.

“Sailor, just remember, I am the Captain of the USS Lawrence Mathers.”

After the Captain left, Bubba looked at Bob and wondered if he could ever share his secrets with him.

 <<<<<< The Beginning | Next Chapter >>>>>>

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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