Wednesday, March 05, 2008

In Memoriam - USS Grayback (SS-208) - Lost 26 February 1944

USS Grayback (SS-208) served ten war patrols and is credited with sinking 22 enemy vessels and damaging nine. Under the command of Willard A. Saunders, she entered WWII. During 1942, she and four other submarines brought down 81 vessels. Operating under Cmdr. Johnny Moore, in 1943 she joined USS Shad (SS-235) and USS Cero (SS-225) in what proved to be a very successful wolf-pack.

Tasked to operate independently once more in January of1943, Grayback served the beginning of her tenth war patrol off the coast of China. After fueling up at Midway 3 February, she was sent to patrol the stretch between Luzon in and Formosa. She radioed in 24 Febrary, reporting 44,000 tons sunk or damaged so far on her patrol. The next day, Moore reported having damaged two more ships and having expended all but two of his torpedoes. He was ordered to return to Pearl Harbor, but Grayback was never seen again.

Japanese records state that a carrier plane located a US submarine 26 February about 300 miles east of Grayback's last known position. It landed a direct hit on the submarine, which exploded. Japanese surface craft joined the fight, and continued bombarding the damaged submarine until bubbles and an oil slick appeared on the surface. Assuming Moore received and followed orders to return immediately to Pearl Harbor, Grayback would have been in approximately the position recorded by the Japanese carrier plane.

80 men went down with Grayback, and the fearsome boat's crew were posthumously awarded the Navy Unit Commendation.


Post a Comment

<< Home