Second Prize-Arleigh Burke Essay Contest Sponsored by Northrop Grumman
The event that inspired The Hunt for Red October—the 1975 mutiny on board the Soviet destroyer Storozhevoy—told us much about our enemy 30 years ago. It can also tell us a lot about our enemy today.
This past November marked a little-known but significant anniversary. On 8 November 1975, a mutiny took place on board a Soviet destroyer that would later serve as the inspiration for Tom Clancy's first novel, The Hunt for Red October. Clancy's protagonist, the disillusioned submarine skipper Marko Ramius, was based on a man named Valery Sablin. Sablin was the political officer on board Storozhevoy (Sentry), a Baltic Fleet destroyer that had traveled to Riga, Latvia, in early November 1975 to take part in celebrations marking the 58th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. Unlike Ramius, Sablin was a true believer in communism, which he thought Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev had corrupted.