USS GRAYBACK (SS-208) left Pearl Harbor for her tenth war patrol on 28 January 1944. She topped off with fuel at Midway and then headed for the strait that separates Luzon in the Philippines from Taiwan, then known as Formosa. She was to remain in the area for eight days, from 8-16 February, and then move into the East China Sea.
At first everything went well. On the 19th, GRAYBACK reported sinking two cargo ships and damaging two more. On the 25th she sent one tanker to the bottom and crippled a second. At that point she had only two torpedoes left, so her chain of command ordered her to return to Pearl Harbor. She was supposed to put in at Midway on 7 March, but never arrived. She was declared overdue and presumed lost on 30 March.
Japanese records examined after the war indicate that on 27 February GRAYBACK destroyed a Japanese freighter using her last two torpedoes. Later in the day, she was spotted running on the surface by a patrol aircraft which dropped a bomb directly on top of her. The boat, according to the report, “exploded and sank immediately.” Taking no chances, the aircraft called in a couple of ships which dropped depth charges onto a trail of air bubbles until a slick of oil coated the sea for hundreds of meters in all directions.
Eighty men were lost with GRAYBACK, the recipient of eight battle stars for her wartime service.