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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

Grayling (SS-209)

Radio Call Sign: November - Echo - Kilo - Mike


Gar Class Submarine: Laid down, 15 December 1939, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, NH; Launched, 4 September 1940; Commissioned, USS Grayling (SS-209), 1 March 1941; Lost to enemy action between 9 and 12 September 1943 either in Lingayen Gulf or along the approaches to Manila; Struck from the Naval Register, (date unknown); Grayling received six battle stars for World War II service.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,475 t., Submerged: 2,370 t.; Length 307' 2"; Beam 27' 3"; Draft 13' 3"; Speed, Surfaced 20 kts, Submerged 8.75 kts; Complement 5 Officers, 54 Enlisted; Armament, ten 21" torpedo tubes, 24 torpedoes, one 3"/50 dual purpose deck gun, two .50 cal. machine guns, two .30 cal. machine guns; Propulsion, diesel-electric, four General Motors Co., diesel engines, 5.400 hp, Fuel Capacity, 96,365 gals., four General Electric Co., electric motors, 2,740 hp, Battery cells 252, twin propellers.
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Grayling 35k The Grayling, Thymallus thymallus. Courtesy of freshwater-fishing-guide.com.
Grayling577kKeel of U.S.submarine Grayling (SS-209), view looking forward, 15 December 1939, N.Y. Portsmouth N.H.US National Archives photo # 19LCM 647-39, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling518kGrayling (SS-209) bow view, looking aft from the catwalk. The submarine on the ways at right is the Trout (SS-202), 5 January 1940.US National Archives photo # 19LCM 5-40, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling493kGrayling (SS-209) stern view, looking forward from the catwalk, 5 January 1940.US National Archives photo # 19LCM 6-40, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling546kGrayling (SS-209) bow view from 3d story window in building 81, 8 April 1940.US National Archives photo # 19LCM 185-40b, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling687kGrayling (SS-209) stern view from end catwalk, 8 April 1940.US National Archives photo # 19LCM 186-40, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling456kGrayling (SS-209) bow view from 2nd story window of building 81, 10 July 1940.US National Archives photo # 19LCM 349-40, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling665kGrayling (SS-209) stern view from after catwalk, 10 July 1940.
The submarine under construction to the left is the Marlin (SS-205), she is considerably smaller than the Grayling by more than 20%.
Photo i.d. courtesy of Dave Johnston (USNR).
US National Archives photo # 19LCM 350-40, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling248kGrayling (SS-209) closeup view of bow torpedo tube shutters in closed position, 3 September 1940.US National Archives photo # 19LCM bs43051, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling225kGrayling (SS-209) closeup view of bow torpedo tube shutters in open position, 3 September 1940.US National Archives photo # 19LCM bs43050, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling268kGrayling (SS-209) view showing after packing and after poppet, 4 September 1940.US National Archives photo # 19LCM bs43044, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling271kLaunching of U.S.submarine Grayling (SS-209), view showing details of forward poppet hydraulic starting jacks and snubing...portside, 4 September 1940.US National Archives photo # 19LCM bs43041, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling 341k The Grayling (SS-209) is shown inside the old erection shed at Portsmouth just before her launching on 4 September 1940. The more leisurely building schedules prior to the war permitted the boats to be brought to an advanced stage of construction before they were launched.
The Drum (SS-228) is under construction on the adjacent ways to the left.
Photo i.d. courtesy of David Buell & Ric Hedman.
Text & USN photo courtesy of The Fleet Submarine in the U.S. Navy: A Design and Construction History by John D. Alden.
Grayling 250k The tugboats Sightseer & Penacook maneuver the Grayling (SS-209) to berth # 2 after her launching at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, NH, 4 September 1940. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Grayling 16k Commemorative postal cover issued on the occasion of the Grayling's (SS-209) launching at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, NH, 4 September 1940. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Grayling239kGrayling (SS-209), bow view looking aft, at fitting out pier, from 2nd story window, building 89, 1 October 1940.US National Archives photo # 19LCM 555-40, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling395kGrayling (SS-209), stern view looking forward, at fitting out pier, 1 October 1940.US National Archives photo # 19LCM 556-40, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling221kGrayling (SS-209), bow view from building NO 89, 8 January 1941.US National Archives photo # 19LCM 13-41, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling301kGrayling (SS-209), stern view from quay of fitting out pier, 8 January 1941.US National Archives photo # 19LCM 14-41, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling 22k Commemorative post on the occasion of the first day of postal service of the Grayling (SS-209), 20 March 1941. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Grayling 32k Commemorative post on the occasion of the first day of postal service of the Grayling (SS-209), 20 March 1941. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Grayling573kJoining the Atlantic Fleet, Grayling (SS-209) sailed on shakedown cruise 4 August to Morehead City, N.C., and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, returning to Portsmouth 29 August.....
