|Jim's War Patrols With the
|This is the map taken from the front of Eugene Fluckey's book, Thunder
Below. It shows the general range of the five War Patrols he led aboard
the USS Barb. Jim was there for every one of them. Jim's first patrol,
with Lt. Commander, John R. Waterman, is not shown. Jim commented in
his diary only that they sank one ship and shelled an island.
|Barb's 8th War Patrol
Northwest from Midway to the western coast of the Kurile Islands
21 May to 9 July 1944
|One can see the location of the sinking of the Golet, off the coast of
Hokkaido and the Herring, sunk along the upper array of the Kurile
|Comment from Fluckey: Barb is the first submarine to be equipped with the
modified MARK XIV torpedo, following Lockwood's decision to test them and
changing the firing pins. They worked better but not flawlessly.
Fluckey learned from Kito, their Japanese prisoner, that the Japanese had lain
down new mine fields on east coast of Hokkaido...where the Golet was to start its
patrol. Danger there. June 6 could not contact either Golet or Herring...nor could
Pearl Harbor. They were gone.
|From Jim's Notes:
8th War Patrol: Departed Midway May 21.
May 31: sank two ships, picked up "one naval Jap prisoner"... back in Midway on
July 4, then on to Pearl Harbor on July 8. Recorded 32 Depth Charges during the
The Barb was attacked a lot because it was on the surface a lot, a tactic that
young, aggressive captains such as Fluckey were coming to embrace. Fluckey
estimated that "seldom did the Barb submerge for more than 5 hours at a
time...only under pressure....and this was very demanding on crew because we
were bombed a lot."
|Take note of the icon and label POW Rescue located in the lower left part of the map. This was
a dramatic effort by the Barb to save Aussie and British prisoners aboard a Japanese transport
which was sunk by submarine. They saved about a dozen men.
Barb left Pearl Harbor on August 4 and checked in at Midway before heading
for the South China Sea between Formosa and the Philippines.
In practicing an emergency dive, Barb's forward diving planes locked up and
the angle of dive increased beyond 20 degrees. Officer on the main ballast
valves slipped on the tilted surface and went sliding to the forward bulkhead
of the control room. Baker Russel Ellimen, swung himself through the door
and hung on the valves and blew main ballast. Barb, already near 300 feet,
rose in a full blown emergency surface, then had to have its diving planes
repaired at Midway.
**** I thought that this was a pretty dramatic interruption of normal diving
experience, but Jim didn't mention it at all in his notes.
August 10, Jim writes: Left Midway
August 31, "lots of charges dropped but none very near"
Sub Chasers: Fooled into an attack, Fluckey had to dive in a hurry; the Barb
was then the target of 200 depth charges and bombs.
Fluckey: "took her down to 375 feet to avoid a trap trawler and escorts"
The Barb and all Gato class submarines were designed to operate safely at
depths of 300 feet maximum and Fluckey is pressing the barriers here, as he
Sept. 1: The next day, there was a lot more excitement. A Japanese plane
sneaked up on the Barb, but focused more on a companion submarine, the
USS Tunney which did not see the plane coming. The plane bombed and
badly damaged Tunney. She had to return to Midway for repairs.
Then the Barb became the prime target of aerial bombs. Charles Tomzyck
wrote that the Barb went up and down like a piece of paper in a strong
wind..."I still don't believe that we still exist".
September 1, 2 : Jim writes, "some depth bombs too close for comfort";
Tomzyck was asked to go out on the deck to pick up tail vanes and bomb
fragments for souvenirs....he did, and he found the bomb fins were stuck into
Very close call.
September 4: Jim writes. After attacking a fishing boat, forced down by plane,
but resurfaced and "sank it with 4" deck gun. Stood by with 50 calib."
September 9; Jim writes: "two depth bombs dropped close according to
shipmates" diary is then obscured by wrinkled paper, but seems to indicate
that Jim slept through it.
September 14 Fluckey had Barb at 375 feet, trying to flee a destroyer that was
bracketing it closely with charges set at 300 feet. Lights blown out; so close
one could hear the detonator click before the explosion.
September 14. Jim writes: "Boy, did we get the charges after that" Firing at a
ship (unclear what it was) and missed both times.
September 16. Jim writes: put all four diesels on straight power to hurry to
pick up Australian and British prisoners from a sunk Japanese transport
ship....during night....fired and sunk what was believed to be a tanker and a
baby flattop..... 40-50 depth charges followed "none close".
September 17. Jim writes: just after noon started picking up survivors.....14 of
them, Australian soldiers who hung on raft since September 12..
