USS Parche Conning Tower
USS Parche (SS-384) - Conning Tower
Commander Lawson P. Ramage led U.S.S. Parche in a predawn attack on a Japanese convoy, 31 July 1944. Boldly penetrating the screen of a heavily escorted convoy, Comdr. Ramage launched a perilous surface attack by delivering a crippling stern shot into a freighter and quickly following up with a series of bow and stern torpedoes to sink the leading tanker and damage the second one. Exposed by the light of bursting flares and bravely defiant of terrific shellfire passing close overhead, he struck again, sinking a transport by two forward reloads. In the mounting fury of fire from the damaged and sinking tanker, he calmly ordered his men below, remaining on the bridge to fight it out with an enemy now disorganized and confused. Swift to act as a fast transport closed in to ram, Comdr. Ramage daringly swung the stern of the speeding Parche as she crossed the bow of the onrushing ship, clearing by less than 50 feet but placing his submarine in a deadly crossfire from escorts on all sides and with the transport dead ahead. Undaunted, he sent 3 smashing "down the throat" bow shots to stop the target, then scored a killing hit as a climax to 46 minutes of violent action with the Parche and her valiant fighting company retiring victorious and unscathed.
For this action, Commander Ramage received the Medal of Honor.
USS Flier (SS-250)
USS Flier (SS-250)
Flier (SS-250) was launched 11 July 1943 by Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn.; sponsored by Mrs. A. S. Pierce; and commissioned 18 October 1943, Lieutenant Commander J. W. Crowley in command.
Flier reached Pearl Harbor from New London, on 20 December 1943. After working up, she departed for her first war patrol on 12 January 1944. However, while entering the harbor at Midway Island during a storm on 16 January, she went aground and was seriously damaged. The submarine rescue vessel Macaw (ASR-11), which attempted to pull Flier free, also went aground and ultimately sank.
The damaged submarine was towed back to Pearl Harbor by USS Florikan (ASR-9), again with difficulties caused by weather, and finally reached the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, where she was repaired. Flier made another start on her first war patrol on 21 May 1944, heading from Pearl Harbor to the waters off Luzon.
She made her first contact on 4 June, attacking a well-escorted convoy for five merchantmen. Firing three torpedoes at each of two ships, she sent a large transport to the bottom (Hakusan Maru) and scored a hit on another ship, before clearing the area to evade counter-measures.
On 13 June 1944, Flier attacked a convoy of 11 ships, cargo carriers and tankers, guarded by at least six escorts. The alert behavior of the escorts resulted in severe attack on Flier before she could observe what damage she had done to the convoy. On 22 June, she began a long chase after another large convoy, scoring four hits for six torpedoes fired at two cargo ships that day, and three hits for four torpedoes launched against another cargo ship of the same convoy the next day.
Flier put in to Fremantle, Australia, to refit between 5 July 1944 and 2 August, then sailed on her second war patrol, bound for the coast of Indochina. On the evening of 13 August, as she transited Balabac Strait on the surface, she was rocked by a great explosion. She sank in 1 minute after striking the mine, but 13 officers and men got out of her. Eight of them reached the beach of Mantangula Island after 15 hours in the water. Friendly natives guided them to a coast-watcher, who arranged for them to be picked up by submarine, and on the night of 30-31 August, they were taken on board by Redfin (SS-272).
Flier’s story does not end here. On February 1, 2010, Commander, Submarine Forces Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC), Rear Adm. Douglas McAneny announced that a sunken vessel located in the Balabac Strait area of the Philippines is in fact the World War II submarine USS Flier (SS 250).
The last surviving crew member of Flier, Ens. Al Jacobson, had never given up the search for his lost shipmates. Sadly, Jacobson passed away in 2008, but his family was determined to continue the search. The family provided notes and research to the production company YAP Films, which investigates nautical mysteries, and Jacobson’s son Steve and grandson Nelson participated in the search. Led by the father and son team of divers, Mike and Warren Fletcher, their efforts paid off in the discovery of the vessel in 330 feet of water, at approximately the same locaton that Al Jacobson had believed the boat was sunk.
