Daily Event for May 23, 2005


The story begins on July 27, 1938 when the Sculpin SS-191 was launched at Portsmouth, N.H. Less than two months later a sister sub, the Squalus SS-192 was launched at Kittery, ME. This is important because on May 23, 1939, during diving tests, the Squalus sank off New Hampshire. The main induction valve was open and water flooded the rear compartments of the sub. The Sculpin came to the rescue and located the rescue buoy and established communications with the sunken sub. However, the communication line broke, the tug Penacook would spend the rest of the day dragging a grapnel until they located the Squalus that evening.

In the mean time, the USS Falcon and a rescue team headed by Lt. Cmdr. Charles B. "Swede" Momsen were en route from Washington D.C. On the morning of the 24th, they began bringing up the survivors in a devise called the McCann rescue chamber. A large diving bell that could be attached to the hatch of the sunken sub. Three dives were made by that evening and 25 men had been rescued. On the way up from the last dive the cable jammed and the dive bell had to return to the Squalus. It took over four hours of intense and feverish work to repair the cable, and after midnight the dive bell finally made it to the surface. In all 33 men were rescued, the 26 who died were killed when the sub flooded. Following this historic rescue four men were awarded the Medal of Honor. The Sculpin was there in her sisters time of need. The Squalus would be raised, refitted and renamed Sailfish.

Sailfish made 12 war patrols sinking 12 ships and damaging 8 others. Sailfish survived the war, she was awarded nine battle stars for service in the Pacific and received the Presidential Unit Citation for outstanding performance on her tenth patrol. She was scrapped in 1948.

© 2005 Michael W. Pocock
MaritimeQuest.com



Roll of Honor
In memory of those who lost their lives in USS Squalus SS-192
"As long as we embrace them in our memory, their spirit will always be with us"

Name
Rate
Aitken, James A.
Fire Controlman 3rd Class
Batick, John J.
Electrician's Mate 1st Class
Casey, Joshua
Fireman
Chesnutt, John A.
Chief Machinist's Mate
Coffey, Robert L.
Electrician's Mate 2nd Class
Deal, Elvin L.
Machinist's Mate 2nd Class
Fletcher, Lionel H.
Electrician's Mate 3rd Class
Garrison, Kenneth R.
Chief Machinist's Mate
Gibbs, Robert F.
Torpedoman 1st Class
Hathaway, John P.
Fireman
Hoffman, Eugene A.
Machinist's Mate 1st Class
Keegan, Alexander B.
Seaman
Marino, John J.
Seaman Apprentice
McAfee, Huie K.
Electrician's Mate 2nd Class
Patterson, Joseph H.
Ensign
Priester, Alfred C.
Torpedoman 2nd Class
Schulte, Frank H.
Machinist's Mate 1st Class
Scyphers, Bascom S.
Electrician's Mate 1st Class
Shirley, Sherman L.
Torpedoman 1st Class
Smith, Don
Civilian
Strong, Jack J.
Machinist's Mate 1st Class
Thomala, John L.
Machinist's Mate 1st Class
Thompson, Robert P.
Ship's Cook 3rd Class
Ward, Marion L.
Radioman 3rd Class
Weld, Robert R.
Fireman Apprentice
Wood, Charles M.
Civilian Electrician

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USS Sailfish SS-192