Fluckey noted that they had to deal with rough waters from an approaching
typhoon all through the rescue...USS Queenfish assisting in picking up
prisoners, then Barb traveled in the storm to Saipan, passing through floating
bodies of those who did not survive.
September 25 Jim writes: delivered men to Saipan, about noon. Put Aussie's
in hospital in Saipan, then went to Majuro in the Marshall Islands to conclude
Patrol and refit.
Jim's summary of attacks on Barb during its Ninth War Patrol:
48 Air Attacks;
236 Depth Charges
|Welcome to Majuro, Marshall Islands.
Band from submarine tender, USS Gilmore.
|BARB ON 10TH WAR PATROL
EAST CHINA SEA
27 OCTOBER TO 25 NOVEMBER 1944
Attack and sinking of Cruiser Gokoku (see above): 10 November, 03:54 a.m.
where one of the great "Naval Sayings" was born. In attacking the Gokoku,
Fluckey sent one torpedo which hit it amidship, but it did not sink; he lined up
and launched a second torpedo which broached and began to circle back on the
Barb. Fluckey maneuvered quickly to avoid it, then launched a third torpedo
which also went awry.
The lookout could follow its trail through the phosphoresence as it turned and
ran alongside the Gokoku, rather than into it. Gokoku was returning fire toward
the Barb, but it was listing sufficiently that it could not train the machine gun on
the deck. Fluckey decided to submerge briefly to launch one more torpedo, and
called to his Executive Officer, Tuck, "Let's get below".
They went down the ladder from the tower and were about to seal the hatch
when they heard Dave Teeters, holler out, "Hey! Let me in!" Teeters, contrary to
regulations had climbed up on deck to watch the action, and Fluckey, unaware
that he was there, was ready to seal the hatch. They got Teeters in, submerged
and sank the Gokoku.
"Hey! Let me in!" is in stark contrast to the cry of Commander Howard Gilmore of
the USS Growler, who, with his sub under attack and he himself wounded on the
deck, cried out to the crew to "take 'er down". Gilmore lost his life but saved the
sub, and crew.
Nor does it ring with the historical aura of Admiral David Farragut who said,
during a naval battle in the Civil War, "damn the torpedoes...full speed ahead".
But Teeter's cry drips with an edge of controlled INTENSITY, and reminded me of
a saying in the movie "The Sullivans" which came out in World War II, wherein
the youngest of the five brothers was always saying, "Hey, fellas, wait for me!"
when they were off to do something or go somewhere.
When the USS Juneau, a light cruiser, was sunk in the Naval Battle of
Guadalcanal, November 1942, all five Sullivan brothers were aboard and
perished, and the film showed the youngest calling out to the others as they
headed to heaven, "Hey, fellas, wait for me."
CLICK HERE TO Get the Full Account of the Sullivan Brothers.
Teeters of course was not in a position of command, and as he apologized to
Fluckey later, he said, "I was enjoying all the action until I heard the vents
blowing, looked down and saw the bridge empty and the hatch closing".
Hey! Let me in!
"Tenth War Patrol for the Battling 'B' "
Arrived in Saipan on November 1, "Received letters from Betty."
Betty is an unknown woman and may have been a girl "writing to the troops"
just as Helen was keeping correspondence with a marine. This was a
widespread habit among young women who saw it as a way to help the morale
of soldiers, sailors and airmen who were fighting the war.
Departed Saipan on November 2, "for patrol area".
Jim had no comment on the adventures of Dave Teeters on the 10th of
November, and was probably unaware of it until the story traveled through the
crew as it must have surely done. In Jim's diary there is only one entry of
significance, apart from the counting of depth charges and aerial bombs, and
that is his exclamation with one aerial bomb which was dropped on 11
November 15:41 when a plane surprised the lookouts. It came out of the clouds
at a distance of four miles and closed quickly.
The bomb badly shook the Barb, sending it on emergency dive, and soon after,
Fluckey launched and ignited a keg of oil can to simulate the slick of a sunk
sub and crept away. The ruse worked.
