Three Words and Thirty Minutes Imagine your life flashing before you. What you had yesterday, you might not have today. Your loved ones you had a conversation with and were able to see days ago, might have been the last time you might ever talk to them and see them. All of this happens within minutes and without any warning. Put yourself in the position of someone who has to question if they will be able to see the sun rise the next morning; like myself. Early in the morning of October 25, the US Tang shot its twenty-third torpedo. It went exactly as planned. It fired to and its path was going straight.
I was in the operations room with a few other crew members whom I have never really worked with. We were all down there performing our duties as directed. As the twenty-forth torpedo fired, we were convinced that our mission was over and that we succeeded. “All ahead emergency! ” was shouted out by Commander Oaken. Apparently our last torpedo ended up circling around and hit the US Tang. The floor shook beneath of us. Water started flowing in slowly but we didn’t have much time before we ended up hitting the bottom of the ocean. Looks were exchanged and we all Todd there breathless.
I ran to the door and pushed. I pushed again. As hard as could, I pushed on the door for the third time. It wouldn’t open. So there we were. Nine crew members trapped inside of the operations room. Most of us just came out of training and had very little experience. Precious time was passing by and we couldn’t waste another second. I spoke first, then someone else, and by then we were all figuring out how to get out alive. We decided to work as a team and that no one gets left behind. Fortunately, we found oxygen masks but there wasn’t enough for everyone.
As quickly as possible we set them up to be used. One of the crew members suggested that we should leave the submarine linked together and that every other person WOUld have a mask. Time was definitely not on our side so we didn’t have any more time to waste by trying to come with a better solution. We just had to go with it and hope for the best. We were able to pry the door open and the water gushed in faster than ever. One by one we left the submarine into the cold ocean. I was one of the ones without the oxygen mask. My lungs felt like they were going to explode.
Even though we were moving upwards, I felt as if all the weight in the world was resting on my shoulders, holding me down. I felt like we were never going to make it. I was light-headed and weak. I couldn’t hold my breath any longer. I finally woke up and coughed up water. I was surrounded by heads. I counted one, two, three… And there we were; all nine crew members that were once trapped in the operations room of the ISIS Tang, were standing together. It took me a few minutes to take in what just happened.