In Memoriam - USS Harder (SS-257) - Sunk 24 August, 1944
Official U.S. Navy Photograph
CDR Sam Dealey
USS Harder (SS-257) under the command of CDR Sam Dealey, was sunk by Japanese ships off the Philippines in the pre-dawn hours of 24 August, 1944 while on her sixth war patrol.
Harder had been operating with USS Haddo (SS-255) and USS Hake (SS-256) as a "wolf-pack," or a group of submarines operating together and conducting coordinated attacks together. On 21 August, the wolf-pack was joined by three other submarines and made an attack on a convoy, sinking four Japanese merchant ships. Over the next two days, the wolf-pack attacked two different groups of Japanese ships, sinking several frigates and a destroyer. Haddo, having expended all of her torpedoes, left the wolf-pack on the 23rd.
Early the next morning, while cruising only 600 or so yards apart, Harder and Hake sighted a minesweeper and a destroyer operating together. As they approached, they were detected and the Japanese ships attacked. Hake was able to avoid the attack, but heard a series of 15 depth charges explode.
The Japanese records note that after the attack, "much oil, wood chips and cork floated in the vicinity."
Harder was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for her first five patrols, and CDR Dealey was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his fifth war patrol, which included sinking five Japanese destroyers in five days.