Jim recorded: 11-11.. "One aerial bomb...close...too damn close"
Home to Midway on 11-25
|At Midway, after the Tenth Patrol. Jim is
second to left of flag, front row.
|Following 9th War Patrol, safe in Majuro,
Marshall Islands. Jim is second row, fourth
|Fluckey and officers holding Barb Battle Flag
after 9th War Patrol. Majuro, Marshall Islands.
|Pulling a rescued POW out of the
typhoon driven waters.
|Rescued Aussies and one Brit after two
weeks of food, warmth and care.
|BARB'S ELEVENTH WAR PATROL
EAST CHINA SEA, FORMOSA STRAITS, CHINA COAST TO WENZHOU
20 DECEMBER 1944 TO 15 FEBRUARY, 1945
|The 11th War Patrol of the USS Barb was one of
the most productive in its rich history. In addition
to the sinking of several ships in the Formosa
Straight, its action in Namkwan Harbor struck
chaos into the Japanese naval facility, and led to
Commander Eugene Fluckey receiving the
Congressional Medal of Honor.
|Jim's Notation as the Barb began its 11th War Patrol. "Left Midway for
Guam on December 19th."
January 1, 1945, the crew celebrated what it hoped would be the last year
of the war. At 1305 that day, Fluckey launched a boarding party to take
over a Japanese patrol boat of about 300 tons.
It had been damaged by the Queenfish and Picuda before both were
forced below by a Japanese plane. He wanted his crew to clean out all
maps, records, transmitters, signal flags and all other material that might
be useful. The boarding party did this promptly despite the presence of
Japanese sailors still on board each of whom could have defended the
Jim was a part of this "modern pirate" raid. At one point,
stripping some materials out of their lodging with his crowbar, Jim heard
footsteps above him. Thinking it was a Jap, he [Jim] came out with his
Tommy gun ready to fire, at which point Fluckey hollered, "don't shoot" as
Jim and "Shivers" Houston found themselves pointing their guns at one
After pillaging the ship, the Barb sank it with all of its crew aboard. Since
none had offered to surrender, Fluckey was not going to put the lives of
his crew in jeopardy to try to capture any of them.
Jim's diary says nothing at all about this little episode.
At 1930, Fluckey ordered the crew to "Splice the main brace!" an old Navy
expression which meant that one could serve "grog" or "beer" which the
Barb had carefully stored away before each of its patrols. The cooks
baked a cake as they did after each successful enemy sinking.
|Jim Reports: January 8, 1945: Picked up convoy and fired 12 fish forward.
This was Fluckey's attack on the Anyo Maru, a freighter of nearly 10,000
tons loaded with kamakaze pilots, military supplies and troops who were
going to try to re-invade Luzon in the Philippines. At the time, it was just a
large ship, but Fluckey learned the details of its mission in his post war
review of Japanese War Records.
All in all the Anyo Maru was protected within a dozen ship convoy.
Fluckey's attack was coordinated with the Queenfish and the Picuda so that
the large convoy was attacked first by the Barb hitting the last ships in line,
then the Queenfish and Picuda striking the remainder from starboard and
port sides. Both the Anyo Maru and the ammunition ship, Shinyo Maru
along with a tanker full of aviation gasoline were destroyed along with all
merchant vessels in the convoy.
When the tanker exploded, debris showered the Barb which was 4000 yards
away (2.75 miles).
The events which occured at Namkwan Harbor, China on January 23, 1945
were among the most talked about submarine attacks of the war, both in the
Japanese military and among U.S. Naval COMSUBPAC. For his leadership in
this attack, Fluckey received the Congressional Medal of Honor.
After his successful attacks on the Japanese convoy reported above,
Fluckey was looking for something to do with his remaining torpedoes. He
received reports of a collection of ships moving along the Chinese coast.
He guessed that they might be heading for Namkwan since it was safe
harbor and well inside the 20 fathom line (120 feet) making it especially
dangerous for submarines to operate. A shallow sea is a dangerous sea.
At 1421, January 22, Fluckey drifted inside the collection of Chinese fishing
junks who were coming back for the day. His entry was to take the Barb
into less than 7 fathoms of water (42 feet).
At 2120 on January 22, 1945, the Japanese put their ships in place for safety
and rest in Namkwan Harbor. There were, according to Japanese records,
27 ships in total gathered in the harbor with picket lines of naval vessels,
destroyers and frigates slowly patrolling the entrance.
At 0320, January 23, Fluckey identified the ships and made plans to attack.
Shortly after 0401 he launched the first of his torpedoes. The chaos and
confusion surrounding the following explosions allowed the Barb to fire fish
after fish at the Japanese collection, and when all was done, the Barb
slipped right back outside the 20 fathom mark and disappeared.
How much damage? Various estimates from Japanese sources, Chinese
spies, and American secret observers quickly made the news. The best
estimate, as it turned out was by Marine Sergeant William T. Stewart who
had a number of Chinese fishermen in his employ and who reported that
four ships had been sunk and three damaged.
