Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Benny's Peacemakers

"Submarine Honor Guard"

"Benny's Peacemakers"

“Cease offensive operations against Japanese forces.  Continue search and patrols.  Maintain defensive and internal security measures at highest level and beware of treachery or last moment attacks by enemy forces or individuals.” –Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Chief of Naval Operations, August 14, 1945.

This message was sent to all United States naval units in the Pacific Fleet.  The commander of the Submarine Force Pacific Fleet, Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, then relayed the message to his submarines.

Excerpt from the diary of USS Razorback (SS 394) crew member Atkinson.  AIMM Permanent Collection.

August 30, 1945, twelve United States Navy submarines rendezvoused with task group “Benny’s Peacemakers” to participate in the formal surrender of the Empire of Japan in Tokyo Bay, Japan.

"Benny" referred to Commander Raymond Henry "Benny" Bass.  Bass, a native Arkansan, graduated from the Naval Academy in 1931 and served in the United States Navy until 1959.  During World War II, Bass was a submarine commander throughout the war.  When the “Cease Fire” was given, Commander Bass commanded the submarine USS Runner (SS 476).  He was put in command of twelve submarines, “Benny’s Peacemakers,” to witness the end of World War II.

Excerpt from the diary of USS Razorback (SS 394) crew member Atkinson.  AIMM Permanent Collection.

“Benny’s Peacemakers” tied up alongside the submarine tender USS Proteus (AS 19) on August 31, 1945.

Proteus was commissioned into the United States Navy on January 31, 1944.  She served in Midway and Guam completing voyage repairs and refitted submarines.  Proteus became the flagship of a twenty six ship support group that steamed off the coast of Honshu, Japan, until August 26, 1945.  Two days later, the submarine tender anchored in Sagami Wan to support submarines.  August 31, 1945, Proteus and “Benny’s Peacemakers” anchored off Yokosuka Navy Yard, in Yokosuka Ko, Japan.

Excerpt from USS Razorback (SS 394) September 1945 deck log.  

USS Razorback (SS 394) crew members listening to the live broadcast of the surrender ceremony.  Raines's photograph collection.  AIMM permanent collection.

The ceremony began at 9:02 a.m. on September 2, 1945. The ceremony was broadcast throughout the world and lasted twenty three minutes.  The ceremony ended with the following statement.

"Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always. These proceedings are closed!" -  General MacArthur, September 2, 1945.

With those words the Second Great War was finally over.

"Admiral Lockwood returning from formal surrender on the Missouri.  He is Chief of all subs operating in Pacific area." -- Marion Raines.  Raines's photograph aboard USS Razorback (SS 394) September 2, 1945.  AIMM permanent collection.

Author: Allison Hiblong

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