Robert Flemming saw it first.
He was standing bow watch on the USS Housatonic, scanning the water between his ship and the dark silhouette of the South Carolina coastline….
It was nearly 8:45 p.m. when Flemming spotted something on the water about 500 feet away. The object was about 22 feet long, he estimated, and only its ends were visible. He called out to a deck officer.
“There is something that looks like a log,” Flemming said. “It looks very suspicious.”