After the war, Fluckey went back to interview villagers and others whose
memories might help him document what the Barb had done that night. His
list shows five vessels sunk.
January 22: went into a Jap anchorage under 7 fathoms...fired 8 fish...heard
ships hit...just like shooting clay pigeons....no depth charges...got away with
January 29: Fired last four fish no hits..but what the hell, we're headed
home...planning to rest.
|Barb's path beginning on far right, as it creeps in among the junks, hides
near the island, follows the junks into the harbor, then moves along the 20
fathom mark until Fluckey is southeast of the harbor and its collection of
ships. He took the Barb into less than 7 fathoms, (42 feet) attacked and
following the confusion, escaped straight east back into deep water.
|USS BARB (SS 220).
TWELVE WAR PATROLS WORLD WAR II.
Shaken, marked, and repaired. By the end of
the war Barb was firing deck rockets at land
targets in Japan.
|Whatever the limitations of the Mark XIV, there was one early patrol that set
a standard for submarine attacks on the Japanese Navy. In March 1943,
the USS Wahoo, under "Mush" Morton, and Executive Officer, Richard
O'Kane, ventured into the Yellow Sea and sank nine enemy ships.
It was a notable achievement, and with MARK XIV weaponry, although
Morton thought that with reliable torpedoes, he could have doubled the
number of ships sunk. His aggressiveness was one shared by all of the
officers and crew on the Wahoo. It was a sad bit of news that reported it
was sunk in the fall of 1943 by a Japanese mine.
Yet the Wahoo was notable as an exception. Other boats just weren't
finding the enemy. Some of this limited success in sinking ships came
from the high priority placed on hitting enemy capital ships, for these were
hard to find.
But some of this frustration came from traditional cautions instilled in "old
timer" captains who believed that their job was to search, identify and
report to surface ships. [Tim has a very nice explanation of this dynamic
among submarine commanders...see below]
By early 1944, however, the Pacific submarine force had grown to 50 boats,
among them the USS Barb (SS 220), and they were sent out, 15 to 18 at a
time, for war patrols of 40-50 days.
It was a bit of a wait from the exploits of USS Wahoo, but finally, in the
spring of 1944, USS Tang, USS Parche, and USS Barb led a renewed
assault on Japanese shipping, targeting the lanes near the main Japanese
Islands. Captains Richard O'Kane (Tang), "Red" Ramage" (Parche) and
Eugene Fluckey (Barb) sank ships!
O'Kane had moved on from the Wahoo and survived the later sinking of the
Tang. Ramage moved to the Parche before Trout was destroyed. All three
of these captains became Medal of Honor recipients.
Tang's loss was unnecessary. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on 8 January
1944, conducted two weeks of exercises and departed Pearl on 22 January
to begin her first war patrol in the Caroline Islands-Marian Islands area.
On her last patrol, at 0230, 25 October 1944, in the midst of an attack on
several Japanese vessels, she launched her twenty-fourth and last
torpedo, a MARK XIV.
It broached and curved left in a circular run then struck TANG 20 seconds
after it was fired. Nine survivors, including the commanding officer,
O'Kane, were picked up the next morning by a Japanese destroyer escort.
They spent the remainder of the war in prisoner of war camps.
During her brief career, USS Tang was officially credited with sinking 24
Japanese ships which totaled 93,824 tons.
Jim Richard was initially assigned to the USS Trout, which was destroyed
on its next war patrol. So, Jim's Navy life started off with a nice bit of good
luck. His next assignment was the USS BARB.
The Barb departed Pearl Harbor, 2 March 1944 for its 7th patrol.
USS Gato (SS 212), launched 21 August 1941, was the first of 54 submarines
in her class, one of which was the USS Barb (SS 220)
During the Second World War, submarines comprised less than 2 percent of
of the U.S. Navy but sank almost five million tons of shipping—over 60
percent of the Japanese merchant marine.
These World War II submarines were basically surface ships that could travel
underwater for a limited time. Diesel engines gave them high surface speed
and long range, but both were severely reduced underwater where they relied
on electric motors powered by relatively short-lived storage batteries.
Recharging the storage batteries meant surfacing to run the air-breathing
diesels. Many combat patrols routinely involved 90 percent surface
But when in attack mode, they submerged and this tactic while protecting
them from sight identification, slowed a submarine's ability to maneuver and
launch torpedoes at new targets.
The Barb, powered by four diesel engines, had a top surface speed of 21
knots (23 mph) and a submerged speed of just 9 knots (11 mph) At 2 knots,
(2.5 mph) she could remain submerged for 48 hours at a maximum depth of
300 feet (the length of a football field).
