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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Patches contributed by Mike Smolinski

Bluegill (SS-242) (SSK-242) (AGSS-242)

Radio Call Sign: November - Bravo - Golf - Lima

Gato Class Submarine: Laid down, 17 December 1942, at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT.; Launched, 8 August 1943; Commissioned USS Bluegill (SS-242), 11 November 1943; Decommissioned, 1 March 1946, at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA.; Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet; Recommissioned, 3 May 1951; Decommissioned, 7 July 1952, for conversion to a Hunter-Killer Submarine; Recommissioned, USS Bluegill (SSK-242), 2 May 1953; Re-designated (SS-242) on 15 August 1959; Reclassified Auxiliary Submarine (AGSS-242) on 1 April 1966; Decommissioned and struck from the Naval Register, 28 June 1969; Final Disposition, scuttled, 3 December 1970, at Lahaina, Maui, HI. for training Navy divers to salvage and rescue; She was raised on 5 November 1983 by Beaufort (ATS-2) and Brunswick (ATS-3) and towed to her last resting place on 6 November 1983 Bluegill received the Navy Unit Commendation and was awarded four battle stars for World War II service.
Partial data submitted by Yves Hubert.

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, 5,400HP, Fuel Capacity, 97,140 gal., four General Electric main motors, 2,740HP, two 126-cell main storage batteries, twin screws.
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Bluegill 74k Postal cover marking the keel laying of the Bluegill (SS-242) at Electric Boat on 17 December 1942. Courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Gurnard1.20kRuns in the family:
Bluegill (SS-242) was launched 8 August 1943 by Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn.; sponsored by Mrs. W. Sterling Cole, wife of Congressman Cole of New York. Unfortunatley I don't have a sponsor photo of Mrs Cole.
News clipping from the 13 December 1968 edition of Mare Island Naval Shipyard newspaper. Photo taken at the reception following the commissioning of Gurnard (SSN-662) at Mare Island. Left to right: R. P. Metzger (Naval Reactors Representative), W. Sterling Cole (father of the Gurnard's skipper), CDR William S. Cole, Jr. (Commanding Officer) Gurnard, Mrs. George P. Miller (Sponsor), and Congressman Miller.
USN photo # 88186-12-68 TH courtesy of the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum via Darryl L. Baker.
Bluegill 583k Bluegill (SS-242) slides down the ways at the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT., 8 August 1943. Photo courtesy of Electric Boat.
Bluegill 493k Bow on view of the Bluegill (SS-242) being nudged into pier with the help of a tug at Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT., 8 August 1943. Note the other submarine to her inboard side. Photograph is part of an album entitled "Submarine Pictures for Sub Base New London, CT."
Photo # 2015-194 courtesy of trumanlibrary.org.
Bluegill 74k Postal cover marking the launching of the Bluegill (SS-242) at Electric Boat on 8 August 1943. Courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Bluegill 14k Postal cover marking the commissioning of the Bluegill (SS-242) at Electric Boat on 11 November 1943. Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Bluegill 59k Starboard view of the Bluegill (SS-242) off Quonset, Rhode Island, on 24 November 1943. Photo courtesy of flash.net. / Ray Basil.
Bluegill 243k Artist I.R. Lloyd's rendition of Bluegill (SS-242) sinking the light cruiser Yubari on 27 April 1944 at the Sonsoral Islands. Painting & text courtesy of Ken Killmaster via ussbluegill.org.
Insert photo courtesy of "Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869-1945" by Hansgeorg Jentschura, Dieter Jung and Peter Mickl. Translated by Antony Preston and J D Brown. Arms and Armour Press, via Robert Hurst.
Bluegill 146k 18 October 1944: At 0716, LtCdr (later Captain) Eric L. Barr's Bluegill (SS-242), torpedoes and damages Arabia Maru at 14-4N, 119-52E. At 1208, Bluegill torpedoes Arabia Maru again. She was carrying 3,500 men of the IJA's 20th Infantry Division. She sinks taking down 1,658 troops and 89 crewmen and gunners. Text courtesy of combinedfleet.com. Photo courtesy of Tommy Trampp SK/3.
Bluegill 64kAcrylic on canvas by the artist S. Burbridge entitled Coming Up. This painting shows a Gato submarine surfacing at a steep angle, some distance off a Pacific island.
On 28 May 1945 Bluegill (SS-242) conducted a reconnaissance and bombardment of Pratas Island. Twelve men were landed and discovered that the island had recently been evacuated by the Japanese naval garrison. In a fitting ceremony on 29 May Bluegill raised the American flag on Pratas Island and proclaimed it to be "Bluegill Island."
Photo & partial text courtesy of DANFS & subart.net.
