USS Growler (SSG-577)
USS Growler (SSG-577), an early cruise missile submarine of the Grayback class
USS Grayback (SSG-574)
USS Grayback , the lead ship of her class of submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the grayback, a small herring of great commercial importance in the Great Lakes....
, was the fourth ship of the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...
to be named for the growler
The largemouth bass is a species of black bass in the sunfish family native to North America . It is also known as widemouth bass, bigmouth, black bass, bucketmouth, Potter's fish, Florida bass, Florida largemouth, green bass, green trout, linesides, Oswego bass, southern largemouth...
, a large-mouth black bass
Bass is a name shared by many different species of popular gamefish. The term encompasses both freshwater and marine species. All belong to the large order Perciformes, or perch-like fishes, and in fact the word bass comes from Middle English bars, meaning "perch."-Types of basses:*The temperate...
Construction and trainingGrowler was laid down on 15 February 1955 by the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard , often called the Portsmouth Navy Yard, is a United States Navy shipyard located in Kittery on the southern boundary of Maine near the city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It is used for remodeling and repairing the Navy's ships...
of Kittery, Maine
Kittery is a town in York County, Maine, United States. The population was 9,543 at the 2000 census. Home to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Seavey's Island, Kittery includes Badger's Island, the seaside district of Kittery Point, and part of the Isles of Shoals...
. She was launched
Ship naming and launching
The ceremonies involved in naming and launching naval ships are based in traditions thousands of years old.-Methods of launch:There are three principal methods of conveying a new ship from building site to water, only two of which are called "launching." The oldest, most familiar, and most widely...
on 5 April 1958 sponsored by Mrs. Robert K. Byerts, widow of Commander Thomas B. Oakley, Jr., who commanded the third Growler
USS Growler (SS-215)
, a Gato-class submarine, was the third ship of the United States Navy named for the growler, a large-mouth black bass. Her keel was laid down by the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 2 November 1941 , and commissioned on 20 March 1942 with Lieutenant Commander...
on her 9th, 10th, and fatal 11th war patrols. Growler commissioned
Ship commissioning is the act or ceremony of placing a ship in active service, and may be regarded as a particular application of the general concepts and practices of project commissioning. The term is most commonly applied to the placing of a warship in active duty with its country's military...
at Portsmouth on 30 August 1958 with Lieutenant Commander Charles Priest, Jr., in command.
After training exercises off the East Coast Growler sailed south for her shakedown cruise, arriving at the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station
Roosevelt Roads Naval Station
Roosevelt Roads Naval Station is a former United States military air base in the town of Ceiba, Puerto Rico. The site is run today as José Aponte de la Torre Airport, a public use airport.-History:...
, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...
, on 19 February 1959. After a brief run back to Portsmouth, she returned to the Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....
in March to train in launching Regulus I and II guided missiles. Growler returned to Portsmouth 19 April via Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Lauderdale is a city in the U.S. state of Florida, on the Atlantic coast. It is the county seat of Broward County. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 165,521. It is a principal city of the South Florida metropolitan area, which was home to 5,564,635 people at the 2010...
, and New London, Connecticut
New London, Connecticut
New London is a seaport city and a port of entry on the northeast coast of the United States.It is located at the mouth of the Thames River in New London County, southeastern Connecticut....
Operational historyGrowler then proceeded to the Pacific via Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. With a population of 242,803 as of the 2010 Census, it is Virginia's second-largest city behind neighboring Virginia Beach....
, Key West, Florida
Key West, Florida
Key West is a city in Monroe County, Florida, United States. The city encompasses the island of Key West, the part of Stock Island north of U.S. 1 , Sigsbee Park , Fleming Key , and Sunset Key...
, and the Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...
, putting in at Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor, known to Hawaiians as Puuloa, is a lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu. Much of the harbor and surrounding lands is a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet...
on 7 September to serve as flagship of Submarine Division 12. At Pearl Harbor the guided missile sub participated in a variety of battle and torpedo exercises as well as missile practice before beginning her first Regulus Deterrent Mission. On this mission, which lasted from 12 March to 17 May 1960, Growler departed Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...
with a full store of Regulus sea-to-surface missiles, armed with nuclear warheads, and patrolled under a strict cloak of secrecy. Their patrols could last two months or more at a stretch and required them to remain submerged for hours and even days—which at first hardly seems difficult when compared to the patrols of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, but was a strain for the crew of a much smaller diesel boat. It is traditional that the log entries for 00:00 (midnight) on New Year's Day be made in verse. On 1 January 1961, during Growlers second patrol, Lieutenant (j.g.) Bruce Felt wrote: "Not our idea of fun and good cheers/But doing our job to ensure many New Years."
From May 1960 through December 1963 Growler had made nine such deterrent mission patrols, one of which, the fourth, terminated at Yokosuka, Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...
, on 24 April 1962, as the Navy displayed one of its newest weapons.
Decommissioning and fateReturning to Mare Island, California, Growler decommissioned 25 May 1964 and was placed in reserve. She was moved to the Inactive Fleet section in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility is a United States Navy shipyard covering 179 acres on Puget Sound at Bremerton, Washington...
in Bremerton, Washington
Bremerton is a city in Kitsap County, Washington, United States. The population was 38,790 at the 2011 State Estimate, making it the largest city on the Olympic Peninsula. Bremerton is home to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and the Bremerton Annex of Naval Base Kitsap...
, was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register
Naval Vessel Register
The Naval Vessel Register is the official inventory of ships and service craft in custody of or titled by the United States Navy. It contains information on ships and service craft that make up the official inventory of the Navy from the time a vessel is authorized through its life cycle and...
on 1 August 1980, and was scheduled to be used as a torpedo target. However, on 8 August 1988, Congress awarded the hulk to Zachary Fisher
Zachary Fisher was a prominent Jewish American philanthropist in the New York real estate community and a major philanthropic benefactor for the men and women in the United States Armed Forces and their families, as well as numerous other not-for-profit organizations.He founded the Fisher House...
, Chairman of the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum
Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum
The Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum is a military and maritime history museum with a collection of museum ships in New York City. It is located at Pier 86 at 46th Street on the West Side of Manhattan. The museum showcases the World War II aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, the submarine , a Concorde...
Due to the renovations to the entire Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum complex, including the USS Intrepid
USS Intrepid (CV-11)
USS Intrepid , also known as The Fighting "I", is one of 24 s built during World War II for the United States Navy. She is the fourth US Navy ship to bear the name. Commissioned in August 1943, Intrepid participated in several campaigns in the Pacific Theater of Operations, most notably the Battle...
and Pier 86 the Growler was towed to Brooklyn for repairs. Holes found rusted in the hull complicated matters and pushed repair costs past $1.5 million. The Growler returned to Pier 86 in late February 2009, and was re-opened to the public on 21 May 2009, during the Intrepid museum "Fleet Week 2009" celebration.