Written by Bill Maness IC3(SS) who was onboard at the time and is also the copyright owner of this painting.
This picture is about the loss of Billy Carter Semones. He was a First Class Torpedoman, assigned to the commissioning crew of the USS HENRY CLAY SSBN 625. All went well during Sea Trials. The standard firing of a Polaris Missile and the training required for the assembled men to become a crew of the newest fighting submarine of the 41 For Freedom Program. We were forward deployed at the US Navy Base at Rota Spain. We put to sea and soon discovered a noise coming from topside. We surfaced, TM1 Semones donned the required safety gear, went top side and was hit by a large wave before he could connect his safety line to the safety track in the deck of the submarine. The picture encompasses the next 2 hours of the attempt to recover our crewman that escalated to others being swept overboard. The seas turned angry and as the picture shows we had tragedy on our hands.
The painting depicts the event and US assets used in the recovery effort as well as a Foreign Trawler, this information was collected from personal interviewers, JAG Records and the author's experience of the event. This picture is fully documented, complete with with Ship's Crest, Date and Time of the event with the Lat and Long seen in the lower left corner.