You know the difference between a fairy tale and a sea story? A fairy tell begins "Once upon a time"; a Sea Story begins "This is a no-shitter."
I've got a lot of sea stories. Some of them are even mostly true, and they all get better with each telling. The funny thing is, over time, the best ones end up being about the people I served with, and I think I tend to remember the funny and happy times more clearly and better than the shitty ones. And then there are all the cool things I got see and experience, which end up being very personal.
That being said, I once had the opportunity on an undisclosed night, over an undisclosed sea, to fly an airplane from an undisclosed location on a mission to track a Russian submarine. As luck would have it, there were two submarines in our search area and we maintained track on both of them. After an hour or so of this, my acoustic operator called over the intercom frantically that he lost everything and all he had on his displays was noise, essentially a visual display of static. I looked out the side windshield into the black sky over black ocean, with no moonlight and many stars. Suddenly the cockpit filled with light as I watched a Russian, sub-launched, ballistic missile (SSN-18) take off into the sky. At this point, I should probably disclose that we knew they planned to launch a missile that night, which is why we were our there in the first place. They were conducting a test, and under treaty had notified the U.S. of their intentions. It just makes for a better story if I wait to tell you that.
Anyhow, as I watched that rocket climb into the darkness on it's way to splash harmlessly into another ocean, I couldn't help but take pride in the fact that our squadron had been on top of that sub for hours and could have stopped it if necessary. Yes, the Russians are no longer our enemy, but anyone who has that kind of capability makes me nervous. Seeing an SLBM first hand generates a healthy respect for strategic weapons.
Other than a "Holy shit" or two on the intercom, the crew was mostly silent as we watched that missile take flight. I will never forget that flight.