Bogleech.com's 2014 Horror Write-off:
Some thoughts on the Baikinmaru and Phoenix
I've received the transmission copy and done some listening, and some thinking on what's happened. I don't like my conclusions.
I know you're not the only one skeptical of me, but let's assume for a moment that those two cargo ships really were attacked by foreign submarines. Aside from the fact that a country destroying lucrative maritime traffic would be an astoundingly brazen and roundabout way of achieving any sort of strategic goal – if not pure insanity – the SOS broadcast from the Baikinmaru doesn't match up.
Not to mention that the JMSDF were in range to catch more of the signal than we did. I hope for our sakes the rest of the brass realize they could very well be withholding information from us for whatever reason. You will understand my desire to briefly summarize said transmission to clarify my concerns.
The freighter Baikinmaru transmitted a short VHF distress signal somewhere about 350 nm NE of Okinawa at around 2100 local time. The call was punctuated with static (not surprising considering the storm that was in the area) but you can still hear crashing and groaning in the background. No discernible explosions or popping that would accompany a missile or torpedo attack.
The person transmitting was panicked out of his mind and obviously not the captain – that combined with the dark and storm must have made a difficult condition to ID an attacker in, thus why he said he didn't know what was attacking. It ended with another, louder groan and terrific crash, likely the destruction of the transmitter or radio antenna, so at least we caught the end of the broadcast. The cut-off screaming corroborates this.
I personally have felt unwell after repeated listening, but I wasn't satisfied when the NCIS analysts said 'a sub did it'. Maybe it was my uncomfortableness with what I heard. There's something about the groans, especially the quieter ones, that unsettles me. I have a strong feeling not all of those sounds are from the ship being damaged. And of course something had to have been damaging the ship, but I think we can rule out traditional means of attack.
I don't know if I'm the only one who thinks this. I'm not sure if I could believe it if I knew I was. I haven't talked to anyone else about it besides you. And now you can likely guess why I took sick leave for 5 days.
And then there's the Phoenix.
You don't just sneak up on a 688, much less an improved 688 with an experienced crew. It's theoretically possible some other nation might be testing some sort of effective anti-ship weapon, but I find it unlikely given the evidence. The fact that she was transiting to Fleet Activities Sasebo a week after Baikinmaru 'disappeared' in the same area doesn't help matters. I couldn't even give the commander emergency orders to look out for whatever might be out there, they were too deep.
Which brings me to one more element of concern.
The Baikinmaru transmitter got pretty frantic and started to talk about 'voices' in his head near the end of the transmission. He yelled about how 'it' was whispering and screeching in his head, and that whatever it was called itself 'the slitherbleed'. Judging from my 20-year-old psychology minor and the textbooks I kept, I suppose it could have been resurgent psychosis due to the terror he was obviously experiencing, but to be perfectly frank I think it would be unwise to discount this as mere babbling. I find it hard to believe he'd simply start spouting nonsense while his ship is under attack.
I'm still not sure what it means exactly, but it can't be anything good.
Look, we're both career Navy men, I think we can find common ground here. If you're going to send a search party I strongly urge you to consider sending more than three destroyers. Something effective took out those ships, and it was no military vessel. I sincerely hope this is not the case, but it is my informed opinion that we should be prepared for it, whatever it is.
Rear Adm. Bradley Wojcik
Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet
RE: Some thoughts on the Baikinmaru and Phoenix
I'm finding your speculation increasingly insufferable. What, exactly, do you think sunk those ships? Do you even have an answer to that? Are you seriously dragging out psychology textbooks to further develop your "theory"? Are you just trying to get under my skin?
You are hereby ordered to cease speculation of this nature in all future correspondence. We're not here to get scared over hearsay; we are better than that because we are, as you said, Navy men. Not only that, United States Navy officers, and let me just say that I am not happy to find one of my admirals peddling seaman-level rumors! Our forces in that area are stretched thin to begin with, I can't afford to deploy more than necessary because you're afraid of some boogeyman. If I had known you would continue proffering this sort of nonsense I wouldn't have even authorized you for clearance.
It goes without saying that the transmission copy and the whereabouts of the USS Phoenix are highly classified, and I hope for your sake you will respect that classification.
Besides, it's not like our crews can't handle a little action. And that's if they encounter belligerents. We will handle this situation efficiently and professionally, and that is the end of that.
~ Admiral Peter S. Herrera
Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet