On 24 March 1945, USS LANCETFISH (SS-296) was decommissioned after serving the shortest-ever term as a commissioned naval vessel—just 41 days.
LANCETFISH was built by the Cramp Shipbuilding Company of Philadelphia, PA, launched, and then towed to the Boston Navy Yard for further work. There, on 15 March 1945, a shipyard worker opened the breech (inner) door of the #10 torpedo tube, not knowing that the muzzle (outer) door was already open. As water poured into the aft end of the boat through this direct channel to the sea, the worker strained to shut the breech door, ultimately in vain. The boat sank at Pier 8 in seven fathoms (42 feet) of water.
LANCETFISH was raised eight days later, but the Navy determined that repair costs—estimated at $460,000—were too steep; they decommissioned the boat the next day. LANCETFISH had been a commissioned submarine for less than 1,000 hours and had never put to sea under her own power; she never even had a crew.
LANCETFISH was assigned, still uncompleted, to the reserve fleet, where she was kept in mothballs until she was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 9 June 1958. On 20 August 1959, the sub was sold for scrap to the Yale Waste Company of Boston, MA, which paid just over $57,000 to finally end the saga of the ill-fated sub.