USS COD -WORLD WARD SUBMARINE
12 July 1993
As you may know, COD is now the last remaining unmodified U.S. Navy WW II fleet submarine. She was mothballed following the end of hostilities and escaped the GUPPY program. Reactivated during the Korean Police Action she served in a joint program between the U.S. and Canadian Navies.
Following her second decommissioning she avoided the scrap yard and bad the honor of being the first non-ceremonial vessel to transit the St. Lawrence Seaway. (The Queen’s Royal Yacht was the first.) This voyage was for the purpose of bringing her to Cleveland to replace GAR as the training platform for the submarine reserve group at the Cleveland Naval Reserve Center.
When the diesel electric boats were excessed by the Navy in the early 1970s, most of these vessels again faced the scrap dealer’s torch. COD was among approximately two dozen submarines that the Navy turned over to private groups to serve as museums or memorials. A few of these boats were also unmodified from their wwn configuration except for changes made to accommodate the training programs .
All of the groups, with the exception of ours, further modified their boats by installing stairways through the superstructures and pressure bulls to accommodate visitors. Our group did not have the financial resources to pay for the modification, but it was put on the wish list.
A few years ago an action by the U.S. Department of the Interior, which declared COD a National Historic Landmark because of her unique status, caused us to realize that COD now had a new mission. Our first response was to change COD’s status from museum to memorial. We then launched a program to reverse the changes made to accommodate the reserve training program.
We reinstalled bunks, removed training gauges from the diving station and replaced them with originals, and renovated compartments and deck spaces. Detailing has included canned goods in storage areas, dishware and utensils in galley, pantry, wardroom and crew’s mess. Blankets, pillows and curtains in wardroom compartments have added to the image that the boat is about ready for sea.
After a good deal of effort and persistence we again have our 5″ -25 cal. wet-gun mounted on the after deck. Single 40s are again in place on the fore and aft bridge declcs.
Visitors to COD must scramble down the same ladders used by COD’s crew to visit the below deck spaces. It is our policy to keep the boat as open as possible to the public so we have very little in the way of barricades or other constraints. While managers and curators of other museum vessels claim they would be stolen blind without their safeguards in place, we found that our visitors have treated COD with respect. I don’t believe the people of Cleveland are necessarily more honest than others, but rather it is something about the fact that we demonstrate respect and trust in their integrity and they return it in kind.
About two years ago we learned that COD was one of the few boats involved in Project 3-the project Admiral Lockwood pushed near the end of the war to produce photo coverage of the SilenltService. An intensive effort was rewarded last August when we finally located color movie footage of COD’s seventh war patrol. We have approximately 50 minutes of remarkable footage of COD’s surface action on her last war patrol, including the rescue of the crew of the Dutch submarine, 0-19, which went aground on Ladd Reef. (Referenced in COMSUBPAC nightly news, 17 July 1945.)
Copies of this footage have been put on video tape and distributed to all of COD’s WWII crewmen we have been able to locate. When COD’s engineering officer for all seven of her war patrols, received his copy-wherein he is extensively featured leading the boarding party that was stranded aboard a Junk in enemy waters for three days when COD was attacked by Japanese aircraft-he was so moved he revealed to me that he had kept a diary covering the entire war. (He was on SA URY in Manila Bay when Pearl Harbor was attacked.) He has given the diary to us to use in our efforts for preserving COD.
It is our intention to utilize all of the above in producing a video tape and possibly a book that can be used to raise funds for COD. As I see it, our mission-the preservation of COD-can best be carried out by maximizing public awareness of this unique National treasure. To that end we recently rechristened COD as U.S.S. COD Memorial and made the national newswire services. Admiral Eugene Fluckey was our guest of honor, and Tamera White. First Lady of the City of Cleveland, our patron.
I recently learned of the mission of the Naval Submarine League in our conversation with Neil Ruenzel of Electric Boat. While the primary mission of our two groups is somewhat different, there appears to be significant common ground. Our message to approximately 30,000 visitors each summer (we are open 1 May through the Labor Day weekend) emphasizes the importance of the U.S. Submarine Force and the role it bas played in preserving our freedom. COD stands as a memorial to the submariners of the WW II era and the price they paid. A visitor to COD is invariably and positively affected by the experience.
Just prior to starting this letter I answered one from a mother who had visited COD with her son last year. In read, in part: “Would you please send me a copy of your brochure. My son visited the U.S.S COD when we came to Cleveland last summer and has worn out the copy we have. It has been taped several times and is still falling apart. He reads it over and over and imagines he is on it-complete with sound effects and all. He is 8 years old and already wants to be in the Navy.
From the included donation check I noticed that her husband is a physician. This is just one of hundreds of similar reactions we bear about each year.
My point, in all of this, is that we may be able to assist you with that part of your mission that maintains awareness of our submarine heritage among your members. Our group is a volunteer organization, and is a federal 50l(c)3 non-profit corporation and a not-for-profit Ohio corporation. While we are easily meeting our fiscal needs through gate receipts and some donations, we are not in a position to help you financially. If you feel that our organization can help you in any other way please let me know.
I personally believe that a powerful and omnipresent U.S. Submarine Force is the best means for preserving our national liberty in this modem world. There is not a doubt in my mind that the Strategic Defense Initiative in tandem with our competent undersea capabilities provided the pressure that broke the Soviet back. And in the future it will be the certain knowledge of our resolve and our ability that will deter other fanatics from treading on us.