Grayling appears here in a two photo PDF docked at Morehead City, N.C. on 8 August 1941.
Text courtesy of DANFS.
Photos courtesy of Jim Kea, (AO2 1968-1972).
Navy Day20k Commemorative postal cover marking Navy Day, 27 October 1941 and the following submarines commissioned since the previous year:
Trout (SS-202),
Tuna (SS-203),
Mackerel (SS-204),
Marlin (SS-205),
Gar (SS-206),
Grampus (SS-207),
Grayback (SS-208),
Grayling (SS-209),
Grenadier (SS-210) &
Gudgeon(SS-211).
Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Grayling239kTrials of the Grayling (SS-209), starboard view, 12 November 1941.US National Archives photo # 19LCM bs25890, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling358kGrayling (SS-209), port broadside view, 12 November 1941.US National Archives photo # 19LCM bs25891, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling214kGrayling (SS-209), port broadside view, 12 November 1941.US National Archives photo # 19LCM bs25892, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling458kGrayling (SS-209), 18.2 knot run, 12 November 1941.US National Archives photo # 19LCM bs25893, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling522kGrayling (SS-209), 4.9 knot run, 12 November 1941.US National Archives photo # 19LCM bs25894, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling437kGrayling (SS-209), 12 knot run, 12 November 1941.US National Archives photo # 19LCM bs25895, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling423kGrayling (SS-209), 14 knot run, 12 November 1941.US National Archives photo # 19LCM bs25896, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling469kGrayling (SS-209), 18.2 knot run, 12 November 1941.US National Archives photo # 19LCM bs25898, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling352kGrayling (SS-209), 18.2 knot run, 12 November 1941. US National Archives photo # 19LCM bs25897, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Grayling 114k Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN (center), presenting awards on board Grayling (SS-209), at the Pearl Harbor Submarine Base, following ceremonies in which he took command of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, 31 December 1941. The former fleet commander, Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel is standing to the right, in a white uniform with two-star insignia. Admiral Nimitz has just presented the Navy Cross to Ensign F.M. Fisler, USNR.
Others receiving awards, standing left-to-right in line behind Nimitz and Fisler, are: Ensign C.F. Gimber, USNR; AMM1c L.H. Wagoner (also awarded the Navy Cross); AMM1c W.B. Watson; R3c H.C. Cupps; R2c W.W. Warlick and AMM2c C.C. Forbes. They were the crew of a Navy bomber. Pelias (AS-14) is in the background.
USN photo # NH 50799, courtesy of USNHC & Nova/PBS & submitted by Fabio Pena.
Grayling 56k Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN (center), talks to reporters following an awards ceremony on board Grayling (SS-209), at the Pearl Harbor Submarine Base, following ceremonies in which he took command of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, 31 December 1941.
USN photo courtesy of Brian Bartlett, & submitted by Fabio Pena.
Grayling 68k Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN (center) presenting awards on board Grayling (SS-209), at the Pearl Harbor Submarine Base, following ceremonies in which he took command of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, 31 December 1941. In this view, Admiral Nimitz presents the Navy Cross to Aviation Machinist's Mate First Class L.H. Wagoner. Others receiving awards, standing left-to-right in line from center to right, are: Ensign F.M. Fisler, USNR, largely hidden behind AMM1c Wagoner; Ensign C.F. Gimber; AMM1c W.B. Watson; and R3c H.C. Cupps. They were the crew of a Navy bomber.
USN photo # NH 62025 courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
Grayling303kAdmiral Chester W. Nimitz's handwriting detailing his taking command of the Pacific Fleet on board the Grayling, 31 December 1941.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
BB-48 West Virginia677kWest Virginia (BB-48) with masts removed being refitted after attack on Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, 9 September 1942. The data on this photo is dated July 1942.
As is my normal want in trying to i.d. the sub, I contacted our group of experts and Dave Johnston wrote: The boat is a Government built Tambor/Gar. The giveaway is the above deck bullnose towing fairlead on the bow. This was a feature of the Government Tambor/Gars that was not present on the EB versions, and by the Gato's it had been faired into the bow structure. The boat has a Mod 2 fairwater, so this dates the photo to prior to the fall of 1942. By that time the boats were being converted to the Mod 3 configuration where the forward part of the fairwater was being cut away as well.
The boat is sitting high in the water, indicating that she has been defueled and weapons removed, possibly prior to or immediately after a drydocking or substantial yard period. So, find a Government design Tambor/Gar that was in the yards in the spring/summer/early fall of 1942 (but after the WV was refloated) in Pearl Harbor and you will probably have your boat.

