Wednesday, October 28, 2009

USS O-5 (SS-66) Sunk October 28, 1923

One of the U.S. Navy's earliest submarines, USS O-5 (SS-66) sank on October 23rd, 1923, less than a minute after being involved in a collision with the steamship SS Abangarez.

Most of the crew was able to escape the sinking submarine. One man, TM2 Henry Breault, reached the deck and realized the submarine was doomed. He also knew that a friend was still trapped in the torpedo room below. Instead of saving his own life, TM2 Breault returned below and secured the torpedo room hatches. Both men remained trapped aboard the submarine for 31 hours, until nearby cranes could be used to lift the stricken submarine enough for the men to be rescued.

TM2 Breault was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions, the first Submariner to receive this award. He is also the only enlisted submariner to receive the Medal of Honor.

O-5 was salvaged shortly after her loss, but the damage was was too severe for her to be ec0nomically repaired, and she was sold for scrapping in December 1924.

Following a lengthy court case, the fault was placed on the submarine, not the merchant ship for the collision.

For more information about the loss of USS O-5, please visit "Submarine Hero: TM2 Henry Breault"

Monday, October 26, 2009

Winter / Holiday Hours Announced

The Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum will be open on the following schedule:

Starting Sunday, November 1st, with the return to Standard Time, we will begin closing at dusk, with the last tour starting 30 minutes prior to closing. (On the 1st, sunset is at 5:15 p.m.) We make this change each year for safety reasons.

Winter Hours
Friday - 10:00 a.m. to Dusk
Saturday - 10:00 a.m. to Dusk
Sunday - 1:00 p.m. to Dusk
We will return to Spring Hours in March, when Daylight Savings Time returns.

Thanksgiving Holiday
We will be open regular hours over the Thanksgiving Weekend:
Friday - 10:00 a.m. to Dusk
Saturday - 10:00 a.m. to Dusk
Sunday - 1:00 p.m. to Dusk
Christmast Holiday
Since Christmas falls on a Friday this year, we will be closed Christmas Day, in order to allow our employees to spend the holiday with their families. However, we will be open regular hours on Saturday and Sunday:
Saturday - 10:00 a.m. to Dusk
Sunday - 1:00 p.m. to Dusk
New Years Weekend
We will be closed on New Years Day, but open regular hours on Saturday and Sunday:
Saturday - 10:00 a.m. to Dusk
Sunday - 1:00 p.m. to Dusk
If you have any questions, or would like to book a group tour, birthday party, or overnight event, please contact the musuem at 501-371-8320.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

In Memoriam - USS Darter (SS-227) - Grounded October 24, 1944

USS Darter (SS-227) grounded on Bombay Shoal at high speed while attempting a surface attack on the Japanese heavy cruiser Takao.

Darter had already made a significant contribution to the Battle for Leyte Gulf, sinking Admiral Kurita's flagship, the heavy cruiser Atago and damaging Takao. The damage to the latter was so severe that she turned back and did not participate in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. In fact, Takao would never sail again as a warship. The loss of the two cruisers and the two destroyers tasked to escort Takao diminished the Japanese defenses and made the remaining ships more vulnerable, probably resulting in additional Japanese losses during the battle.

USS Dace, with whom she had been coordinating her attacks, responded immediately to the Darter's request for assistance, retrieving every member of her stranded crew. Darter and Dace's crews destroyed confidential equipment and papers before an unsuccessful attempt to destroy the boat herself. USS Nautilus (SS-168) arrived on October 31 and scored a number of hits with her deck guns on her grounded sister before her C.O. decided nothing of value could have survived the barrage intact.

Darter's fourth and final war patrol, served alongside Dace, won the two submarines the Navy Unit Commendation for their efforts during the Battle of Surigao Strait.

Darter's entire crew was ordered to take over the USS Menhaden (SS-377), in order to preserve their high esprit d'corps.

