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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

Amberjack (SS-219)

Gato Class Submarine: Laid down, 15 May 1941, at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT.; Launched, 6 March 1942; Commissioned USS Amberjack (SS-219), 19 June 1942; Final Disposition, sunk on 3rd patrol by depth charging, 16 February 1943, off Rabaul, all hands lost; Struck from the Naval Register, 30 March 1945. Amberjack received three battle stars for her service during World War II.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,526 t., Submerged: 2,424 t.; Length 311' 9"; Beam 27' 3"; Draft 15' 3"; Speed, Surfaced 20.25 kts, Submerged 8.75 kts; Complement 6 Officers 54 Enlisted; Operating Depth, 300 ft; Submerged Endurance, 48 hrs at 2 kts; Patrol Endurance 75 days; Cruising Range, 11,000 miles surfaced at 10 kts; Armament, ten 21" torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 3"/50 deck gun, two .50 cal. machine guns, two .30 cal. machine guns; Propulsion, diesel electric reduction gear with four General Motors main generator engines, HP 5400, Fuel Capacity, 97,140 gals., four General Electric main motors, HP 2740, two 126-cell main storage batteries, twin propellers.
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Amberjack 36k Commemorative post cover issued on the Amberjack's (SS-219) keel laying, 15 May 1941, at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT. Courtesy of
Amberjack 38k Commemorative post cover issued on the Amberjack's (SS-219) keel laying, 15 May 1941, at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT. Courtesy of
Amberjack 389k The Amberjack (SS-219) was sponsored by Mrs. Randall Jacobs, wife of Rear Admiral Jacobs, the head of the Bureau of Personnel. Photo courtesy of Wendy S. Gulley, Archivist, Submarine Force Museum, Naval Submarine Base NLON, Groton CT.
Amberjack 65k The Amberjack (SS-219) all dressed up in bunting and waiting for her first taste of champagne at her launching at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT., 6 March 1942. USN photo courtesy of Electric Boat Co./
Amberjack 551k Launching of the Amberjack (SS-219). Photo courtesy of Mikes-Cover-Sales
Amberjack 71k Commemorative post cover issued on the Amberjack's (SS-219) launching at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT., 6 March 1942.
And yes, the photo inset is upside down.
Courtesy of
Amberjack 30k Commemorative post cover issued on the occasion of the Amberjack's (SS-219) launching, 6 March 1942. Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Amberjack 499k Wearing her bunting on her bow, the Amberjack (SS-219) is towed to dock at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT., following her launching, 6 March 1942. Courtesy of
Amberjack376kAmberjack (SS-219), broadside at rest, 30 May 1942. US National Archives photo # 19LCM bs29630, from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Amberjack 170kAmberjack (SS-219) at rest in the Thames River, off Groton, Connecticut, 30 May 1942. Photographed by her builder, the Electric Boat Company. The early built boats were completed with the enclosed scope supports and high bridge (Fairwater). The boat mounts a 3"/50 cal. gun aft and like most early boats has mine cable cutting devices mounted forward in a retractable opening in the hull. Official USN photo USNHC # NH 98486, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
High resolution here, courtesy of National Museum of the U.S. Navy via
Amberjack 38k Commemorative commissioning cachet for the Amberjack (SS-219) at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT., 19 June 1942.Courtesy of
Amberjack 260k Commemorative commissioning cachet for the Amberjack (SS-219) at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT., 19 June 1942. Courtesy of Scott Koen &
338k Painting of the Amberjack (SS-219) by the marine artist Worden Wood.Photo courtesy of
Amberjack 129k While patrolling in Bougainville Strait on 19 September, the submarine launched two torpedoes at an enemy freighter. The first hit under the target's bridge, and the second broke her keel in two. Amberjack (SS-219) was credited with having sunk Shirogane Maru. Text courtesy of DANFS.
Photo courtesy of
