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|92k||Trachinotus carolinus, the Common Pompano which spawned the Pompano (SS-181) & Pompano (SS-491).||Photo courtesy of photolib.noaa.gov. via wikipedia.org.|
|174k||Pompano (SS-181) at left, Henley (DD-391), at right, under construction at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 16 April 1936.||US National Archives photo # 19-N-18021, photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection.|
|1.80k||Henley (DD-391) is ready for christening at Mare Island on 12 January 1937. The Pompano (SS-181) is on the ways to the right.||USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.|
|2.10k||Henley (DD-391) is at the end of the ways at Mare Island on 12 January 1937. The Pompano (SS-181) is on the ways to the right.||USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.|
|412k||Pompano (SS-181) dressed with flags prior to launching at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, California, 11 March 1937.||Photo courtesy of Tommy Trampp.|
|114k||Christening party for the Pompano (SS-181) at Mare Island on 11 March 1937. Pictured from left to right are Mrs. Isaac I. Yates (Sponsor), Mrs W. H. Price (Maid of Honor), Captain Isaac I. Yates, USN, and Col. Raymond S. Pratt, USA, Chief of Staff, 7t California Artillery.||USN photo # 193-37, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.|
|313k||Mrs. Isaac I. Yates christens the Pompano (SS-181) at Mare Island on 11 March 1937.||UPI photo courtesy of S. Dale Hargrave.|
|77k||Pompano (SS-181) afloat immediately after her launching, at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 11 March 1937.||Official USN photo / US National Archives # NH 44005, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.|
|23k||Commemorative postal cover on the occasion of the Pompano's (SS-181) launching, 11 March 1937.||Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).|
|159k||Commemorative postal cover on the occasion of the Pompano's (SS-181) commissioning on 12 June 1937.||Photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.|
|519k||Left to right: Marjorie McGrath, Naval Academy Cadet and future XO of the Pompano (SS-181) Tom McGrath, and Elizabeth McGrath, probably during the end of the summer of 1937.||Photo i.d. courtesy of Ric Hedman.|
Photo courtesy of Kathy Krucker, niece of Lieutenant Commander (Executive Officer) Thomas Patrick McGrath, K.I.A. with the rest of the 76 man crew of the Pompano.
|359k||Pompano (SS-181) circa 1937.||Photo # 2015-01 courtesy of trumanlibrary.org.|
|277k||Broadside of the Pompano (SS-181) circa 1937.||Photo # 2015-09 courtesy of trumanlibrary.org.|
|21k||Commemorative postal cover marking the boats of the P-class (SS-176/81) first Navy Day, 27 October 1937; |
Perch (SS-176), Pickerel (SS-177), Permit (SS-178), Plunger (SS-179), Pollack (SS-180) & Pompano (SS-181).
|Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).|
|18k||Commemorative postal cover on the occasion of the Pompano's (SS-181) first Xmas, 25 December 1937.||Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).|
|79k||Pompano (SS-181) in San Francisco Bay, California, 1938.||Official USN photo / US National Archives # 80-G-456127, now in the collections of the National Archives.|
|28k||Commemorative postal cover on the occasion of the Pompano's (SS-181) shakedown cruise, 19 January 1938.||Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).|
|25k||Commemorative postal cover on the occasion of the Pompano's (SS-181) shakedown cruise, 23 November 1939.||Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).|
|52k||Pompano (SS-181) entering Pearl Harbor, circa 1937 - 41.||USN photo.|
|389k||Prewar photo of Captain Lew Parks of the Pompano (SS-181) with Ralph Pleatman on board the Pompano.||USN photo courtesy of Tom Pleatman, son of Ralph Pleatman who served oboard the Pompano, Seahorse (SS-305) and Sea Devil (SS-400).|
|94k||Prewar photo of the Pompano (SS-181) probably off the coast of Mare Island, CA.||USN photo courtesy of Kathy Krucker, niece of Lieutenant Commander (Executive Officer) Thomas Patrick McGrath, K.I.A. with the rest of the 76 man crew of the Pompano.|
|129k||Crew picture of the Pompano (SS-181) is from around 1941.|
I believe Lt. Comdr. L. S. Parks is in the center front row, Lieutenant Commander Willis M. Thomas is to his right & next to him is Lt j.g. David Connole, 3rd from the end.
To the left of Lt. Comdr. L. S. Parks is the XO, LCDR. Earle Caffrey Schneider, who would be K.I.A. as CO of the Dorado (SS-248). 3rd from left should be Lieutenant Commander Thomas Patrick McGrath, Slade Cutter is 2nd from the left.
The Plunger (SS-179) appears in the left corner.
|Photo i.d. courtesy of Kathy Krucker, niece of Lieutenant Commander (Executive Officer) Thomas Patrick McGrath. (K.I.A.)
USN photo courtesy by Tai Sing Loo via Rick Connole, son of Commander David R. Connole, K.I.A. while commanding the Trigger (SS-237), lost with the entire crew of 89 on 28 March 1945.
|68k||Lieutenant Commander (Executive Officer) Thomas Patrick McGrath of the Pompano (SS-181) appears here in a prewar photo. Star athlete in boxing and football while at Annapolis, his report of the events of the day from 7 December 1941 through the end of Pompano's first war patrol, 1 February 1942 appear in a PDF article activated by clicking on his photo. He was killed in action with the entire crew of the Pompano on or about 1 September 1943 while making his 7th war patrol onboard the boat.||USN photo courtesy of Kathy Krucker, niece of Lieutenant Commander (Executive Officer) Thomas Patrick McGrath, K.I.A. with the rest of the 76 man crew of the Pompano.|
|63k||Oil on canvas painting by the artist Jim Christley entitled "Off To War". |
Although mismanaged and crippled with defective torpedoes, the boats such as this one of the Perch-class (SS-176/81) headed out to do battle with the Imperial Japanese Navy.
|Photo & text courtesy of subart.net.|
|221k||1942 drawing of the Pompano (SS-181) by the Mare Island artist Ike R. Lloyd depicting the boat in a surface action.||Courtesy of Rick Connole, son of Commander David R. Connole, K.I.A. while commanding the Trigger (SS-237), 26 March 1945.|
|123k||As Pompano (SS-181) shifted her patrol to the main route between Japan and the Indies, a large transport escorted by one destroyer caught her eye 30 May 1942. Running to a position ahead of the convoy, the marauder waited until her victim was only 750 yards away before scoring two solid hits which sank the transport, 7,983 ton Atsuta Maru, two and a half hours later.||Text courtesy of DANFS.
Photo courtesy of Tommy Trampp.
|89k||Painting entitled A Tight Place by the artist E.V. Vandos, depicting the Pompano's (SS-181) third war patrol which started 19 July 1942. By 3 August, she was in her area, and began patrolling within four miles of the coast. A few minutes past midnight on the morning of 7 August, she fired four torpedoes at a large freighter, but all missed. Two days later, a cruiser or a large destroyer sighted Pompano and opened fire. As Pompano ducked under the sea, shells could be heard hitting the water.||Text courtesy of DANFS.
Photo courtesy of history.navy.mil.
|66k||Patrol ship dead in water after attack / later sunk by gunfire, prisoner removed.||USN photo courtesy of Rick Connole, son of Commander David R. Connole, K.I.A. while commanding the Trigger (SS-237), lost with the entire crew of 89 on 28 March 1945.|
|83k||Ralph Pleatman & Tom McGrath bringing back a Japanese prisoner from wreckage of patrol boat we sank.||USN photo courtesy of Rick Connole, son of Commander David R. Connole, K.I.A. while commanding the Trigger (SS-237), lost with the entire crew of 89 on 28 March 1945.|
|1.21k||Photos are labeled Pompano (SS-491) coming into harbor at probably Pearl Harbor to leave a Jap prisoner. |
These photos can not possibly be of Pompano (SS-491), as that boat didn't even exist! Construction of that boat started on 16 July 1945 at Portsmouth, but was canceled and broken up on the ways on 12 August 1945, with not much more than the keel laid down. However, this boat is the Pompano, but actually the Pompano (SS-181)! All of the details of the boat match that of the first Pompano and these pictures were taken in Pearl Harbor on 18 June 1942 at the close of her 2nd war patrol. The prisoner was rescued from a small inter-island steamer that she had sank with gunfire.
The fact that the U.S. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics screwed up the ID of this picture so badly is an abject lesson of never trusting captions, even ones from trusted sources. If something doesn't look right, question it and do the research to get the truth.
The really interesting part of this is that the pictures were received at the Bureau in October 1945, over two years after the boat was lost. Where were these pictures in the interim?
|Photo & text i.d. courtesy of Dave Johnston (USNR)|
Photos # 80-G-345610 / 345615 & / 80-G-345611 & 345616, from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
|318k||Lieutenant Commander Lewis Parks, with back to camera, receives a new recognition ribbon from an unidentified United States Navy officer on board a submarine, probably the Pompano (SS-181). This is possibly either his first Navy Cross or the Gold Star, both of which he was awarded for service aboard the Pompano. He is seen here as he boards a jetty in preparation for departing a submarine. An unidentified officer (left) also salutes the officer.||Photo # 2015-68 & 2015-73 (insert) courtesy of trumanlibrary.org.|
|76k||Lieutenant Commander Willis M. Thomas, USN, the Commanding Officer of Pompano (SS-181) receives the Navy Cross from Rear Admiral Wilhelm L. Friedell, in ceremonies at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 7 December 1942.||US National Archives photo # 80-G-21785 from the Bureau of Ships Collection.|
|319k||Five United States submarine officers pose after receiving medals for valor against the enemy. From left to right: Lieutenant Commander Raymond Henry Bass (United States Navy) received the Navy Cross; Lieutenant Commander Willis Manning Thomas (United States Navy) received the Silver Star; Captain Charles W. Styer, Commander Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet awarded the medals; Lieutenant Commander David Rickart Connole (United States Navy) received the Silver Star; Lieutenant Thomas Patrick McGrath (United States Navy) received a Silver Star, and Lieutenant Ralph F. Pleatman (United States Navy Reserves) received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal.||Photo # 2015-81 courtesy of trumanlibrary.org.|
|118k||Pompano (SS-181) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 19 December 1942.||US National Archives photo # 19-N-38960 from the Bureau of Ships Collection.|
|436k||Pompano (SS-181) off Mare Island Navy Yard, 19 December 1942.||USN photo #8007-42, courtesy of Harry E. Royer.|
|374k||Pompano (SS-181) off Mare Island Navy Yard, 19 December 1942.||US National Archives photo # 19-N-38961 now in the collections of the US National Archives, courtesy of Harry E. Royer.|
|129k||Plan view of the Pompano (SS-181) forward, taken at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 24 December 1942.
Circles on the photo mark recent alterations to the ship. Note periscope, radar antenna, 20mm machine gun mountings and other details.|
Pompano exemplifies early war modifications to the big fleet submarines in this photo. Her old streamlined bridge fairwater has been cut away, leaving a small open bridge. Forward of it is a new platform for a 20-mm gun (the gun itself is not atop its mount) and the retractable mast of her SD air warning radar.
The 3-in/50 gun has been moved forward of the fairwater. Atop the bridge are a seperate loop antenna (to receive HF radio signals at periscope depth) and the mast of a new SJ surface search radar. The after end of the fairwater supports a second 20-mm mount. Note also the strut built out from the fairwater to support a long-wire radio antenna for use when surfaced.
|Partial text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
US National Archives photo # 19-N-38965 from the Bureau of Ships Collection.
|54k||The following photos are from the scrapbook of (then LT) David R. Connole, who served on 4 war patrols during 1943 and was Pompano's (SS-181) diving and engineering officer during that time.|
David Connole, Ralph Pleatman, W. M. Thomas (Captain) & Lieutenant Commander (Executive Officer)Tom McGrath, both K.I.A. on the Pompano.
|USN photo courtesy of Rick Connole, son of Commander David R. Connole, K.I.A. while commanding the Trigger (SS-237), lost with the entire crew of 89 on 28 March 1945.|
|96k||Three Pompano (SS-181) crewmembers pose before the conning tower which needs a paint job rather badly; Ralph Pleatman,(who later served aboard the Sea Devil (SS-400), Slade Cutter, then executive officer of the Pompano and later CO of the Seahorse (SS-304) & David Connole.|
|61k||Bridge scene returning to base, shows O.O.D. John Henry Lassiter's lookouts & Slade on top.|
|64k||Slade Cutter on Pompano's (SS-181) bridge.|
|27k||Pompano (SS-181) on smooth sea.|
|45k||Bridge / Captain of the Pompano (SS-181) sure enjoying sunshine.|
|70k||Bridge / lookouts CCM Patrick's 1st sight of daylight after 45 days.|
|65k||Pompano's (SS-181) score card / count of sinkings through her first 5 war patrols.|
|79k||Japanese prisoner, possibly from her second patrol, conducted east of Formosa when she sank a large transport, a tanker, a small freighter, and two patrol boats.||USN photo courtesy of Rick Connole, son of Commander David R. Connole, K.I.A. while commanding the Trigger (SS-237), lost with the entire crew of 89 on 28 March 1945. Partial text courtesy of csp.navy.mil.|
|51k||During a chase of target burning from shell fire – later sunk.|
|89k||Ralph Pleatman looking for a target.|
|88k||Lt. David Connole on board Pompano (SS-181). CO Thomas in background.|
|539k||25 January 1943 PDF article from the St. Louis Post Dispatch about Lt. David Connole and his ability to getting used to depth charges.|
|101k||Lt. David Connole in Hawaii during his service aboard the Pompano (SS-181).|
|113k||On 10 July 1943 at about 2200, LtCdr Willis M. Thomas' Pompano (SS-181) fires two Mark 14 3A torpedoes at the 17, 549-ton Kyokuyo Maru using radar bearings S of Shio Saki at 33-31N, 135-24E, but both run erratically and miss ahead.|
The Kyokuyo Maru appears here in ballast in May 1941.
|Text & photo courtesy of combinedfleet.com.|
|215k||"On Eternal Patrol", first day cover.||Courtesy of Harry E. Royer.|
|96k||Google Earth satellite photo of the Northern Honshu area of Japan, Pompano's (SS-181) last approximate position based during post-war debriefings. This position is thought to be the final resting place of the Pompano and her crew, just off shore from the Sheria Saki Lighthouse.||Views courtesy of Matsubayashi via Google Earth & Keith and Judy Kibbe, descendants of CMoMM Charles Albert Wilson, K.I.A. with the rest of the 76 man crew of the Pompano. Google Earth satellite photo courtesy of oneternalpatrol.com.|
|68k||The Sheria Saki Lighthouse costal radar station is just a mile or two away from where the Pompano (SS-181) may lie, according to the information provided here.|
Pictured here is a Sokuten Class minelayer, the Tsubame, representative of the type of vessel which may have taken part in the Pompano's destruction.
|IJN photo by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships" courtesy of combinedfleet.com.
Sheria Saki Lighthouse photo courtesy of Japanese Coast Guard via unc.edu.
PDF courtesy of Keith and Judy Kibbe, descendants of CMoMM Charles Albert Wilson, K.I.A. with the rest of the 76 man crew of the Pompano.
|31k|| The physical landscapes of the northern end of Honshu Island where the Pompano (SS-181) was lost. |
The north-south coverage extends from the Sendai Plain (lighter-colored area, bottom right) along the southern coast to beyond the Tsuruga Strait, which separates northern Honshu from Hokkaido Island (top center). The limited amount of intermontane valleys and coastal plains are easy to identify as the lighter-colored areas in the image. The overwhelming, darker terrain shows the extensiveness of the forested mountains that dominate the scene.
The image provides a vivid reminder that in Japan only about 20 percent of the land is suitable for human habitation or agriculture. The two white spots near the west coast of Honshu are dormant, snow-capped volcanic peaks- Mt. Chokai (north) at 7317 feet (2230 meters) above sea level and Mt. Gassan (more southerly) at 6496 feet (1980 meters) above sea level.
|Photo # STS040-610-28 & text courtesy of jsc.nasa.gov.|
|846k||Navy Press Release photo released to the media on 1-5-44 to announce that since Pompano (SS-181) was long overdue, it was presumed lost||Photo courtesy of Keith Kibbe.
Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Photo from Evening Star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, 06 January 1944, Image 16, via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
PDF added 03/28/19.
|597k||14 page PDF on the latest steps being taken to find the Pompano (SS-181).|
The next step in resolving the mystery of what happened to the Pompano now rests in the hands of the officials in the Japanese government who are being petitioned by our Embassy to grant permission for further investigations of the wreck in the location of interest.
|PDF courtesy of Keith and Judy Kibbe, descendants of CMoMM Charles Albert Wilson, K.I.A. with the rest of the 76 man crew of the Pompano.
Click here to read previous PDF's.
|74k||Commemorative photo in honor of the memory of the crew of the Pompano (SS-181).||Photo courtesy of Tom Kermen. Dante's Prayer courtesy of Loreena McKennitt via quinlanroad.com.|
|16k||Willis Manning Thomas, Commander (Commanding Officer) of the Pompano (SS-181) at the time of her loss.||USN photo courtesy of oneternalpatrol.com.|
|117k||Joyce DaSilva, the wife of Jesse DaSilva of the Tang (SS-306), one of the nine survivors of the boat, tosses a flower into a reflecting pool to honor the memory of one of the 52 submarines lost during World War II at the National Submarine Memorial-West on board Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, Calif. On this Veterans Day, the Submarine Veterans of World War II transferred ownership of the memorial to the U.S. Navy.
