On 4 April 1944, USS GUDGEON (SS-211) set out from Pearl Harbor to begin her twelfth war patrol. She topped off her fuel tanks at Johnston Island three days later and was never heard from again.
After a postwar examination of Japanese records, officials concluded that GUDGEON was probably lost on 18 April after being spotted by a Japanese aircraft on anti-submarine patrol about 170 miles southeast of Iwo Jima. After observing the boat coming to the surface the pilot dropped two bombs. “The first bomb hit a bow, the second bomb direct on bridge,” the report states. “The center of the submarine burst open and oil pillars rose.” She sank quickly and the pilot observed evidence of a massive underwater explosion.
Eighty men were lost with GUDGEON, the recipient of the Presidential Unit Citation for her first seven patrols and eleven battle stars.