Balao Class Fleet Submarine
311' 6" x 27' 3" x 16' 10"
10 × 21-inch torpedo tubes
1 × 4-inch
1 x 40mm AA gun
1 x 20mm cannon
Laid down on
March 15, 1943 at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, New Hampshire.
USS Pampanito and USS Picuda (SS-382) were the first two of ten subs to be built in Portsmouth's new shipbuilding basin. Launched on July 12, 1943. Commissioned November 6, 1943, with Lieutenant Commander Charles B. Jackson, Jr. in command.
After shakedown off New London, Connecticut, Pampanito transited the Panama Canal and arrived at Pearl Harbor on 14 February 1944. Pampanito made six patrols in the Pacific. In total, she sank six Japanese ships and damaged four others and earned six battle stars for World War II service.
First War Patrol
Her first war patrol, from March 15 to May 2 was conducted in the southwest approaches to Saipan and Guam. She served on lifeguard duty south of Yap, then scored two torpedo hits on a destroyer before sailing for Midway Island and Pearl Harbor for refit and repairs to a hull badly damaged by depth charges.
Second War Patrol
Pampanito's second war patrol, from June 3 to July 23 off Kyūshū, Shikoku, and Honshū. On 23 June, a submerged Japanese submarine fired two torpedoes, just missing Pampanito. On 6 July, Pampanito damaged a Japanese gunboat, and 11 days later headed for Midway Island.
Third War Patrol
Pampanito's third war patrol, from August 17 to September 28, a "wolfpack" operation with submarines Growler (SS-215) and Sealion (SS-315), was conducted in the South China Sea.
On September 12, 1944 a US submarine wolf pack including USS Sealion, USS Barb, USS Queenfish, USS Pampanito and USS Growler attacked a convoy bound from Straits Settlement for Japan. She sank 10,509 ton POW ship Kachidoki Maru carrying 900 British prisoners, the 5,135 ton tanker Zuihō Maru, and damaged a third ship.
On September 15, the attacking submarines were notified that Allied prisoners were found among the wreckage from the Rakyo Maru and Pampanito traveled at top speed back to the scene of the sinking, arriving five days later. Finding men clinging to makeshift rafts, Pampanito was able to pick up 73 British and Australian survivors and called in three other subs, USS Sealion, USS Barb (SS-220) and USS Queenfish (SS-393), to assist with the rescue. She then set course for Saipan, disembarked the survivors, and returned to Pearl Harbor.
Fourth War Patrol
Pampanito's fourth war patrol, from 28 October to 30 December, took place off Formosa and the coast of southeastern China with Sea Cat (SS-399), Pipefish (SS-388), and Searaven (SS-196). Sinking 1200 ton cargo ship Shinko Maru Number One, 19 November, she damaged a second ship before putting in to Fremantle for refit.
Fifth War Patrol
in the Gulf of Siam, from 23 January to 12 February 1945, with Guavina (SS-362), was highlighted by two sinkings: 6,968-ton cargo ship Engen Maru on February 6 and the 3,520-ton passenger-cargo ship Eifuku Maru on February 8. Afterwards, the submarine refitted at Subic Bay.
Sixth War Patrol
Departed Subic Bay for the Gulf of Siam, operating with Caiman (SS-323), Sealion, and Mingo (SS-261), she sighted only one target before returning to Pearl Harbor.
Afterwards, proceeded to San Francisco for overhaul, returning to Pearl Harbor on August 1. At the end of the war, returned to San Francisco. Decommissioned at Mare Island on December 15, 1945.
Remained in reserve until April 1960 when she was assigned to Naval Reserve Training at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. Reclassified AGSS-383 on November 6, 1962, she served as a Naval Reserve Training ship at Vallejo, California, until stricken from the Navy Register on December 20, 1971.
In 1999, the submarine was moored at Pier 45, Fisherman's Wharf and operated by the San Francisco Maritime Park Association. The submarine hosts approximately 110,000 visitors a year and is one of the most popular historic vessels in the country.
Pampanito is being restored to its configuration during late summer of 1945, to represent the height of WW II submarine development.
USS Pampanito Official Website
Down Periscope features this submarine
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February 4, 2018