A memorial ceremony for the men of USS Flier is scheduled to take place on August 12-13, 2010, at the Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum (GLNMM), located in Muskegon, Michigan. GLNMM is the home of the historic submarine USS Silversides, which is of the same class and general appearance as USS Flier. An exhibit dedicated to Flier is also under development at the Museum.
USS Perch (SS-176)
USS Perch (SS-176)On November 23, 2006, a dive group led by Vidar Skoglie found USS Perch (SS-176) in the Java Sea north-northwest of Surabaya City, Java, at a depth of 190 feet.
In December 2006, diver/photographer Kevin Denlay sent numerous photos of the wreck to Bowfin Park. Her identity has not yet been confirmed by the U. S. Navy, although physical evidence of the vessel’s identity appears conclusive.
Leaps in Submarine Technology - USS Ohio (SSBN-726)
Latest addition to the Cold War arsenal for Strategic Deterrence, the Ohio-class SSBN is 576 feet long, carrying 24 D-5 missiles with multiple, independently- targeted, re-entry vehicle warheads that is the central feature of the Strategic Shield for the United States and the West.
Employing the most up-to-date technology for weapons, sensors, communications, construction, habitability, this submarine is more quiet than the ocean that surrounds it. The submarine uses its stealth to remain "undetected and ready" in the oceans of the world, hiding and awaiting a message it hopes will never come.
It uses its sensors and equipment with maximum redundancy. Its weapons systems achieve unbelievable accuracy at the far reaches of the envelope-with targets thousands of miles away. As the sophistication of the platform has grown, so has the sensor technology seeking this submarine- in a modern version of "cat and mouse". This submarine is ready to meet the challenge.
With the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks II (START II), the number of Strategic Submarine platforms was reduced from 18 to 14. In 2005, four Ohio Class submarines were converted to support Special Warfare. All D-5 missiles and supporting equipment were removed and the submarines were re-configured to support Tomahawk Cruise missiles and Navy SEALs and Special Warfare Units. Two special warfare submarines will be assigned to each coast but the submarines are capable of world-wide missions.
Leaps in Submarine Technology - USS Hawaii (SSN-776)Birthed in the Nuclear Age after the first nuclear submarine, USS Nautilus, the USS Hawaii, a Virginia-Class submarine, is the latest version of the bullet-shaped, true submersible. Home ported in Pearl Harbor, she is a technological marvel, combining the latest in sensors, weapons, communications, propulsion, atmospheric controls and submarine construction.
Capable of sustaining her operations for months at a time, with the aid of modern communication, satellites, missiles and torpedoes, the USS Hawaii is able to influence events across the globe. She can monitor communications of an interested party or launch a precision strike from deep below the sea. She can capture information by passive or active means and use her vast computer data banks to process and analyze data while accomplishing her mission for the United States.
She possesses the ultimate in stealth while using every inch of her formidable platform for her mission. Literally, a "black hole" in the ocean, she is effectively employed by her crew of 135 and can be re-configured to support SEAL operations. Coming now in numbers, she is the platform for submarines for the 21st century.
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Secrets of the Sub
Artist Alberto Vargas became famous for his WWII watercolors depicting beautiful pin-up girls. "Varga girls" were so popular that many different artists immitated Vargas’ technique and approach to the female figure: an idealized female form eliciting sensuality and seduction. During the 1940’s his work was a hit amongst enlisted men who drew inspiration from them which inadvertently created high morale. The military was so influenced by this art that they adorned their vessels with it. Many military aircraft had Varga style girls decorating the nose of their planes, Varga girls were even printed on greeting cards and sent to enlisted men by their sweethearts. Inside the engine room aboard USS Bowfin, the crew posted a 1943 Vargas calendar, on which they doodled, wrote notes, and recorded their conquests of the sea.