USS Pilotfish (SS 386)
"Submarine Honor Guard"
USS Pilotfish (SS 386)
May 15, 1943, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard laid the keel of a Balao-class submarine, USS Pilotfish (SS 386). She was launched 3 months later and commissioned into the United States Navy on December 16, 1943.
|USS Pilotfish (SS 386) prior to launching at Portsmouth Navy Yard. United States Navy photograph.|
April 10, 1944, Pilotfish joined the Pacific Fleet. During the war, the submarine patrolled the Mariana Islands, Bonin Islands, Chichi Jima, and the East China Sea. She began her sixth war patrol on August 9, 1945. Pilotfish was ordered to patrol the south-east of Japan on lifeguard duty.
|USS Proteus (AS 19) at Midway Naval Base in May 1944. Submarines alongside are (from left to right) USS Bang (SS 385), USS Pintado (SS 387), and USS Pilotfish (SS 386). United States Naval Historical Center Photograph.|
August 15, 1945, Pilotfish received the "Cease Fire" order. She remained on lifeguard duty and also completed neutrality patrol. August 31, 1945, the submarine arrived in Tokyo Bay for her mission to participate in the formal surrender of the Empire of Japan two days later. The next day she went underway to return to the United States.
|USS Pilotfish (SS 386) underway with crewmen on deck, September 1945, upon arrival at San Francisco. |
United States Naval Historical Center Photograph.
"PILOTFISH was underway for San Francisco, California, after 18 months duty beyond the continental limits of the United States, which duty covered 75, 075 miles underway during 313 days on war patrol. The homing pennant flying from the periscope as the PILOTFISH enters the Golden Gate will probably mean most to those of her commissioning personnel who still remain aboard after six war patrols." -- History of Pilotfish (SS 386)
July 1, 1946, Pilotfish was used as a target for the Operation Crossroads atomic bomb test at Bikini Atoll. The submarine was decommissioned on August 29, 1946, and finally struck from the Naval Register on February 25, 1947.
|Postal Cover issued on USS Pilotfish (SS 386) at Operation Crossroads Nuclear Test Abel.|
Pilotfish was commissioned in the United States Navy for three years, two months, and nine days. During that time the submarine served six war patrols, earning five battle stars in World War II, and participated in the nuclear bomb testing in the Bikini Atoll.
Author: Allison Hiblong