The following letter was received from RIMPAC headquarters on 28 July, 1998:

Mr. Cantu,

The USN's Combat Camera team was present at the "sinkex" during RIMPAC 98 and captured some of the activity for posterity. As it turns out, the three ships that were used as targets were in pretty rough shape and their hull numbers were painted over. The crew chief, Chief Douglas Bean was not able to discern exactly which ship his crew was filming, although when I showed him the picture of the Somers on your website, he was pretty sure it was her they got the video of.

Assuming that the ship he has tape of was the Somers, she took a Penguin missile amidships, three Hellfires in the forward superstructure, and two Mavericks in the after superstructure. Apparently, the Mavericks carried reduced warheads and they lifted the back end of the ship out of the water -- for a moment or two. The USAF took a crack at her too with a B-1 bomber.

After taking six hits there was little question that she was heading for Davey Jones' locker, however, the range time was over and they couldn't leave her half-sunk. With the weather decks awash, the range EOD team went aboard and gave her the coup de grace with explosive charges. She's with the fishes now, doing commendable service as an artificial reef.

Chief Bean will be returning to San Diego in the first week of August, when he will be editing down the tape and producing a QuickTime video of the sinking that he will be able to send to you via the Internet. As I mentioned above, there is no guarantee that the video he has will be of the Somers, but I trust an alumnus of the Somers would be able to recognize the old girl on film, so you'll know whether on not you get what you're hoping for.

I took a look at your website (very attractive) and expect that the video of the sinking, ironically, will be a great addition. I guess it's a bit like losing a loved one -- in a way you can't believe it until you see the body.

I hope this information is what you were looking for. You can take solace in the fact that the Somers went down honorably training a new generation of sailors and confirming the technical proficiency of the Navy's weapons, which is always better than being turned into razor blades and Toyotas.

I wish you, all ex-Somers crew members, and the memory of DDG 34, fair winds and following seas.

Yours aye,

Christopher Henderson
RIMPAC 98 Combined Information Bureau

As always, I will keep you informed. If it was indeed the Somers on the video, then I will definitely add it to the page. I'm glad she went out in a blaze of glory.

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