Wednesday, August 19, 2015

USS Gato (SS 212)

"Submarine Honor Guard"

USS Gato (SS 212)
Line drawing of USS Gato (SS 212).  Drawing courtesy of Thomas F. Walkowiak.

USS Gato (SS 212) was the lead boat of her class.  Gato-class submarines were launched from 1941 to 1943 and were the first mass production United States submarine class produced in World War II.

USS Gato (SS 212) December 31, 1941.  United States Navy photograph.

The Electric Boat Company laid Gato's keel on October 5, 1940.  She was launched in Groton, Connecticut, on August 21, 1941, and was commissioned into the United States Navy December 31, 1941.  Her first war patrol began in the Pacific on April 20, 1942.

During World War II, Gato completed thirteen war patrols.  Her first five patrols she served off the coast of the Marshall Islands, Kurile Islands, Kiska, Truk atoll, Solomon Islands, and Gilbert Islands. Then during the summer of 1943, Gato was assigned to Mare Island Naval Shipyard for overhaul. 

Pen and ink drawing of USS Gato (SS 212) at Mare Island.  United State Navy photograph.

War patrols six through ten, Gato served in the Salomons, Bismark Archipelago, Milne Bay, Majuro atoll, and Chichi Jima. During her ninth war patrol she transported Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood from Pearl Harbor to Midway in June of 1944.  After the tenth war patrol, Gato again returned to Mare Island for another overhaul.
USS Gato (SS 212) 4"/50 cal deck gun during November 1944 overhaul. United States Navy photograph.
The modifications made to Gato, included installation of new freestanding mast for SD radar and relocation of SJ to a new mast supported by her periscope shears.   January 1945, Gato returned to war for her eleventh patrol.  The rest of the war she patrolled the Yellow Sea, off the coat of Okinawa, and the coast of Wake Island.  While serving lifeguard duty during air strikes on Wake Island, "Cease Fire" was received aboard the submarine.  Gato was able to be apart of the formal surrender ceremony by the Empire of Japan on September 2, 1945.

November 1944 modifications made in Mare Island.  Photograph courtesy of Norman Friedman.
After World War II, Gato was sent to the New York Naval Shipyard.  She was decommissioned on March 16, 1946.  She did serve as a Naval Reserve training ship at New York and Baltimore, Maryland.  March 1, 1960, her name was stricken from the Naval Register.  The Northern Metals Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, bought Gato for scrapping on July 25, 1960.

Gato actively served  in the United States Navy for four years, 3 months, and 16 days.  During that time she earned 13 battle stars and Presidential Unit Citation for her service in World War II.

An American syndicated anthology television series, The Silent Service, aired from 1957 to 1958. This series was based on actual events about submarine service in the United States Navy.  The series finale focused on the service of Gato.  The episode "Five Ring Circus" tells the story of when a Japanese depth charge landed on the deck of the boat without exploding.  The episode can be viewed on Youtube at

Author: Allison Hiblong

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home