Amberjack 135k The submarine spotted a Japanese cruiser on the morning of 30 September and launched four torpedoes from her bow tubes. None hit, so she fired another two forward tubes shortly thereafter. These also went wide of the mark, and the cruiser escaped damage. One week later, the submarine was patrolling off Kavieng when she spotted smoke on the horizon. After a Japanese cargo ship sailed into view, Amberjack (SS-219) launched two torpedoes. One missed forward and the other hit the target's hull forward. The enemy ship was still able to continue under her own power and Amberjack took up pursuit. About one hour later, both sides opened fire with their deck guns but neither was within range of the other and they broke off fire. After two more hours of the chase, the submarine fired a slow speed torpedo which hit its target five minutes later. The cargo vessel, later identified as Senkai Maru, swung left and seemed to stop. Its bow swung up in the air, the ship took a vertical position, and sank from sight shortly thereafter. Lifeboats carrying the cargo ship's survivors were later spotted as the submarine headed for Kavieng. Text courtesy of DANFS.
Photo courtesy of
Argonaut46kOn 10 October 1942, the Amberjack (SS-219) enters Kavieng Roads, New Ireland island, 02^(o)36'S, 150^(o)48'E, to attack shipping there. In a daring move, she torpedoes the Japanese transport ship Tenryu Maru (4861 GRT, moderate damage) and sinks the converted whale factory ship, now serving as naval tanker, Tonan Maru #2 (19209 GRT). The latter vessel will be, however, raised and repaired, only to be sunk by Pintado (SS-387) on 22 August 1944.Text courtesy of
Photo courtesy of
Amberjack 91k Painting entitled Night Battle by the artist E.V. Vandos, depicting Amberjack's (SS-219) 4 February 1943 attack which sank a 5,000-ton freighter laden with explosives in a two-hour night surface attack in which five torpedoes were fired. During this engagement Chief Pharmacist's Mate Arthur C. Beeman was killed by machine gun fire, and an officer was slightly wounded in the hand. Photo & text courtesy of
Amberjack 138k Color drawing of the Subchaser No. 46 (left)(indicative of the class of submarine chaser Ch 18 which helped to sink the Amberjack (SS-219), according to Submarines Lost Through Enemy Action. On the right is the the destroyer Shimakaze, as depicted by Takeshi Yuki, "Color Paintings of Japanese Warships". Photo courtesy of
Amberjack 138k Photo of IJN Kizi, indicative of the Otori class torpedo boat Hiyodori which participated in the destruction of the Amberjack (SS-219) according to Submarines Lost Through Enemy Action. Photo courtesy of
401k Cachet of the Amberjack (SS-219) reported lost, by Worden Wood.Photo courtesy of
Amberjack 25k Commemorative post cover issued on the 60th year of the Amberjack's (SS-219) eternal patrol. Courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Amberjack68kSt. George's channel looking southeast toward New Ireland looking toward Cape St. George in far distance at right. The Amberjack (SS-219) was lost not far from here.Copyrighted and used by permission of by D.W. McComb.
Amberjack 50k Google Earth satellite photo of the general area in which Amberjack (SS-219) is assumed to have been lost.View courtesy of Google Earth.
Amberjack48kMap area showing the general location between New Britain and Bougainville, south of St. George's Channel, in the Solomon Sea where the Amberjack (SS-219) was sunk. The average depth varies from 1600 to 3500 feet.Copyrighted and used by permission of by D.W. McComb.
Amberjack 114k John Archibald Bole, Jr., Lieutenant Commander (Commanding Officer) of the Amberjack (SS-219) on her last patrol. USN photo courtesy of
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
Amberjack 771k Commemorative photo in honor of the memory of the crew of the Amberjack (SS-219).

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./"
Photo courtesy of Tom Kermen.
Dante's Prayer courtesy of Loreena McKennitt via

View the Amberjack (SS-219)
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
ComSubPac Report of loss of USS Amberjack (SS 219) February 16 1943 - 73 Men Lost
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ

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