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  USS Seadragon SS-194
Sargo-class submarine

1,450 Tons (Surfaced)
2,350 Tons (Submerged)
310' 6" x 26' 10" x 16' 8"
8 x 21" torpedo tubes with 24 torpedoes
1 x 3" gun
4 x .machine guns

Sub History
Built by Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut. Laid down April 18, 1938 as a Sargo-class submarine. Launched April 21, 1939 as USS Seadragon SS-194 as the first ship in the Navy with that name sponsored by Mrs. May F. Richardson, wife of Admiral James O. Richardson. Comissioned October 23, 1939 in the U. S. Navy (USN) with Lieutenant John G. Johns in command.


Fourth War Patrol
On August 26, 1942 began her fourth war patrol to operate off the coast of Indochina (Vietnam). On September 10, 1942 transited Aop East Pass. On September 11, 1942 in the South China Sea, Pharmacist's Mate Wheeler B. Lipes successfully performed an emergency appendectomy on Seaman Darrell Rectorusing non-medical equipment including a tea strainer and spoons and was the first time such a surgery was ever performed on a submarine. Afterwards, correspondent George A. Weller interviewed crew members for a story that appeared in the Chicago Daily News as "'Doc' Lipes Commandeers a Submarine Officers' Wardroom" on December 14, 1942 and later earned him the Pulitzer Prize.


On July 2, 1948 sold for scrap and afterwards broken up.

In 2005, retired Lt. Cmdr. Lipes was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal for saving a fellow crewman's life

Chicago Daily News as "'Doc' Lipes Commandeers a Submarine Officers' Wardroom" by George A. Weller December 14, 1942
The Hall of Valor Project - James Henry Ashley Navy Cross Citation
"The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Commander James Henry Ashley, Jr. (NSN: 0-73627), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. SEADRAGON (SS-194), on the Eleventh War Patrol of that submarine during the period 23 September 1944 to 7 November, in enemy controlled waters off Formosa, in the South China Sea. Through his daring, outstanding aggressiveness and tenacity, Commander Ashley launched well-planned and smartly executed attacks which resulted in the sinking of enemy ships totaling more than 12,000 tons, and in damaging enemy combatant vessels totaling over 27,500 tons. Through his experience and sound judgment Commander Ashley brought his ship safely back to port. His conduct throughout was an inspiration to his officers and men and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
NPR "Navy Hero to Earn Medal for 1942 Surgery at Sea" February 19, 2005 includes Weller's story "Doc' Lipes Commandeers a Submarine Officers' Wardroom"

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Last Updated
January 29, 2021


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