Bluegill 168k Bluegill (SS-242) crew during WW II. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Bluegill 616k Bluegill (SS-242) at Pearl Harbor in June 1945 with other submarines moored behind her. USN photo courtesy of flickr.com via Stephen Gower.
Bluegill 144k Bluegill (SS-242) entering Pearl Harbor en route to San Francisco, 21 June 1945. Photo courtesy of flash.net. / Hugh Story.
Bluegill 195k Admiral R. S. Edwards, Commander Western Sea Frontier, presents the Navy Unit Commendation ribbon to officers and men of the Submarine Bluegill (SS-242) during recent ceremonies aboard the Tunny (SS-282) at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. The submarine was commended for sinking a light cruiser, a destroyer escort, two large freighters and other vessels for a total of 45,000 tons. Lt. D. D. Duncan, USN, Vallejo, Calif., receives the award as Orland C. Hare, Chief Electrician's Mate, USN, Middletown, Conn., J. E. Richards, Boatswain's Mate Second Class, USN, Corpus Christi, Texas, and other members of the Bluegill's crew look on. At right of Admiral Edwards are Comdr. P. G. Selby, USN, and Comdr. Sinclair B. Wright, USN. Official USN photo courtesy of Bill Gonyo.
Bluegill 215k Bluegill's (SS-242) WW II scorecard. Photo courtesy of Ric Hedman.
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.
Bluegill 10k This is her battle pennant. I have this in my private collection. It was given to Tom Rice, (now a retired Commander having come up through the ranks. Tom qualified in submarine in 1935 on the S-32 (SS-137), at the end of WW II at Pearl Harbor. It was flying on the boat next to his and they were told to "...get rid of it..." since the war was over. He has had it in his collection until a few years ago when it was given to me.
The pennant is about 4 feet long and a little over 6 inches wide and made of wool.
Photo courtesy of Ric Hedman.
Bluegill 231k Bluegill (SS-242) shows off her battleflags and guns dockside. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Mare Island Reserve Fleet137kReserve fleet at Mare Island, circa January 1946. There are 52 submarines and 4 Sub Tenders in this photo. This photo is a Berthing list identifying the ships in the picture. Photo commentating 50 years, U. S. Submarine Veterans of WW II 1996 calendar, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Mare Island Reserve Fleet453kPhoto of the Reserve fleet at Mare Island, circa January 1946. There are 52 submarines and 4 Sub Tenders in this photo. Whether coincidental or on purpose, the number of boats in the photo is the same as that which were lost in WW II.
From back to front and left to right, first group of 12 boats:
Sandlance (SS-381)
Tunny (SS-282)
Aspro (SS-309)
Lionfish (SS-298)
Guvania (SS-362)
Sunfish (SS-281)
Macabi (SS-375)
Gurnard (SS-254)
Pampanito (SS-383)
Mingo (SS-261)
Guitarro (SS-363)
Bashaw (SS-241)
From back to front and left to right, second group of 12 boats:
Sealion (SS-315)
Hammerhead (SS-364)
Bream (SS-243)
Seahorse (SS-304)
Tinosa (SS-283)
Pintado (SS-387)
Mapiro (SS-376)
Pipefish (SS-388)
Moray (SS-300)
Batfish (SS-310)
Hackleback (SS-295)
Bluegill (SS-242)
From back to front and left to right, third group of 12 boats:
Hawkbill (SS-366)
Menhaden (SS-377)
Perch (SS-313)
Loggerhead (SS-374)
Barbero (SS-317)
Baya (SS-318)
Hardhead (SS-365)
Spadefish (SS-411)
Springer (SS-414)
Devilfish (SS-292)
Kraken (SS-370)
Dragonet (SS-293)
From back to front and left to right, fourth group of 12 boats:
Lamprey (SS-372)
Piranha (SS-389)
Manta (SS-299)
Pargo (SS-264)
Rancador (SS-301)
Archerfish (SS-311)
Mero (SS-378)
Sawfish (SS-276)
Spot (SS-413)
Lizardfish (SS-373)
Jallao (SS-368)
Icefish (SS-367)
From back to front and left to right, last group of 4 boats:
Steelhead (SS-280)
Puffer (SS-268)
Stickleback (SS-415)
Trepang (SS-412)
From back to front, Submarine Tenders group of 4 ships:
Pelias (AS-14)
Aegir (AS-23)
Euryale (AS-22)
Griffin (AS-13).
Photo commentating 50 years, U. S. Submarine Veterans of WW II 1996 calendar, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Bluegill 123k Photo of the decommissioning ceremonies aboard Bluegill (SS-242) at Mare Island on 1 March 1946 taken from a news clipping of the 21 March 1946 edition of the Vallejo Times Herald. USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Pacific Reserve Fleet 278k Three veterans of Operation Crossroads are shown at Mare Island on 17 October 1946 in the Pacific Reserve Fleet. Left to right: Dentuda (SS-335), Searaven (SS-196) and Tuna (SS-203); Parche (SS-384) is aft of these three. Bluegill (SS-242) and Hackleback (SS-295) are to the left. USN photo # 3618-46, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Esler291kCapt. Clifford M. Esler, Jr. as Commander, Submarine Group San Francisco Bay (August 1968 - June 1970).
Dates of submarine command - as best I can determine.
Bluegill (SS-242) - Takes command at Mare Island on 3 May 1951 and relieved when sub was decommissioned on 7 July 1952.
USN photo from the files of the Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Photo added 08/18/16.
