On 5 January 1944, two days into her fourth war patrol, USS SCORPION (SS-278) reported that a member of her crew had broken his arm and requested a rendezvous with the homeward-bound USS HERRING (SS-233) to effect a personnel transfer.
On the morning of the sixth, “made rendezvous with SCORPION on schedule, sea conditions rough,” the C.O. of HERRING wrote in his patrol report. Two hours later, “discontinued transfer attempts by mutual agreement as involving too much risk to injured man. SCORPION reported fracture mending with no apparent complications.” It was the last communication ever received from the boat. According to records examined after the war, there was no Japanese antisubmarine activity in SCORPION’s area during the period of time in which she was lost. The most likely cause of her demise was the detonation of one of the mines laid across the entrance to the Yellow Sea.
Eighty-four men, including the injured Sailor who, on a calmer day, would have made it to HERRING, perished with their boat.