From the attack on Pearl Harbor to the decisive confrontation over Midway,
U.S. submarine activity in the far Pacific was largely confined to the outer
perimeters of the Japanese Navy. But since the Japanese had failed to
destroy the submarine yards at Pearl Harbor, these boats were the only
weapons capable of inflicting any damage at all on the Japanese armed
After Midway, Gato class subs began to move into corridors that put them in
position to sink both Japanese merchant and military vessels.
While submarine attack is generally viewed much as a shark attack on an
inattentive surfer, in the first two years of WW II, underwater attacks on the
Japanese were few and far between. Often limited by vast distances to patrol
and their surface vulnerability, submarine captains were cautious and
tentative, and when they were not, one key piece of equipment often left them
vulnerable. This was the notorious Mark XIV Torpedo.
The Mark XIV had four major flaws.
a. It tended to run about 10 feet deeper than set.
b. The magnetic exploder often caused premature firing.
c. The contact exploder often failed to fire the warhead.
d. It could "circle", turning back to strike the firing sub.
Often, Japanese merchantmen would enter port with unexploded Mark XIV
torpedoes sticking out of their hulls.
There is a long and sad story indicting the Bureau of Ordnance for its refusal
to take seriously submarine action reports that the Mark XIV torpedo just did
not work. The Bureau refused to test a live torpedo (someone might get
hurt), and for almost two years, its view was that the weapons were without
flaw. Yet they consistently failed under combat conditions.
a. magnetic exploders failed to consider the changing magnetic field of the
earth in the northern reaches
b. the firing pins were so heavy that a square hit at 90 degrees to the target
bent their controllers and the pins did not launch
c. electrical switches inside the torpedo were inconsistent and flawed
d. the Mark XIV torpedo would occasionally circle back to the submarine
which launched it.
Finally, in July 1943, after fighting for more than a year to get the Navy and
the Bureau of Ordnance to make changes to this weapon, Admiral Charles
Lockwood Jr. (COMSUBPAC) ordered his boats to deactivate the magnetic
influence exploder and use only its contact pistol.
Lightweight aluminum alloy taken from propellers of Japanese planes shot
down at Pearl Harbor was machined to take the place of the heavy pin block
so inertial forces would be lower and the firing pin would strike correctly.
Prior to this, submarine commanders were learning that an angle hit on a ship
was more effective than a 90 degree launch because a "head on" collision
created such force that it distorted the heavy firing pin from properly making
contact with the explosive in the warhead.
Newly designed electrical switches were introduced and in September 1943,
the first torpedoes with new contact pistols were sent to war.
"After twenty-one months of war, the three major defects of the Mark XIV
torpedo had at last been isolated....Each defect had been discovered and
fixed in the field - always over the stubborn opposition of the Bureau of
With his submarines properly and more reliably armed, Lockwood began
threatening Japan in all venues including the China Sea and the Sea of
Japan. By the end of the war, submarines like Barb, were operating close to
and sometimes in Japanese harbors; the Barb even attacked land based
So thoroughly did the American submarines sweep the seas, that in 1945,
with the war lasting only 7.5 months, total shipping sunk totaled what would
have been a one month harvest in the year 1944. Submarine duty accounted
for 40 percent of all naval casualties in the Pacific, but the boats destroyed 55
percent of all Japanese ships.
|The MARK XIV torpedo holds a place of honor at the
USNA Museum, Annapolis. Its early failures were
overcome by its later successes.
|Jim Richard, fall 1945, upon being presented
the Navy Silver Star at conclusion of the USS
Barb's Twelfth, and last, War Patrol.
|Lawson "Red" Ramage,
Commander, USS Trout, USS
Parche. In 46 minutes of intense
nightime surface combat, July
1944, the Parche sank four ships.
Medal of Honor.
|Dudley Walker "Mush" Morton,
Commander, USS Wahoo
First to employ a "down the
throat " torpedo attack. O'Kane
believed he should have received
Medal of Honor
EXO, USS Wahoo,
Commander, USS Tang
New tactics were daylight surface
cruising with extra lookouts, and
night surface attacks.
Medal of Honor
Commander, USS Growler.
Wounded on deck with
Growler under attack,
Gilmore ordered his crew to
"take 'er down". Saved the
boat; lost his life.
First Submariner Awarded
Medal of Honor.
Commander, USS Barb
First Captain to launch rockets
from submarine to land based
targets; Namkwan Harbor
Attack. Barb team destroyed
train on Japanese soil.
