National Geographic : 1965 Feb
Charging across the green fields of Okinawa, Marines practice a bold concept of airborne assault known as vertical envelopment. Helicopters airlifted them from a carrier in the Pacific and set them down deep behind "enemy" lines. Third Division Marines train here for any possible landing in troubled Southeast Asia. antisubmarine helicopter); controlled from its mother destroyer, it drops homing tor pedoes or depth charges. The Navy has nine antisubmarine carriers on duty. Their Douglas A-4C jets serve as interceptors against air attack. In this SEATO exercise, units of the United States, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Thailand per formed in near-perfect coordination. I spent the night listening to the submarine hunt, re ported in laconic Navy jargon: "This one's a sinker," comes the pilot's voice over the radio. "I've got a surface con tact and he's going down." A destroyer knifes through the sea at 30 knots to the contact area, and its sonar picks up the submarine. Now it begins dropping depth charges-small, harmless, practice ones-and brackets the pinned-down sub. Inside, her crew hears them exploding. 174 The submarine's commanding officer sends up a green rocket; his ship is dead. Before the night is out, says Yorktown's captain, we have killed all the enemy submarines. "How about us?" I ask. "Did they score any hits on us?" "We were sunk a couple of times," he says. Nuclear Subs "Fly" While Submerged I have nothing but admiration for our sub mariners. It goes back to the day I boarded the nuclear attack submarine Skipjack at New London, Connecticut, for a training cruise. I had been down before, but never in a nuclear sub, whose driving power could keep her under the ocean almost indefinitely. I wasn't nervous as we submerged, per haps because everyone else was so calm. Skip jack's operation soon engrossed me, and I was struck by the fact that a submarine has much in common with an airplane: It flies. The bow wave created by a surface ship restrains the vessel and affects its motion.