In Memoriam - USS Shark (SS-314) - Sunk 24 October, 1944

USS Shark (SS-314) and all of her crew were lost during their third war patrol, October 24, 1944, after a successful attack on a freighter. Her last message, received by the crew of the USS Seadragon (SS-194), indicated her C.O.'s decision to attack; a dispatch from Commander Naval Unit, Fourteenth Air Force, stated that a Japanese ship carrying nearly 2000 American prisoners of war had been sunk on October 24 by an American submarine.

Japanese records on anti-submarine warfare, obtained after the war, also mention the attack on the Japanese ship. The reports add that a Japanese destroyer, Harukaze, made contact with a submerged submarine in the same vicinity and pummeled it with seventeen depth charges. The same report mentions the surfacing of "oil, clothes, and other debris". This seems to be the most likely explanation for Shark's disappearance.

Shark had served her first patrol near the Mariana Islands as part of a coordinated attack group, working alongside Pintado (SS-387) and Pilotfish (SS-3860). This patrol proved productive; she sank two cargo ships, a passenger-cargo ship, and a freighter. Her second war patrol, served off the Volcano and Bonin Islands. Much of this patrol she served lifeguard station; she rescued two airmen from a downed topedo bomber, Lexington (CV-16). She was awarded one battle star for her efforts during World War II.

Shark was the second submarine of the same name to be lost during World War II. USS Shark (SS-174) was reported overdue and presumed lost on March 7th, 1942

In Memoriam - USS Tang (SS-306) - Sunk 24 October 1944

USS Tang (SS-306) was sunk while on her fifth war patrol, during an intense attack on a Japanese convoy. After sinking a destroyer and a tanker and damaging a transport, Tang closed on the transport, intending to sink her with the last two torpedoes remaining on board (the 23rd and 24th to be fired by Tang on this war patrol). The 23rd torpedo ran "hot, straight, and normal", however when the 24th torpedo was fired, it was observed to broach the ocean's surface and begin turning to the left in a "circular run".

Despite all attempts to escape the torpedo, Tang was struck at the aft torpedo room.

The explosion violently shook Tang, causing severe injuries as far forward as the Control Room.

Tang san by the stern, with the after three compartments flooded. The nine men from the bridge were thrown into the water and only three survived the night, swimming for approximately eight hours until they were picked up by the Japanese. A fourth man was able to escape from the flooded conning tower and was rescued as well.

Tang came to rest on the bottom, in 180 feet of water. The survivors inside the sunken submarine worked their way into the forward torpedo room, surviving a depth charge attack which started a fire in the forward battery compartment. Thirteen men were able to escape the sunken submarine, but only eight reached the surface. Of these eight, only five were able to swim until rescued.

Tang's nine survivors became Japanese Prisoners of War and despite harsh treatment and poor conditions, all survived to be rescued by American forces.

CDR Richard O'Kane received the Congressional Medal of Honor for Tang's fifth war patrol, which saw 22 of 24 torpedoes hit Japanese ships, sinking 13 vessels for a total of 107,324 tons, the most successful single war patrol of any American submarine.

In only five war patrols, Tang sank 31 ships for 227,800 tons and damaged two more. She also rescued 22 Navy arimen off the island of Truk during her second war patrol. She was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation twice.

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Issue of Naval History Magazine Available

The December 2009 issue of Naval History Magazine is now available in the museum store.

The contents include:

  • Cornered at the Bottom of the East China Sea - The story of USS Tambor's 17-hour depth-charging ordeal during her 10th war patrol.

  • The Battle of Mobile Bay

  • The West Gulf Blockading Squadron During the Civil War

  • Growing Up With the Pearl Harbor Story

  • How the Japanese Did it - What the Japanese Did Right Before the Pearl Harbor Attack

Monday, October 05, 2009

Former USS Razorback CO Passes Away

It is with deep regret that we report the passing of Captain Leonce Arnold LaJaunie, Jr., USN (ret).

A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, class of 1937, Captain LaJaunie, Jr. was Commanding Officer of USS Razorback from July 1946 to August 1948.

The above picture is from Captain LaJaunie's time aboard Razorback, and was donated to the museum by Gene Haley.