Medal of Honor
|TO READ MORE ABOUT THIS LONG SAD
TORPEDO STORY, CLICK HERE
Interestingly enough, Japanese torpedos
worked extremely well.
|Samuel D. Dealey,
Commander, USS Harder. In a
single night sank five Japanese
destroyers in short range,
Medal of Honor
|John P. Cromwell, Commander, USS Sculpin.
Carrying vital intelligence describing submarine
operations and placement in the Pacific,
Cromwell came under Japanese attack. Badly
damaged, he surfaced and released crew so it
could have a chance of survival; Cromwell
remained on the deck to keep boarders away
and rode the Sculpin down. Saved his crew;
saved intelligence; lost his life.
Medal of Honor
|BARB'S NINTH WAR PATROL
4 August TO 3 October, 1944
South China Sea
|For Jim, rest and recreation was exactly what he needed. It is
clear from his accounts and those of Fluckey that the Barb had
been constantly stressed by attack and counter-attack, and
despite all of its successes and the joy of being whole, there
was need for respite.
Toward the end of the 11th War Patrol, Fluckey had come up
with the idea that there might be a way to use the Barb as a
weapon against land-based targets. He had sold this idea to
VADM C.A. Lockwood, COMSUBPAC, and so the Barb was sent
all the way back to Mare Island to undergo refitting (its engines
also needed a thorough overhaul) and installation of rocket
These were not going to be guided missiles, but simply fired
toward general targets; but they could inflict damage and
intimidation of the Japanese civilian population. So from 15
February, 1945 to 8 June 1945, the Barb was under repair, and
Jim was home.
|HELLO HELEN...REMEMBER ME?
|In May 1944, Helen received her first letter from Jim. She had neither seen him
nor heard from him since the December 1942 dance at St. Mary's Hall. His VJ
mail was dated May 6, 1944. He had just completed his first war patrol on the
Barb, with Commander John Waterman.
”Dearest Helen remember me... the last time that I remember was the night at
the St. Mary’s Dance when I was so drunk. Do you remember?
Well, since then, a lot of things have happened and a lot of time has passed. I
just got in from a patrol run a little over a week ago and have been taking it
easy. Love, Jim
He wrote again, following his first war patrol with Fluckey in command, the
Barb's Eighth War Patrol.
July 15, 1944…my dearest darling Helen,
Hello honey, here I am at last. I guess you were beginning to think that I
would never answer your letter. We just got in from patrol a couple of days
ago and this is first chance I have had to answer it. I was sure glad to hear
from you. You asked me where I have been….well I will tell you all I can…
Jim then reviewed his training and assignments
Wish I could tell you where I have been since I left the states…it is very
interesting…but I will have to save that until I see you again. Yes, Darling, I
certainly do remember when I met you. I sure did have a lot of fun down there
at the old swimming pool.
Honey, you don’t have to worry about me getting as drunk as I was that night
at the dance at St. Mary’s….as it is only a couple of months when we get a
beer and a lot longer between drinks of anything stronger. Here we can get
rum and coke but they are nothing to brag about…Since being here, got drunk
just once…but not like I was at St. Mary’s….
I have finally seen the light.” (Helen commented to me that "he didn’t see the
light till it went out.") I am taking it easy. I am now a qualified submarine and
Machinist Mate Second Class…now make 172 a month…enough to get
married on. Isn’t it. Well?”
Helen said that was the first time in his letters that he mentioned getting
Write soon and often, and don’t forget that kiss. [lipstick kiss on letter]
Tim has a very thoughtful, reminder about drinking in service
during WW II.
TIM WRITES: I knew the stories about his [Jim's] drinking and have heard
them often. In fact, on Friday, Mom showed me letters from 1944-45 where he
talked about drinking and that he would quit if she agreed to marry him. In
one letter he said he drank heavily every day and double on weekends. This
was between war patrols.
Considering the circumstances, it’s hard to pass judgment. One-third of all
submariners in WWII never came back. That, of course, is a hindsight
observation. When they were living it, they didn’t know how many would be
lost, how many patrols an individual would make, or how long the war itself
would last. It was a “world” war, something most of us can never really
Besides being in it (the war) in one spot on the globe at any given time, those
guys would have had the stress of wondering what’s going on in Europe? The
Atlantic? North Africa? The Russian Front? The rest of the Pacific? Besides
that, I suppose no one really knew if and when the war would hit U.S. shores.
Consider too that when they were underway on patrol, the news they were
getting was either non-existent, delayed or limited, as in classified. Only
those who actually lived it can say how they would react.
|G. L. Street, III. Commander, USS Tirante.