Robert Morgan wrote (among other things): A word about dates that appear on photos before we proceed... I think we may be looking at a misdated photo. Wee Vee was refloated in May, taken immediately to drydock, and was there in July, 1942, so the photos in that flickr album couldn't date from summer, 1942. She wasn't dockside at that point in time. The Wee Vee in those photos has had some new paintwork, something that wouldn't have done before refloating and taking her to drydock, when they were still in the midst of repairing her.
There was a VERY lengthy and argumentative thread about Wee Vee and her paintwork on the Steelnavy message board a year ago - The crux of it was that parts of Wee Vee, probably all of her, received fresh blue paint before leaving Pearl for rebuilding. There are some color photos out there and as inconsistent as the early color photos were, it's clear when you're looking at fresh paint over old Measure 1. The Wee Vee in those photos, and the original one appears to have fresh paint, probably Measure 12. That, along with her location dockside instead of in drydock, all argue for a fall, 1942, date.

Drum roll please: The submarine on the left is the Grayling (SS-209). She departed Pearl on 14 July 1942 and arrived back on 26 August 1942.
The Grayling left on her next patrol (fourth) on 19 October 1942.
Text i.d. courtesy of Dave Jonnston (USNR) & Robert Morgan.
USN photo # 80-G-13978 courtesy of National Museum of the U.S. Navy via flickr.com
Photo added 07/23/17.
Grayling634kPreparing to take West Virginia (BB-48) to dry dock, Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, 9 September 1942.
Note the missing foremast and the six-months of blackened oil and marine growth that was removed from her hull while in drydock.
The Grayling (SS-209) is viewed bow view on.
Photo. i.d. & text courtesy of Richard Wong.
USN photo # 80-G-13977 courtesy of National Museum of the U.S. Navy via flickr.com
Photo added 07/23/17.
Grayling875k 8 page PDF history of vessels named Grayling. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Grayling 391k Google Earth satellite photo of the Grayling's (SS-209) last approximate position based during post-war debriefings. This position is thought to be the final resting place of the Grayling and her crew. View courtesy of Google Earth.
Fremantle 365k This plaque was unveiled 20 March 1995 by His Excellency Major General P.M. Jeffery OA MC, Govenor of Western Australia to commemeorate the sacrifices made by Allied submarined that operated out of Fremantle, Western Australia during WW II. Photo courtesy of Ron Reeves.
Grayling 14k Robert Marion Brinker, Commander (Commanding Officer) of the Grayling (SS-209) at the time of her loss. USN photo courtesy of oneternalpatrol.com.
Grayling 49k Commemorative photo in honor of the memory of the crew of the Grayling (SS-209).Photo courtesy of Tom Kermen. Dante's Prayer courtesy of Loreena McKennitt via quinlanroad.com.
Tolling the Boats 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.
Grayling 109k Commemorative post mark honoring the Grayling (SS-209). Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Grayling1.60kHer second patrol, beginning 27 March 1942, was more successful. Cruising off the coast of Japan itself, Grayling (SS-209) sank her first ship 13 April, sending the cargo freighter Ryujin Maru to the bottom. She returned to Hawaii 16 May. She is seen here entering Pearl Harbor.

In Memorium:

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./"
Text courtesy of DANFS.
US National Archives photo # 80-G-394313, from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.

View the Grayling (SS-209) DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Web Site.
Crew Contact And Reunion Information

U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation
Fleet Reserve Association

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest

On Eternal Patrol
USS Grayling (SS-209)
PigBoats.COM TM, A Historic Look at Submarines
ComSubForPac US Pacific Fleet - USS Grayling (SS 209) 9 September 1943 - 76 Men Lost

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