The Loss of USS S-51 (SS-162)

On 24 June 1922, USS S-51 (SS-162), a fourth-group S-class submarine, was commissioned. She was homeported in New London, Connecticut, just up the coast from where she was built at the Lake Torpedo Boat Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut. S-51 operated normally and uneventfully until the night of 25 September 1925. What follows are excerpts from a history of S-51 written by the Ships’ Histories Section of the Naval History Division.

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The Loss of USS POMPANO (SS-181)

By the summer of 1943, USS POMPANO (SS-181) was already an accomplished submarine, a veteran of six war patrols. On 20 August, she left Midway with high hopes for further success. She had been ordered to patrol off the east coast of Honshu, Japan, until sunset on 27 September. Then she was to return to Midway and continue to Pearl Harbor to undergo maintenance.

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Medal of Honor Recipient Samuel Dealey

Samuel David Dealey was born in Dallas, Texas, on 13 September 1906. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1930 and was subsequently commissioned as an ensign. He served aboard several surface ships and was promoted to lieutenant (jg) before reporting, in the summer of 1934, to Submarine School in Groton, Connecticut. After graduation he was assigned to several subs in quick succession: USS S-34 (SS-139), USS S-24 (SS-129), USS NAUTILUS (SS-168), and USS BASS (SS-164). Then he was off to Pensacola Naval Air Station and another surface vessel before returning to submarines as Commanding Officer of USS S-20 (SS-125), where he remained for two years.

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Medal of Honor Recipient John Cromwell

USS SCULPIN (SS-191) began her ninth war patrol on 7 November 1943, departing Johnston Atoll, where she had stopped to fill up on fuel after leaving Pearl Harbor, for the Caroline Islands in the western Pacific Ocean. The United States was about to mount a massive attack on the Gilbert Islands and SCULPIN was charged with intercepting any Japanese naval forces that might be on their way to oppose the invasion. She was supposed to remain on station until 14 December and then return to Pearl Harbor. But after leaving Johnston Atoll she was never heard from again.

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Remembering

Firefighters and military personnel unfurl the American flag from the roof of the Pentagon, 12 September 2001. 184 people—70 civilians and 55 servicemembers in the Pentagon, 59 people aboard the aircraft—were killed the previous day when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building. Take a moment today, the 13th anniversary of that terrible event, to remember all who lost their lives and whose lives were changed forever.

 

Turn Up the Klaxon!

Monday’s “Tidbit” about memories of USS HADDO (SS-255) included the entry, “When Porter was left topside on a dive in the warzone, the tough time we had finding him, and how ‘Doc’ (Lilly? or Wortham?) took care of him?” Harry Heflin, first-class radioman aboard the boat at the time, fleshes out the recollection.

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LCDR Howard W. Gilmore – Medal of Honor Recipient September

Howard W. Gilmore

Howard Walter Gilmore was born in Selma, Alabama on September 29, 1902. Upon graduating from the US Naval academy in June 1926, Gilmore served aboard the battleship Mississippi and the destroyer Perry (DD-340). After qualifying for submarines, he served aboard the USS S-48 (SS 159) and the SHARK (SS-174).

Gilmore was appointed Captain in 1941, while his ship, the Growler (SS-215), was still under construction at Electric Boat in Groton, CT. Growler launched on 2 November 1941, (five weeks prior to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor) and breezed through her sea trials. Gilmore quickly received their orders – Growler was headed to Pearl Harbor.
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The Loss of USS GRAYLING (SS-209)

USS GRAYLING (SS-209) stood out from Fremantle, Australia, to begin her eighth war patrol on 30 July 1943. The boat was fresh off a 24-day refit and had a brand-new C.O., Lieutenant Commander Robert M. Brinker. (His predecessor, Lieutenant Commander John Elwood Lee, had been recalled to the U.S. to take charge of new construction, USS CROAKER [SS-246].) GRAYLING made a quick stop at the Philippine island of Panay to drop off supplies with local guerrillas, then, on 19 August, reported damaging a freighter off the eastern coast of Borneo. The following day she took out a small tanker; her radioed report of the sinking was the last transmission received from the boat.

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HADDO Memories

In March of 1975, a Sailor who served aboard USS HADDO (SS-255) during World War II sent out his second-to-last “ ‘Happy Haddo’ Reunion Newsletter.” In it he included a section called REMEMBER? What follows is a list of just some of things this particular crewmember found to be memorable

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After the Attack of the Turtle

The two men most closely associated with Turtle, the first submarine ever to be used in combat, are David Bushnell, her designer and builder, and Ezra Lee, her operator on the night of the famous attack, described in yesterday’s “Tidbit.” But what happened to them after that fateful night in the fall of 1776?

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