Race for the Black Box

The U.S. sailors crisscrossing the northern reaches of the Sea of Japan last week had a name for the risky face-offs: "chicken of the sea." The seamen were aboard a seven-ship U.S. task force that was systematically sweeping a 350-sq.-mi. area of the cold, choppy international waters slightly more than twelve miles from the Soviet Union's Moneron Island and 100 miles northeast of Japan. Hard by the U.S. ships—and sometimes directly under their bows—was a fleet of as many as 40 Soviet vessels, including a missile cruiser, oceanographic ships, trawlers and specialized salvage...

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