A little over halfway through the forenoon watch on 11 June 1942, the American tanker Hagan was steaming off the northern coast of Cuba, bound for Havana with a cargo of blackstrap molasses. The unescorted vessel steering an undeviating course proved too good a target for Korvettenkapitän Wolf Henne, commanding officer of U-157, to leave unmolested. After two of the submarine’s torpedoes hit home, the Hagan quickly plunged to the bottom, taking 6 of her 44 crew members with her. Word of the sinking drew a quick U.S. response. Army Air Forces B-18 bombers set out in search of the U-boat and were soon joined by ships that included the Coast Guard cutters Thetis and Triton, three submarine chasers, and an odd-looking vessel assigned to the East Coast Sound School at Key West, Florida—the Eagle 27 (PE-27), with 46-year-old Naval Reserve Lieutenant Commander Harold C. Speed in command.
Historic Fleets - ‘Prepared for the Work of War’
By Robert J. Cressman