The following text is from The Coming Fury by Bruce Catton., pg. 478.
"Major Sullivan Ballou of Rhode Island was killed in the battle, and just before it he had wrote to his wife, Sarah, to tell her that he believed he was going to be killed and to express a tremulous faith that could see a gleam of light in the dark:
"But O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and float unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you in the gladdest days and in the gloomiest nights, always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your chest it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait, for we shall meet again!"
|Text i.d. courtesy of Marlynn Starring.
Photo i.d. courtesy of Chuck Senior, Vice Commander, Los Angeles-Pasadena Base, USSVI.
USN photo # N-1159B-021 by Journalist 2nd Class Brian Brannon, courtesy of news.navy.mil.
|1.96k||Transmitted as a PDF file is the Navy report on the dive made to the wreck site last August 2014 that was hoped to be the Pompano (SS-181). It was prepared by the Navy History and Heritage Command (NHHC); they were the people in charge of investigating the wreck, both in this August 2014 dive and also a year earlier when remotely operated underwater cameras were used to make a preliminary investigation of the site.|
I do not have much to add to the report except generally support their broad conclusions on what may have happened on 17 September 1943. By way of summary, it is clear from Japanese records that a Japanese aircraft had spotted a moving oil slick at about 7:30 in the morning which then led to a day long attack with depth charges. After stopping for several hours a few miles further out to sea, presumably in somewhat deeper water, the Japanese believed the submarine reversed course and headed back into shallower water. A number of people, including me, thought this meant the sub was damaged and was trying to reach shallower water in the interest of survival. The Japanese believed they were following its movements and believed it stopped at the location they marked with a buoy which has been the location of interest for the entire Navy effort. The Japanese continued dropping depth charges at this location and they reported oil gushing to the surface, concluding they had sunk the submarine. However, Japanese authorities in Tokyo would not credit them with sinking a sub because there was no floating wreckage. As noted in the conclusions of this report, it is possible that this wreck they dived on was the source of oil gushing to the surface after depth charges impacted in its area. This is possible.
What happened to the Pompano remains a mystery. It is possible that she lies in that shallow water not too far from the light house and has not been detected yet. (As mentioned in the report, a somewhat larger area was swept with side scan sonar looking for wrecks but they certainly did not cover the entire area to a distance of several miles.) It is possible that Pompano survived the attack and snuck away only to succumb later to either damages from this depth charge attack or from hitting a Japanese anti-submarine mine. It was unknown to the US at the time that the Japanese had been placing these mines off the northeastern shores of Honshu.
I am told it is not likely that the Navy will pursue this any further.
|Text & PDF courtesy of Keith Kibbe.|
|727k||Original Caption 3/2/1951-Groton, CT: Widow of the commander of the submarine Pompano (SS-181) in World War II, Mrs. Willis Manning Thomas, is shown as she prepared to launch the Navy's newest and deadliest submarine, called the K-1. Standing by are Lt. James E. Carter, 26 (left), of Plains, GA., one officer of the crew that'll man the craft, and J. J. Hopkins, President of the Electric Boat Company, builders of the craft, Mrs. Thomas is from Arlington, VA.||Photo by Bettmann/Getty Images, courtesy of gettyimages.com.|
|760k||Pompano (SS-181) memorial at Juniper Hill Park,
Frankfort, Kentucky, 2006.|
In the Second Book of Shmuel (Samuel), 22nd chapter, 5th through the 20th verses, translated from the original in Hebrew and published by the Koren Publishers of Jerusalem, Israel, 1982, can perhaps aptly describe the fate of the crew and all other U.S. submariners who died defending their county:
"When the waves of death compassed me / the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; / the bonds of She'ol encircled me; / the snares of death took me by surprise; / in my distress I called upon the Lord, / and cried to my G-D: / and he heard my voice out of his temple, / and my cry entered into his ears. / Then the earth shook and trembled; /the foundations of heaven moved / and shook because of his anger /...the heavy mass of waters, and thick clouds of the skies /... And the channels of the sea appeared, / the foundations of the world were laid bare, / at the rebuking of the Lord, at the blast at the breath of his nostrils. / He sent from above, he took me; / he drew me out of many waters; / he delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me; for they were too strong for me. / They surprised me in the day of my calamity: / but the Lord was my stay / He brought me forth also into a large place: / he delivered me because he delighted in me./"
|Photo courtesy of Hugh Hudson.|
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