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  USS Gato SS-212
Gato Class Submarine

1,526 Tons (surfaced)
2,424 Tons (submerged)
307' x 27.3' x 19.3'
10 × 21" torpedo tubes
(6 fwd, 4 aft)
with 24 torpedoes
1 x 3" deck gun
2 × .50cal MG
2 × 30cal MG
USN Feb 3, 1944

Ship History
Built by the Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut. The first ship of her class and the prototype for the major portion of the submarines constructed by the United States for service in World War II. Launched on August 21, 1941 by Mrs. Royal E. Ingersoll, wife of then Rear Admiral Royal Ingersoll, Assistant Chief of Naval Operations. Commissioned on December 31, 1941 and shortly thereafter left for service with the Pacific Fleet.

Wartime Service
During April 1942 until June 1943 Gato saw continuous service in the Pacific conducting five war patrols in the Kuriles and Aleutians, duty as part of the screening force during the Battle of Midway, and patrols around Truk and the Solomon Islands. In the Solomons, Gato supported coast watchers and intelligence services, making several landings to deliver supplies and personnel to isolated observation posts in Japanese held areas. On one of these operations, in addition to commandos, Gato evacuated twenty-seven children, nine mothers, and three nuns from a mission on Bougainville.

During this same period Gato undertook reconnaissance of Tarawa and Makin. During these operations Gato sank five enemy ships totalling 41,000 tons.

After an overhaul at Mare Island, Gato returned to the Southwest Pacific where she conducted three more war patrols in 1943 and 1944. On her seventh patrol Gato captured a prisoner of war from a life raft off the Admiralties. Two weeks later, after sinking the cargo ship TSUNESHIMA MARU, the submarine was subjected to a severe depth charging from her escorts. Following the depth charge attack, Gato surfaced and found an unexploded depth charge lodged in the rudder. With the help of the Japanese prisoner, the ship's Gunnery Officer dislodged the charge and lashed it to a rubber raft which was set adrift with a slow leak.

Eight War Patrol
On February 2, 1944 departed Milne Bay on a war patrol in the Bismarck-New Guinea-Truk area.

On February 5, 1944 Gato surfaced in Open Bay near Maitanakunai to rescue two group of Allied aviators from behind enemy lines. The first group included: Gordon Manuel, Owen Giertsen, Carl Planck and Edward Czarnecki. The second group included William Townsend, David McClymont and Fred Hargesheimer. Afterwards, the aviators were transported to Finschafen to be debriefed.

On February 15, 1944 Gato sunk a trawler off Truk. On February 26, 1944 sank transport Daigen Maru # 3. On March 12, 1944 sank the Okinoyama Maru No. 3 sunk during a daylight attack using only her deck gun. Afterwards, two other trawlers were sunk by only fire from her deck gun before returning to Pearl Harbor on April 1, 1944.

Gato's vigilance patrolling the north entrance to the Bougainville Sound and her aggressive attacks during her fourth through eighth war patrols was credited with the destruction of 13 enemy ships totalling 69,400 tons.

During May 1944 transferred to the Central Pacific. Her ninth and tenth patrols were primarily reconnaissance and lifeguard missions in the vicinity first of Truk and the Bonin Islands. After completing her tenth patrol, Gato was overhauled at Mare Island.

During January 1945, departed Pearl Harbor on her eleventh war patrol in the Yellow Sea sinking two ships including one destroyer escort. Her twelfth and thirteenth patrols were conducted off the coast of Japan as a lifeguard in support of air operations over those islands. During this duty ten U.S. Army aviators were rescued from the waters of the Pacific. At the end of her thirteenth patrol Gato anchored in Tokyo Bay to witness the signing of the instrument of surrender aboard USS Missouri.

Gato earned thirteen Battle Stars and five Presidential Unit Citations. She participated in the Midway Operations, the Capture and Defense of Guadalcanal, the Asiatic-Pacific Raids of 1944, the Marianas Operation, the Western Caroline Islands Operation, Iwo Jima Operation, Okinawa-Gunto Assault and Occupation, and the Third Fleet Operations Against Japan

Her aggressive attacks during her fourth through eighth war patrols in the Solomons, Bismarck Sea, New Guinea and Truk areas earned for her a Presidential Unit Citation and the nickname "The Goalkeeper" from Admiral William F. Halsey.

Following the war, Gato served as a Naval Reserve Training Ship in New York City and Baltimore, Maryland. She was stricken from the US Navy list, sold then broken up for scrap during 1961.

NavSource - USS Gato SS-212
The School That Fell From the Sky (2002) by Fred Hargesheimer pages 113-116 (USS Gato Report of Special Mission, February 3-6, 1944)

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019


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