National Affairs: Death in the Night

With a task force of 22 other warships spread across the sea for miles around her, the aircraft carrier Wasp plowed east in mid-Atlantic one night last week, bound for sendee in the Mediterranean. In darkness she launched her planes over heavy seas for a combat exercise. At a little after 10 p.m., the Wasp turned into the wind to take her brood back aboard. With a crump of rending metal, the sheer bow of the 27,100-ton carrier crashed into the starboard side of the 1,630-ton destroyer-minesweeper Hobson.

Like the Wasp (the second carrier* and seventh U.S. naval vessel to bear the...

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