National Affairs: Phantom from the Deep

The night of Dec. 27, 1951 fell black and squally over Formosa Strait. Through the choppy waters, the U.S.S. Higbee, a 2,425-ton radar-picket destroyer, steamed cautiously on patrol. Her skipper, Commander Verner J. Soballe, dozed fitfully in his sea cabin. But the Higbee was alert. Men on watch stood by the five-inch guns, and down below soundmen listened intently for signs of prowling enemy submarines.

Shortly before midnight, the Higbee's sonarman sat up straight before his dials and scopes. Through the earphones came an unmistakable, high-pitched whine. He punched a floor switch with his...

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