On 28 May 1944, USS GOLET (SS-361) departed Midway to begin her second war patrol off the northeast coast of Honshu, Japan. Her first patrol had been frustrating due to what the commanding officer, James Clement, termed in his patrol report “disagreeable weather conditions.” Over the course of the 46-day patrol, “the air temperature averaged about 28 degrees F…. The seas were heavy (force 4 or 5) and would have precluded torpedo fire at any but deep draft ships. The visibility was uniformly poor due to fog, rain, snow and haze. …A light coating of ice formed on the topside each night. The barometer often fluctuated as much as an inch and a half during 24 hours….” The extreme cold caused condensation to form on nearly every surface inside the boat; the crew attempted to keep moisture levels down “by running the air conditioning at least fifty per-cent of the time.” Half the crew came down with colds. To add insult to injury, “no traffic was encountered. The only contact worthy of torpedo attack, a 4,500 ton coal-burning freighter could not be closed submerged to firing range.”
When GOLET left Midway for the second time, just 23 days after returning from that initial disastrous patrol, her crew and their new commanding officer, Lieutenant James Clark, must have felt that their luck could do nothing but improve. They were wrong. The boat was scheduled to depart her patrol area on 5 July; on the ninth, she was sent a message that required a response, but no reply was received. She was expected to return to Midway on 12 or 13 July, so, thinking her communication equipment might simply be down, on the eleventh a lookout was posted with instructions to keep an eye out for a sub returning to port. When GOLET had not come in by 26 July, she was presumed lost.
Japanese records made available after the war’s end note an antisubmarine attack that occurred on 14 June 1944. “On the spot of fighting,” the records state, “we later discovered corks, raft, etc., and heavy oil pool of 50 by 5,200 meters.” That wreckage was more than likely all that remained of GOLET and the 82 members of her crew.
GOLET was awarded one battle star for World War II service. She was the thirty-second U.S. submarine loss of World War II.