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USS Valador


“0845 fired ASROC to starboard. Successful flight. 0849 Sighted green smoke flare bearing 290. 0857 Submarine surfaced with ASROC torpedo lodged in sail.”
February 3, 1961.

USS Valador with our Asroc missile sticking out of it's side, 1961.

Note from Message Board :

August 31 2003 by C. G. Farnham

Golfing buddy, former XO VOLADOR, says it was a Mk 46 exercise torpedo (ASROC version) that impaled the SS. Seems it could have been a Mk 44, since the replacement Mk 46 did not enter TECHEVAL until 1962, production in 1963, and fleet introduction until 1964. Source indicated that the event occurred after the torpedo acquired but then failed to cut out as intended in exercise shots. There may be more detailed descriptions of the event available from those on board KING at the time. CGF, XO 1964-65

email to Webmaster from Ray Marshall:

November 27, 2003

The picture of the torpedo in the sail of the Valador note
submitted by the XO suggests that those onboard at the time might have more definitive info. As I recall Dave Nesbitt was on the stack at the time of the actual shot. Harry Pate and Tom McKinney were at the fire control console that actually took the shot. Dave had relieve me on the stack shortly after we gained contact and I was manning the UQC, (Gertrude the underwater telephone).

As the sub surfaced and we came along side the two skippers chatted via bull horns and I distinctly remember CDR Bustard telling their Skipper, after he told our CDR that they were okay, we were actually aiming at the zero!

email to Webmaster from Dave Nesbitt:

October 21, 2004

To amplify what was written; the torpedo was a Mk 44 (not 46). Normally the Mk 44 had cut-off switches in it to prevent the torpedo from striking the sub and it had a limited run time. Our torpedo was slightly different, we had a NOSOPAC Technician onboard at the time that asked the question; "that sub is rigged for impact, isn't it?". When he got an affirmative response, he went into the torpedo and bypassed the cut-off switches and while he was there, he extended the run-time by 3 additional minutes.

We had all kinds of problems that day, the sonar kept breaking down, the sonar conditions were poor, we could not hold contact on the sub except at close range. ASROC required a minimum range of 1000 yds, so when we would open up to a 1000 yds, we would lose contact. With these poor ranges and problems with sonar, Capt. Bustard was getting slightly impatient, and would call down to sonar frequently to give us words of encouragement (LOL).

Finally, in desperation we picked up the sub on one ping, beyond a 1000 yds, and immediately started feeding the information to the computer, by the third ping the computer had a solution, we fired the ASROC on the fourth ping, and on the fifth ping the sonar broke down! We had announced to the Valador that we had a torpedo (BLOOD HOUND) in the water and a few minutes later the sub reported that he had heard nothing of our torpedo. A few seconds later he called to say he was coming to the surface "Emergency" and believed he had our torpedo on-board! The rest is history.


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