First war patrol confronted enemy Japanese
surface forces in the harbor of Quelpart
Island, off the coast of Korea, 14 April 1945.
Operating on the surface, inside ten fathom
level, battling shore batteries and aircraft
from the surface, he sank a huge ammunition
ship, and in leaving fired two aft torpedoes to
sink two more ships of war.
Medal of Honor
|CLICK HERE TO READ AN EXCELLENT REVIEW OF THE HISTORY OF
SUBMARINE WARFARE AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT OF
|SUBMARINE COMMANDERS; MUSH MORTON AND
MEDAL OF HONOR WINNERS
It is Tuesday, 23 May 1944 - just off the coast of Midway Island. As the
midnight hour approaches, Parche works her way through the minefields
and nets protecting the entrance to the harbor and ties up to the port
side of the submarine tender USS Proteus (AS-19) - which herself is
moored starboard side to berth S-3. PARCHE has been at sea for 56 days.
Day One - Wednesday, 24 May 1944
The submarine's crew is exhausted - and the boat itself is in need of
numerous repairs and general upkeep. As the mooring lines are doubled
up, several chiefs from the tender board PARCHE to begin the process of
determining what's needed. Refit Crew 203 is assigned for this upkeep -
they will perform many tasks from cleaning the boat inside and out, to
scraping barnacles, painting, repairing, replacing, stowing, etc. As the
ship's "wish list" is presented, a clearer picture emerges of all of the
things that will need to be accomplished in a very short time - PARCHE is
due to depart for its next war patrol in just 16 days.
Members of Refit Crew 203 come on board - with chippers, scrapers,
mops, brooms, rope-slung scaffolding, and paintbrushes in hand. There
is no time to be wasted - every moment is precious in getting the job
done. Specialists from Proteus for handling PARCHE'S more complicated
and demanding repairs begin to show up. Storekeepers meet with the
boat's supply personnel to get started on drawing, transferring, and
stowing the thousands of pounds of food, supplies, munitions, and spare
parts that will be loaded on board during the upkeep.
Once PARCHE'S crew has completed these initial meetings, they retire to
the Boat Crew's quarters on board Proteus to get some much-needed
sleep - while Refit Crew 203 and the tender's specialists and technicians
continue their work on the submarine.
Day Two - Thursday, 25 May 1944
Having had a good night's rest - and a hearty breakfast on one of
Proteus's two mess decks, PARCHE'S crew assembles to review and
debrief the patrol they just completed. Interviews are conducted to collect
every bit of information that might have potential intelligence value, and
these data are collated by Submarine Squadron Twenty personnel and
passed along to the fleet. As the day wears on, PARCHE'S crew members
are cycled through Proteus's sick bay - examined for anything that might
need attention. A visit to "the chair" in the Dental Department is a stop as
well - the last thing a Sailor needs on patrol is a toothache.
Day Three - Friday, 26 May 1944
After PARCHE'S crew completes their medical checks, they are released
to work on the boat. By this time, Refit Crew 203 has made a lot of
progress on scraping the hull - removing damaged paint and repainting
exposed metal. Inside cleaning is also underway, as well as more
complicated technical and mechanical repairs. PARCHE'S crew -
debriefed, poked, prodded, and patched - also pitch in to get their boat
ready for her next sortie. To maximize accessibility, the crew eats and
sleeps on the tender, where there is less noise, and preparing meals
doesn't get in the way of the work. While some jobs need to continue 24
hours a day, much of the effort knocks off in the evenings, giving most of
the Sailors a chance to rest and relax. Movies are a popular
entertainment and are shown nightly on the tender.
Training in new techniques and submarine tactics also take place on
board Proteus, where there is room - and enough quiet - to ensure that
classes will be productive. Depending on the need, many PARCHE crew
members will receive anywhere from an hour to several days of technical
training on the operation of next-generation equipment, such as the new
SJ Radar that is being fitted to many submarines at this time.
