Friday, August 21, 2015

USS Hake (SS 256)

"Submarine Honor Guard"

USS Hake (SS 256)

Postal cover to commemorate USS Hake's (SS 256) commissioning, October 30, 1942.  Courtesy of Jack Treutle.

USS Hake's (SS 256) keel was laid November 1, 1941, in Groton, Connecticut.  The Electric Boat Company launched the boat on July 17, 1942 and commissioned her three and a half months later on October 30, 1942.
USS Hake (SS 256) November 1943.  United States Navy photograph.

Hake's first two war patrols were in the Atlantic Fleet on antisubmarine patrol.  From April 3, 1943 through July 17, 1943, her mission was to search and destroy German submarines in the North Atlantic.  She did encounter a few submarines but did not have any kills during these patrols.
USS Hake (SS 256) November 1943.  United States Navy photograph.

The rest of the war, Hake spent in the Pacific Fleet.  She completed seven more war patrols totaling nine war patrols.  During that time she served off the Philippine Islands, Luzon, Mindanao, South China Sea, Mariana Islands, and Panay Island.  Hake witnessed the loss of USS Harder (SS 257) and USS Growler (SS 215).  In November of 1944, the submarine was sent on a special mission to pick up 29 United States aviators that were held by the Filipino guerrillas.  Hake successfully transported these aviators to Australia before she continued on with her war patrols.
USS Hake's (SS 256) officers on deck September 2, 1945.
From left to right: Fred Maier, Lt. jg Ted Snyder, Lt. Charlie Knapp, Lt. Bob Heysinger, CDR Frank Haylor, LCDR Jack Edmands, Lt. jg Dick Metzger.  Photograph courtesy of Henry (Hank) Knebes.

Hake's ninth war patrol began on July 20, 1945.  She served on lifeguard duty for the air strikes on Japan until the surrender was announced.  Hake was one of the twelve submarines that was given the distinction of being able to witness the formal surrender ceremonies in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.
USS Hake (SS 256) battle flag.  
Post World War II, Hake returned to New London, Connecticut, and was decommissioned on July 13, 1946.  Ten years later, October 15, 1956, Hake was chosen to serve the Navy as a reserve training ship in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Her classification was changed to an auxiliary submarine, AGSS 256.  Hake served as a reserve training ship until November 6, 1962.  The submarine was struck from the Naval Register on March 1, 1967 and sold for scrap on December 5, 1972.
USS Hake (SS 256) circa 1960s.  United States Navy photograph.

Hake actively served the United States Navy for three years, nine months, and fourteen days earning seven battle stars during her service in World War II.  The submarine then served the Navy as a training ship for six years and twenty-two days.

Author: Allison Hiblong

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