Bluegill 103k LCDR C. M. Esler Jr. reads his orders upon assuming command on the Bluegill (SS-242) at her re-commissioning ceremonies at Mare Island on 3 May 1951. Capt. W. A. Lent, Commander of Pacific Reserve Fleet Mare Island is to the far left. USN Photo # 9118-5-51, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Bluegill 187k Photo of the decommissioning ceremonies aboard Bluegill (SS-242) 7 July 1952, for conversion to a Hunter-Killer Submarine. Rock (SS-274) is in background. Photo i.d. courtesy of John Hummel & Larry Derouin.
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Bluegill 109k LCDR. Melvin George "Max"Grazda was the Commanding Officer of the Bluegill (SS-242) from 2 May 1953 to 15 July 1955. Official USN photo submitted by Bill Gonyo.
Bluegill 216k LCDR W. D. Chadwick reads his orders upon assuming command on the Bluegill (SS-242) at Mare Island on 15 July 1955. The ship is in ARD-11 at the time and she was in overhaul at the yard from 9 June to 21 November 1955. USN Photo # 25993-7-55, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Bluegill 161k Bluegill (SS-242) makes her way out of a cove into the sea, circa 1955. USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofwwii.org.
Bluegill 194k Bluegill (SS-242) leads the Ranger (CVA-61) out to sea, circa post 1961. USN photo courtesy of ussubvetsofwwii.org.
Bluegill 1.80 Sub base Pearl Harbor, 1962. From L to R: Bream (SS-243),Bluegill (SS-242), Bashaw (SS-241), Medregal (SS-480) & Blackfin (SS-322) with Coucal (ASR-8), alongside.
Tunny (AGS-282) and Barbero (SS-317) are possibly the two nearest foreground boats.
Photo i.d. courtesy of John Hummel & Robert Morgan.
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.
Bluegill 94k Bluegill (AGSS-242) Welcome Aboard pamphlet & Officer Roster 1964. USN photo courtesy of Richard Miller.
PDF courtesy of Darryl Baker.
Bluegill 78k Bluegill (SSK-242), underway, date and place unknown. USN photo courtesy of George M. Arnold.
Atule168kSail away: As many different types of sails as there are boats in this photo of Squadron 12, Key West Fla, in Mid 60's: Atule (SS-403), Balao (SS-285), Grenadier (SS-525) & Bluegill (SS-242).Photo courtesy of John Hummel.
Bashaw 165k Photo from the Evans (DE-1023) showing the Bronstein (DE-1037) in the Sea of Japan in April-May 1967. We were doing ASW drills with two subs (showing the flag in the area).
The fleet boat in this photo has an SSK conversion and is either Bashaw (SSK-241) or Bluegill (SSK-242). The rest of the SSK conversions Grouper (SSK-241), Angler (SSK-240), Bream (SSK-243), Cavalla (SSK-244), and Croaker (SSK-246) had either been decommissioned by this time, operated in the Atlantic, or in the case of the Bream were on the West Coast when the picture was taken.
USN photo courtesy of Darryl L. Baker. Photo i.d. courtesy of David Decrevel, John Hart, Ric Hedman, John Hummel, & David Johnston, USNR.
Text i.d. courtesy of David Johnston, USNR.
Menhaden1.10kBream (AGSS-243), Tunny (AGS-282) and Charr (AGSS-328), during the decommissioning ceremony at Mare Island on 28 June 1969.Photo courtesy of the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum via Darryl L. Baker.
Menhaden212kRaton (AGSS-270) and Bluegill (AGSS-242) during the decommissioning ceremony at Mare Island on 28 June 1969. Bream (AGSS-243), Tunny (AGS-282) and Charr (AGSS-328) are forward of Raton and Bluegill. Chara (AE-31) is in the background.Photo courtesy of the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum via Darryl L. Baker.
Menhaden1.20kCommanding officers of the five decommissioned submarines on the speakers stant at Mare Island on 28 June 1969.Photo courtesy of the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum via Darryl L. Baker.
Bluegill 96k Underwater view of two Navy divers working to raise the submarine ex-Bluegill (SS-242) during Pacific Submarine Salvage Exercise 83 (PACSUBSALVEX-83) off the coast of Maui on 6 November 1983. USN photo # DN-ST-86-01166, by G.R. Sylva, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil & submitted by Bill Gonyo.
Bluegill 295k View of a Navy underwater photographer swimming over the hull of the submarine ex-Bluegill (SS-242)during Pacific Submarine Salvage Exercise 83 (PACSUBSALVEX-83) off the coast of Maui. USN photo # DN-ST-86-01154, by G.R. Sylva, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil & submitted by Bill Gonyo.
Bluegill 206k Talk about holding your breath for a while: Bluegill (SS-242) surfaces after 13 years. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Bluegill 23k Bluegill (SS-242) scuttled, at Lahaina, Maui, HI. 1995. Photo courtesy of Ed Robinson & Grant Riddle / submarinebaseph.com

View the Bluegill (SS / SSK / AGSS-242)
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
USS Bluegill (SS-242) World War II Home Page
USS Bluegill AGSS 242
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ

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