And so it will go for the next thirteen days - and then PARCHE will be
ready to sink more Japanese shipping. In fact, she left on schedule on 17
June for her second war patrol - and an action in the Luzon Strait that
won her skipper, "Red" Ramage, the Medal of Honor,
Exec Officer, Churchill Campbell (Taft High '34) won the first of his two
Silver Stars during this battle action. See Ramage's picture and brief
description of this action above.
|What does it mean to say that a submarine is being refitted. What is the
importance of the submarine tender? Here is the report on the USS Parche
when it went to Midway Island for its rest and refitting. The BARB'S
experience was the same.
|CLICK HERE TO SEE A BRIEF, PRESENTATION OF ACTUAL
FOOTAGE OF THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY, INCLUDING THE
SINKING OF THE JAPANESE CARRIERS THAT OPENED THE
DOOR TO THE EAST PACIFIC FOR AMERICAN ARMED
|The report above on the USS Parche (above) captures quite accurately what
this Refit and Rest break at Midway was all about for the Barb.
|For a comprehensive, readable and interesting review of
submarine service in the Pacific during W.W. II. CLICK HERE
|CLICK HERE TO SEE ACTUAL 8MM FILM TAKEN OF THIS RESCUE BY CREW
MEMBERS OF THE BARB.
IT IS TRANSPOSED FROM 8MM TO VCR TO DVD TO SONY HD TO UTUBE.
|AGAIN, 8MM FILM RECORDS THE PRESENTATION BY
THE COOKS OF A CAKE FOLLOWING A
SUCCESSFUL ATTACK. COMMANDER OF THE
BARB, EUGENE FLUCKEY, CUTS THE CAKE AND
DESIGNATES WHERE THE BIG SLICE GOES. :-)
Dad and Fluckey both came on board Barb at the same time which was the
7th patrol because that would have been Fluckey’s PCO tour or turnover
patrol from Waterman and I also remember Dad saying that Waterman was,
to put it mildly, a reluctant C.O. He said Waterman would see a “Jap” ship
and turn and run the other way. So, Dad had to have known and served
under Waterman and that could have only happened if he’d been there for
the 7th patrol.
From my perspective, both as a submariner myself and having been taught
and read up on naval history, I do not think it was so much that Waterman
was afraid of combat or cowardly so much as in his era, a submarine was a
reconnaissance vessel and not an offensive weapon.
Also, prior to WW II, there were “rules” of maritime warfare dating back
hundreds of years that at this time were going through drastic changes.
The new standard was "the only rule there is, is that there are no rules at
The Germans, of course, were years ahead of everyone else in breaking
these rules, having done so with submarines in WW I . This must have
been very difficult to comprehend and come to grips with for someone who
had been taught and trained “old school” and who’s practical experience
was all peacetime.
Add to that the feeling that submarine warfare was considered piracy
(thanks, in large part, to the “Huns” of WWI). Subs didn't fight fair.
Waterman wasn’t the only C.O. who operated under these stratagems and
tactics; all of the submarine skippers of the early part of the war did. That
was the main reason the Navy, and particularly Nimitz, started replacing
the “aging” submarine skippers with these young, brash, opportunistic
academy officers, many of whom had less than 8, 9, 10 years in the military.
This is unheard of in today’s time. For some, like Fluckey, it worked out
very well. He helped to revolutionize submarine warfare, turning it into a
lethal offensive weapon as well as maturing its reconnaissance and rescue
Others were less fortunate. There were 52 boats lost during the war, yet
commanders such as Ramage, Morton, Gilmore, and O'Kane each larger-
than-life submarine skippers, forever changed the operations of submarine
|CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE 8 MM FOOTAGE OF RESCUE OF MEN WHO HAD BEEN
PRISONERS OF THE JAPANESE. THIS EXTENDED CLIP SHOWS THE STORY MORE
FULLY. THE SUB DOING RESCUE WORK IS USS QUEENFISH.
|Churchill Campbell, Taft High Class of '34.
Campbell served on six war patrols aboard the USS Parche (SS 384). On its Second
Patrol, he had the bridge during the night surface attack for which Capt. Lawson
Ramage received the Medal of Honor. (See above)
For that Campbell received the Silver Star. He received a second Silver Star for
actions as the Assistant Approach Officer during the sinking of several ships during
the 5th war patrol under Capt. W.W. McCrory.
The Parche actually had 5 successful patrols where a least 3 or more ships were sunk.
Campbell was aboard for every one and was one of the very few Reserve Officers who
qualified for command of a Fleet Submarine.
|SUBMARINE WARFARE IN THE PACIFIC, WW II
|By the fall of 1944, Japanese street gossip had a saying that one
could walk from Singapore to Japan on the tips of American
periscopes. No ship was safe.
|OTHER MOMENTS OF LEAVE IN PEARL HARBOR OR MARE ISLAND .
|WHILE FLUCKEY WAS PERSUADING SUBCOMPAC TO LET HIM
INSTALL ROCKET LAUNCHERS, THE JAPANESE WERE
PRODUCING TWO SUBMARINES WHICH COULD LAUNCH AND
RECOVER AN AIRPLANE. REMARKABLE.