A tribute to my dad “Thomas Marvin Autrey” aboard the Navy Destroyer USS McKean

Published on March 30, 2012 by

RANCHER (USS McKean)  SINKS RUSSIAN SUB IN 1950

  This one is reported in the book “Blind Mans Bluff – The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage” by Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew; “U.S. intelligence officials have long believed that a U.S. surface ship sank a Soviet sub that came close to an aircraft carrier attack force in 1950, early in the Korean War, according to two former intelligence officers. “The United States was so concerned that the Soviet Navy would try to help the North Koreans that surface ships were under orders to protect U.S. warships by depth charging any possible hostile submarines, and in this case, one force depth charged a suspected Soviet sub and then saw no signs that it had survived.”

 

McKean left Sasebo, Japan’s submarine nets only to find a surprise waiting for them, 3 Russian submarines waiting for bigger fish to fry. McKean was first to catch the waiting Russians on sonar, soon the Task force commander ordered USS McKean and USS Frank Knox to protect the Task Force. This story remained secret for 48 years, how the McKean helped sink a Russian submarine and recover top secret gear.

My dads account:

On our way out of Sasebo Harbor, Sonar picked up what appeared to be a Submarine.  Just outside the Harbor.  We were ordered to Depth Charge it.  There were several Destroyers with us and we all were throwing Depth Charges.  During the process a look-out on the bridge spotted a torpedo coming our way.  It passed a few feet in front of our bow, a very narrow miss.  Another time my Guardian Angel was there for me.  At that time my battle station was in that section of the ship.  No one was able to determine if the sub was sunk or not.  We returned to Port and picked up a double load of Depth Charges and dropped half of them on the submarine on the way out.  The Korean’s did not have any submarines so it was assumed that it was either Russian or possibly Chinese.  I don’t know if they ever discovered that information or not.

 

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