Friday, November 30, 2012

Captain Joe Talbert on Eternal Patrol

It is with a heavy heart that AIMM must announce the passing of Captain Joseph Truitt Talbert, Jr., USN (ret).

Captain Talbert was the last commanding officer of USS Razorback.  He commanded Razorback from December 19th, 1969, until she was decommissioned from the U.S. Navy on November 30th, 1970.

Captain Talbert qualified in submarines aboard USS Redfish (SS-395), one of the submarines that had been built alongside Razorback at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.  Captain Talbert also served aboard USS Salmon, USS Theodore Roosevelt, USS Carbonero USS Ulyssess S. Grant, and USS Sterlet.

Captain Talbert passed away at his home in Coronado, California with Emily, his wife of many years, at his side.  She noted that he had been in the hospital, battling pneumonia, but had just returned home - "He knew he was here and was happy."

We will post information as arrangements are know.

Sailor Rest Your Oars

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hoga In Drydock

Hoga is now in drydock at ADR.  Her lower hull has been hydroblasted and is being ultrasonically tested to determine exactly which parts do (and, just as importantly which parts DON'T) need repair.

No work has yet started, but we are looking forward to having all necessary work done in the near future.

As we know more, we will keep everyone appraised.

Friday, November 23, 2012

In Memoriam - USS Capelin (SS-289) - Sunk 23 November 1943

USS Capelin's disappearance remains a mystery to this day.

After being out 17 days on her first war patrol, she returned to the U.S. submarine base in Darwin, Austrailia with a defective conning tower hatch mechanism, too-loud bow planes, and a malfunctioning radar tube. After these flaws were corrected, she left for her second patrol on 19 November.

Although USS Bonefish (SS-223) reported sighting a United States submarine on 2 December in Capelin's assigned area in the Molukka and Celebes Seas, nothing was heard from the boat after she departed on her second war patrol.

Postwar records revealed that on 23 November, 1943, an American submarine was attacked off Halamaera, a heavily fortified island in Capelin's patrol area. Enemy minefields are known to have been placed along the Celebes coastline, and it is suspected that Capelin was lost to a mine explosion.

76 sailors went down with Capelin.

National Archives photograph 80-G-468104

Sunday, November 18, 2012

In Memoriam - USS Sculpin (SS-191) - Sunk 19 November 1943

USS Sculpin, sister ship to Squalus (SS-192), made radar contact with a fast convoy on 18 November 1943, and followed, submerged, for a dawn attack. She was detected, however, and forced deep. When she surfaced to begin another pursuit, she was seen by a destroyer that was lagging behind the convoy, and a round of depth charging ensued. Though Sculpin survived this attack with relatively minor damage, she accidentally broached when her diving officer tried to bring her to periscope depth with a depth gauge that had stuck at 125 feet.

Another round of depth charging followed Sculpin's accidental surfacing. Finally, a string of close explosions threw the deeply submerged Sculpin badly out of control, and her CO, CDR Fred Connaway, made the decision to surface and fight using the deck guns. A shell through main induction and another through the conning tower killed most of Sculpin's officers, leaving LT G. E. Brown in command. He gave the order to scuttle the boat.

12 men, including Captain John P. Cromwell, rode the boat down. CAPT Cromwell had extensive knowledge of US plans for future submarine operations. To deny the Japanese that information, he went down with Sculpin, reportedly sitting in the wardroom with coffee cup in hand. CAPT Cromwell would posthumously receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for "his great moral courage in the face of certain death."

The 42 men who escaped Sculpin were captured by the Japanese, one of whom, suffering from severe injuries was immediately thrown overboard to drown. The remaining prisoners were taken to Truk and questioned for ten days before being separated into two groups and loaded onto two Japanese aircraft carriers bound for the Japanese home islands. One of those two Japanese warships, Chuyo, was attacked and sunk by USS Sailfish (SS-192), resulting in the deaths of 19 of the 20 Sculpin survivors aboard.

In a strange twist of fate, Sailfish — at the time named Squalus — had herself been rescued by Sculpin in 1939.

The remaining Sculpin suvivors were forced to work as slave labor in the Ashio copper mines for the rest of the war and were liberated by the Allies after VJ Day.

Monday, November 12, 2012

New Artifact Donated to the Museum

Submarine veteran Reggie McCarver of Park Hills, Missouri recently visited Razorback.  He served aboard USS Sirago (SS-485) and USS Pomodon (SS-486).  After his visit, he sent several artifacts to us.

Among these artifacts was this clock, known as a "Rig for Red" clock.  Unfortunately, Mr. McCarver didn't have any documentation or technical manuals to go along with it.

The clock also didn't work when it was received.  However, it didn't take long for our electrician, Joe Mathis, ETC(SS) USN (ret) to restore it to full functionality!  We have not yet decided where to install the clock aboard Razorback, but it will probably be displayed in the Conning Tower.

If you have any sea stories related to a clock like this, please pass them on.