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Published on Feb 20, 2010
This slideshow presents photos taken from the USS Sterett CG 31 while it was serving as flagship of the U.S. Navy 's Task Force 71 in 1983. These ships were dispatched to conduct search and recovery operations in the immediate aftermath of the 1 Sept 1983 shoot down of Korean Air Lines flight 007 by interceptor fighters of the (then) Soviet Union, after the unarmed civilian airliner veered into Soviet airspace while en route from Anchorage, Alaska to Seoul, South Korea.
This horrific act resulted in the loss of all 269 passengers and crew - greatly heightening the Cold War tensions of the time. After steaming to the search area within international waters west of the USSR's Sakhalin Island where the aircraft was believed to have crashed, the ships of TF 71 found themselves engaged in eyeball-to-eyeball, close in, nautical manuevers with a parade of Soviet military and coastal patrol assets that had swarmed into the same area trying to reach the KAL 007 remains first. It soon became clear that many of the Soviet ships were deploying tactics aimed at hindering the search and recovery efforts of the US and its allies.