Although only one enlisted submariner has ever received a Medal of Honor, “the history of submarining is replete with instances of men of all grades acting to save lives,” writes LCDR Glenn Smith, USN (Ret.), himself a former submariner. Today we will learn about the second of three junior Sailors “who…acted without orders from seniors, and whose actions saved lives and,” in many cases, the entire boat. Many thanks to LCDR Smith for these amazing stories.
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Archive for April, 2014
Although only one enlisted submariner has ever received a Medal of Honor, “the history of submarining is replete with instances of men of all grades acting to save lives,” writes LCDR Glenn Smith, USN (Ret.), himself a former submariner. Today we will learn about the first of three junior Sailors “who…acted without orders from seniors, and whose actions saved lives and,” in many cases, the entire boat. Many thanks to LCDR Smith for these amazing stories.
On 13 April 1986, USS GRAYBACK (SS/SSG/LPSS-574), stripped down to an empty shell and painted bright orange, was towed out of Subic Bay in the Philippines and sunk in the South China Sea as a target for a training exercise. It was an anticlimactic end for one of the Navy’s most unusual and versatile submarines.
On 11 April 1900, the United States government paid $150,000 for a submarine named Holland VI, which would soon become known as USS HOLLAND (SS-1). Thus was born the nation’s submarine service. Exactly 86 years later, USS NAUTILUS was officially opened to the public as part of the Submarine Force Museum. We wish both the “First and Finest” and submariners past and present a very happy birthday!
Fifty-one years ago today, on the morning of 10 April 1963, USS THRESHER (SSN-593), less than two years old and the lead boat in a new class of nuclear-powered, fast-attack submarines, began deep-diving tests about 200 miles to the east of Cape Cod, MA. The submarine-rescue ship USS SKYLARK (ASR-20) stood by overhead. At 0903 SKYLARK received a garbled transmission over the underwater telephone: THRESHER reported “Experiencing minor difficulties. …Have positive up angle…attempting to blow.” But THRESHER and the 129 men she carried—including 17 civilians—never returned to the surface.
On 12 May 1984, the LOS ANGELES-class fast-attack submarine USS SALT LAKE CITY (SSN-716) was placed in commission. Nearly twenty years later, on 17 March 2004, the boat made her television debut on the fiftieth episode of the History Channel’s “Mail Call,” hosted by Full Metal Jacket star and Marine Corps veteran Gunnery Sargeant R. Lee Ermey. “We get lots of e-mail asking about submarines and what it’s like to be a Submariner,” Ermey said, “so we’re here to answer the mail.” Robert Lihani, executive producer of “Mail Call,” noted that it was the first time they had done an entire show on one specific topic.
CAPT John Philip Cromwell, CO USS SCULPIN
Captain John Philip Cromwell was born on September 11, 1901, in Henry, Illinois. He was appointed to the United States Naval Academy in 1920. Upon graduating in 1924, Cromwell served two years with the surface fleet, aboard the battleship USS Maryland (BB-46). In 1926 he attended Submarine School and was assigned to the USS-S-24 (SS-129). Cromwell subsequently served on a number of shore commands, including as Staff Commander SUBPAC, and SUBDIV 203 & 44. He was also assigned commands on a number of submarines including the USS S-20 (SS-125).
Continue reading “Medal of Honor Recipient CAPT Cromwell – April 2014”
TM2 Henry Breault, USN – (Torpedoman Second Class)
Henry Breault was born in Putnam, CT on October 14, 1900. At the age of sixteen, Henry enlisted in the British Royal Navy, and after serving for four years, joined the United States Navy. It is while serving in the U.S. Navy that young Henry would go above and beyond the call of duty earning him the distinctive Medal of Honor.
Continue reading “Medal of Honor Recipient TM2 Breault – March 2014”
Along with USS BURRFISH (SS-312) and USS BANG (SS-385), USS SNOOK (SS-279) left Guam on her ninth war patrol on 25 March 1945. The three boats headed for the Luzon Strait that lies between Taiwan and Luzon, an island in the Philippines. The group disbanded on 1 April when BURRFISH and BANG headed off for lifeguard duty; SNOOK joined up with a wolfpack known as “Hiram’s Hecklers” under the command of Commander Hiram Cassidy, C.O. of USS TIGRONE (SS-419). A week later TIGRONE dodged two torpedoes that Cassidy believed SNOOK might have launched at him in error. When the boat surfaced that evening Cassidy radioed the other sub and was told they had not yet fired any torpedoes. He warned them to be on the lookout for what he now assumed was an enemy submarine. The following day, 8 April, SNOOK radioed her position to TIGRONE. It was the last transmission she ever sent.
On 28 June 1937, the keel of PCU SAURY (SS-189) was laid at Electric Boat Company in Groton, CT. Between December of 1941 and November of 1944, SAURY successfully completed eleven war patrols and was awarded seven battle stars. But on the night of 12 February 1944, her crew discovered just how fickle Mother Nature can be.