World War II

The Submariners

During World War II (1941-1945) they were known as the "Men of the Silent Service". They were the Submariners of the U.S. Navy. Their battleground was fought beneath the seas of the world. After Japan's Naval Fleet attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, it was the American Submariners who first attacked the enemy. On 15 December 1941, the crew of the U.S.S. Swordfish (SS-193) sunk the first Japanese merchant ship.

By the end of the war, U.S. submarines and their crews had destroyed 1,178 enemy merchant ships or approximately 55% of Japan's merchant fleet and 29% of their war ships. These unparalleled accomplishments cost the lives of 3,505 U.S. Submariners and the loss of 52 U.S. submarines. U.S. subs, comprising 2% of U.S. naval forces sunk 52% of all enemy ships.

On 6 August 1945, the submarine U.S.S. Bullhead (S-322), hit by enemy aerial bombs off the coast of Bali, Indonesia was the last U.S. submarine sunk in the war. All crew members were lost. Japan formally surrendered on 2 September 1945.

The bravery and valor of America's undersea warriors were unsurpassed in the annals of submarine warfare. Often alone, the fought in the silence of the seas and paid a high price in lives for their daring accomplishments. Approximately 1 out of every 4 submariners on patrol lost their lives in the war.

Our nation recognizes their deeds of courage in combat and service by bestowing on the Submariners the highest awards for valor and service including seven Congressional Medals of Honor, Distinguished Service Crosses, Navy Crosses, Silver Stars, Bronze Stars, Purple Hearts, Unit Citations and hundreds of other medals and citations.

Stand with us today, as we honor and pay our respects to our gallant brothers of the silent service who are on eternal patrols. Our nation's freedom was not free. It was earned! Remember!