Armed Forces: Underneath in the Ethan Allen

Through the icy, grey-green waters of Scotland's Holy Loch, past the Argyll highlands and into the North Atlantic slipped the nuclear-powered SSB (N) 608—more popularly known as the U.S. submarine Ethan Allen. From the wind-whipped surface it nosed silently into the world beneath, a world where time itself hung motionless. Aboard were 16 Polaris missiles—with a total destructive power greater than all the bombs exploded in World War II. The Ethan Allen, on what its captain called "a full wartime footing," was setting out on its regular 60-day patrol.

Of the U.S.'s nine deployed Polaris submarines, the Ethan Allen and...

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