Sunday, June 19, 2011

In Memoriam - USS Bonefish (SS-223) - Lost 18 June 1945

USS Bonefish (SS-223), a Gato-class submarine, was built by the Electric Boat Company at their shipyard in Groton, Connecticut. Commissioned on 31 May, 1943, she was assigned to the Pacific campaign and operated out of the submarine base established at Fremantle, Australia for six combat patrols. After an overhaul in San Francisco, California, the veteran submarine returned to action, operating out of Guam.

In one of the more unusual incidents of the war, Bonefish rescued two Japanese aviators after their plane had been shot down by a U.S. Navy aircraft.

Bonefish's eighth war patrol was to be her last. Operating with USS Tunny (SS-282) and USS Skate (SS-305) as a "wolfpack", she penetrated the Sea of Japan, one of the last places Japanese shipping could be found in numbers.

At the end of the patrol, Bonefish did not make the scheduled rendezvous with the other members of her "wolfpack". After waiting three days, Bonefish was declared overdue and presumed lost.

A postwar examination of Japanese records revealed that Bonefish sank the 5,488 ton cargo ship Konzan Maru on 19 June. The resulting Japanese counterattack involved at least five Japanese warships and brought up a large amount of debris and a large oil slick.

Bonefish was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for her first, third, fourth, fifth and sixth war patrols and she received seven battle stars.


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