My apologies for the length of this letter. I have a feeling that serendipity may be playing a part in our learning of one another, and I wanted to be sure to adequately introduce our organization to you.
John C. Fakan , PhD
MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR WAHOO
31 July 1993
June 1945 saw LCDR C.K. Miller of Williamsport, PA busy carrying out his wartime reconnaissance duties, steering REDFIN (SS 272) on her sixth patrol along the south coast of Hokkaido. His position then about 42aN and 144aE. This correspondent was a ship’s company electrical striker, hot bunking in the after battery.
On 29 May 1993 the captain of Japanese tugboat HOKURYU steered her along Hokkaido’s northern shores so that Submarine Veterans of the Lehigh Valley Chapter could pay their respects to Dudley Morton’s WAHOO (SS 238) by laying a wreath over her remains.
Mr. George Logue, an Air Force veteran and chapter associate member, lost his brother, Robert, a firecontrolman, aboard the crippled boat now at rest in some 20 fathoms in LaPerouse Strait. Joining us in remembering Robert Logue and his shipmates were Mr. Shibata and Mr. Hashimura, one a motor mac, the other a quartermaster back then when they helped sink WAHOO aboard their auxiliary minesweepers. Together at ten o’clock in the morning and at the northern limit of our travels in the strait, limited by the invisible international line that separates USSR and Japan, all paid tribute with garlands.
LCDR C.K. Miller relates in his last patrol report that Soundman First Class Tom Wann, then a student of the ministry, contributed to his peace of mind during his strained sweeps in the Honshu area. George Logue and thi~writer got similar comfort in having uncovered Dr. Larry Hagen, a former U .S. Marine and for the last 30 years a Baptist missionary in Hokkaido. His knowledge of local culture extended to his vast familiarity with both custom and language, all of which were indispensable to our memorial efforts in foreign waters.
The service was brief but filled with sorrow for Mr. Logue, who recalled that older brother, Robert, used to carry him on his back, a reminder of the words in the old Boys Town flyer that made the rounds during the ’30s: “He ain’t heavy, Father, he’ s my brother.” It is also significant that the state of Nebraska long ago adopted WAHOO as its LOST BOAT.
What a Friend We Have in Jesus was directed by Dr. Hagen and sung by all just prior to laying the flowers off the starboard bow. The Japanese followed with their own eulogy, sung in spirited marching fashion as they too offered homage to lost shipmates. Thus the two nations humbly paid their respective tributes as HOKURYU circled on station.
Marlin F. Schaffer
1710 Elm Street
Allentown, PA 18104
A TRIED SOLUTION TO DIE NEW PROBLEM
11 December 1993
Now that the Administration has decided that the U .S . nuclear submarine industrial base must be saved and has requested funding for a third SEA WOLF Class boat as a stopgap until a new attack submarine design has been developed, I sense a feeling within the submarine community that the future is now secure. However, I see two reasons for continuing concern. First, with construction going forward at the rate of one SEA WOLF at a time, unit costs are going to be sky high because of the inherent inefficiencies in shipyard manning and material procurement. Thus we can anticipate further political and budgetary opposition to extending the construction program.
Second, approval of the proposed CENTURION is far from assured. In order to be cheaper than current types, it has to be less capable, but the reduction in capability will be offset in the first unit by the increased costs involved in introducing a new and unfamiliar design, and in the later units by a low rate of new orders. The Navy will be in the position of trying to defend an expensive submarine with inferior capabilities, which will be widely perceived as unneeded for any military purpose.
On the other hand, it is vitally important that the nation’s ability to build nuclear powered submarines be preserved. If the present plan toward that end appears likely to fail, what alterna-tives should be considered? James George (see The Submarine Revjew for October 1993) says: “The only solution is some kind of a high-low mix of subs and for the low end that probably means the dreaded D word-the diesel SS.” I hope that he does not believe that building diesel submarines will help to maintain a nuclear submarine industrial base. The only effective solution is to continue building nuclear powered boats, but why do they have to be attack submarines of inferior military capability’?
I am reminded of the situation facing the submarine force after World Warn. The Navy had a large fleet of capable submarines, far more than it needed to guard against any immediate threat, yet it had to preserve its ability to build new ones when the need arose. Today we have a surplus number of Los Angeles Class boats, basically capable of meeting any conceivable threat for a decade or so to come. Instead of building cheaper (i.e., less effective) replacements, we can upgrade as many as we will need to maintain an active force of 45-50 attack subs along with the three planned SEAWOLF types. However, this will not serve to preserve the new construction industrial base. What we can do is follow the example of the past and build some purely experimental submarines-new Albacores if you will. Major savings could be made by eliminating most of the combat suite while still retaining the major characteristics of a nuclear powered boat.
One might ask what experimental features could be tested profitably on such a submarine. Among those that come immediately to mind are automation and reduced manning, titanium fabrication, various types of propulsion plants, modular assembly techniques, replaceable hull sections. new sonars and other sensors, and all kinds of auxiliary equipment. A particularly intriguing problem from the viewpoint of a construction planner would be to devise a way of phasing the work so as to balance the workload more evenly among the various trades involved. This could lead to significant economies by reducing labor turnover among critically skilled trades, especially when new submarine orders will be few and far between. When the time comes, as it surely will, when we will have to start building more combat submarines, the lessons learned from the proposed experimental boats can be put to use like those learned a generation ago on the ALBACORE.
John D. Alden
39 Sunnyside Avenue
Pleasantville, NY 10570