Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Today, we had a short notice work day aboard Razorback to troubleshoot the high efficiency geothermal units that provide both heat during the winter and air conditioning during the summer aboard Razorback. We pulled 3 of the 4 heat exchangers out of the river for cleaning and checked the fittings. We purged all 4 units and 3 of the 4 are working again.
A big Thank You goes out to: John Albers, Jim Franks, Jim Gates, Joe Mathis, Tom Salisbury, Ray Wewers and Greg Zonner. And a special "Well Done" to Ray Wewers for getting us the additional help.

Monday, January 24, 2011

In Memoriam - USS S-26 (SS-131) - 24 January 1942

USS S-26 (SS-131) was designed during the First World War, and were based on the experience gained fighting the German U-Boats of that period.

S-26 was built by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation at their shipyard in Quincy, MA. Commissioned in 1923, she, along with her sisters of the same "S" class, were the workhorses of the American submarine force in the 1920s and 1930s.

After the Pearl Harbor attack, the Navy decided to press as many submarines into service as possible. Even the "S" class boats, by then near 20 years old and lacking the speed and range of more modern submarines, could be used to patrol areas like the Aleutian Islands, the Philippines, the East Indies and the approaches to the Panama Canal, where their limited performance could be offset by greater numbers, at least until newer submarines could be built.

S-26 was assigned to patrol the Atlantic Ocean approaches to the Panama Canal. On January 24th, the submarine chaser USS Sturdy (PC-460) was assigned to escort four submarines out to their patrol areas. At 2210, Sturdy sent the message that, having reached the patrol zone, she was leaving the formation, and that the submarines should begin their assignments.

did not receive the message.

Since wartime rules were in effect, both S-26 and Sturdy were traveling under blackout conditions. Neither the small submarine nor the small patrol boat saw each other in the darkness, and at 2223, USS Sturdy struck S-26.

The submarine sank almost immediately. The only survivors were the men on the bridge at the time of the collision - the Commanding Officer, the Executive Officer, and an enlisted lookout.

Although salvage operations were begun immediately, they were unsuccessful. 46 men were lost. S-26 was never raised.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Book - "A Razorback Submariner"

Captain Lennis L. Lammers, USN (ret) has penned a brief, but interesting, collection of short stories about his time aboard USS Razorback. CAPT Lammers, now of Holly Grove, AR, served aboard Razorback as Weapons Officer and Engineering Officer from 1963 to 1966. He served under LCDR Wittier Davis and also under LCDR Glen "Pappy" Sears.

Captain Lammers visited the museum a while back and took the time to relate a few of these stories. We are happy to see these stories collected and printed.

The book runs 86 pages and is in a nicely produced softcover. Most of the photos in the book will be familiar to visitors to our website, but there are couple from Captain Lammers personal collection. We hope to borrow this collection long enough to scan all of them and get them posted to the website, where they will join the many other photos there.

Copies are available from the AIMM museum store by calling (501)-371-8320. The cost is $9 in person, or $11 if you want a copy mailed to you.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

A Submarine in the Snow

Yes, some of us were crazy enough to be down here in the snow. (Don't be like us, stay home...)

Got some great pictures, though. Posted more to the AIMM Facebook page.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

In Memoriam - USS San Francisco (SSN-711)

On January 8, 2005, USS San Francisco (SSN-711), a Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered attack submarine ran aground on an uncharted seamount while traveling submerged at a speed of about 35 knots at a depth of approximately 525 feet. Machinist Mate 2nd. class Joseph Allen Ashley of Akron, OH perished in the accident. 23 other crewmen were severely injured and 74 other crewmen were slightly injured.

The area in which San Francisco was operating was relatively uncharted, and even though there were references in some of San Francisco's charts to discolored water (an indication of the presence of a sea mount), the warning was not transferred to the charts her crew was using during the accident.

As a result of the accident, her Commanding Officer, Kevin Mooney was reassigned to unspecified duties in Guam and given a nonjudicial letter of reprimand. Six crew members were also issued similar letters, and received a reduction in rank. In contrast, twenty other officers and crew members were awarded for their actions during the crisis.

San Francisco was repaired at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, WA. Her heavily damaged bow section was replaced with that of the retired USS Honolulu (SSN-718). By "recycling" parts from one submarine to repair the other, the Navy saved approximately $100 million.

More than 1,000,000 pounds of material was involved in the transfer of the bow section.

USS San Francisco returned to service in 2009 and is now home ported in San Diego, CA.

Ship's patch graphic courtesy of Paul Honeck.

Official U.S. Navy photograph.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Sailor, Rest Your Oar

AIMM notes with sadness the passing of former Razorback Commanding Officer Whittier Gale Davis, CDR USN (ret).

CDR Davis was Razorback's CO from July 5th, 1962 until April 30th, 1964.

A graduate of the Navy's wartime "V-12" program, he chose to accept an appointment as a Midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, even though he was eligible for a commission as an Ensign. While at Annapolis, he met his future wife, Elizabeth (Libby) and developed passion for sailing. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1949.

After serving in destroyers, Whit attended submarine school and was assigned to several submarines, culminating in his command of Razorback.

After his retirement from the Navy in 1972, CDR Davis was an active sailor, racing frequently and contributing greatly to the sport.

He is survived by Libby, his wife of 61 years, three sons and eight grandchildren.

Friends are invited to Coronado Yacht Club, January 27, 2011, 5 to 7 p.m. to revisit happy times. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Coronado Maritime Foundation are suggested.

Photograph and information courtesy of the Coronado Eagle and Journal.

In Memoriam - USS Scorpion (SS-278) - Last Seen 05 January 1944

USS Scorpion (SS-278), a Gato-class submarine left Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 29 December 1943 to conduct her fourth war patrol. Her assigned patrol area was the northern East China Sea and the Yellow Sea between mainland China and Korea.

On the morning of 05 January, 1944, Scorpion requested a rendezvous with the nearby USS Herring (SS-233) in order to transfer a sailor who had suffered a severely broken arm. The rendezvous was accomplished late that afternoon, but heavy seas prevented the transfer of the injured man.

Scorpion was never seen or heard from again.

After the war, an examination of Japanese records revealed that a number of anti-submarine mines had been laid in the approaches to the Yellow Sea in late December 1943. Although several American submarines crossed the minefields without incident, Scorpion was in the area at the time when the mines would have been the freshest, and therefore the greatest danger.

Although the exact cause for Scorpion's loss may never be known for certain, the most likely cause is a Japanese mine.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

The current issue of The Submarine Review has arrived and is in the library.

Among the notable articles:

USS MISSOURI Commissioning Keynote Speech

The Great Draft of 1963

Tragedy at Sea, Military Tribunals, 18th Century Style

A Brief History of Sub Radio Communications Part II

Submarine News from Around the World

Filipinos in Submarines During World War II

An Honorable German by McCain
War Beneath the Waves by Keith