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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Patch on left contributed by Mike Smolinski, patch on right contributed by Don McGrogan, BMCS, USN (ret.)

Tullibee (SS-284)

Radio Call Sign: November - India - Xray - Delta

Gato Class Submarine: Laid down, 1 April 1942, at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA.; Launched, 7 October 1942; Commissioned USS Tullibee (SS-284), 15 February 1943; Sunk on 4th patrol by own torpedo, 26 March 1944, in the Palaus area, one survivor; Struck from the Naval Register, 29 July 1944; Tullibee received three battle stars for service during World War II.

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,526 t., Submerged: 2,424 t.; Length 311' 10"; Beam 27' 4"; Draft 16' 10"; 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 Fairbanks Morse main generator diesel engines, HP 5400, Fuel Capacity, 116,000 gals., four General Electric main motors, HP 2740, two 126-cell main storage batteries, twin propellers.
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Tullibee 152k The Tullibee's (SS-284) sponsoring party: Mrs. Kenneth C. Hurd holds the bubbly. USN photo courtesy of mareislandlostboats.org.
Tullibee 156k The Tullibee's (SS-284) sponsoring party: Mrs. Kenneth C. Hurd does the honors with RADM W. L. Friedell to her left. USN photo courtesy of mareislandlostboats.org.
Tullibee 190k The Tullibee (SS-284) moments before her launch down south ways 4, 7 October 1942, at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA. USN photo courtesy of mareislandlostboats.org.
Tullibee 55k The Tullibee (SS-284) sliding down south ways 4, 7 October 1942, at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA. Note the seawall on the left, the staffing shows between ways 3 & 4. U.S. Navy photo, partial text courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Tullibee 428k The Tullibee (SS-284) is at the end of the ways during her launching at Mare Island on 7 October 1942. U.S. Navy photo # 6986-42, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Tullibee 438k The Tullibee (SS-284) is being moved to her outfitting berth at Mare Island after her launching on 11 November 1942. U.S. Navy photo # 6976-42, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Tullibee 183k View of the commissioning ceremonies aboard the Tullibee (SS-284) at Mare Island Navy Yard on 15 February 1943. The submarines aft of Tullibee on the right, Seahorse (SS-304) and on the left, Spearfish (SS-190). U.S. Navy photo # 1170-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker. Photo I.D. courtesy of David Johnston, USNR.
Tullibee 210k The flag is raised aboard the Tullibee (SS-284) for the first time during her commissioning ceremonies at Mare Island Navy Yard on 15 February 1943. U.S. Navy photo # 1174-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Tullibee 227k The Tullibee (SS-284) takes her place in the ranks of the U.S. Navy during the conclusion of her commissioning ceremonies at Mare Island Navy Yard on 15 February 1943.
The band on deck is most likely playing "The Star Spangled Banner" as her skipper, Cmdr. Charles F. Brindupke salutes the Stars & Stripes. He would later be lost with her when she was sunk on her 4th patrol by her own torpedo, 26 March 1944. Note the lighter YF-239 on her starboard side.
U.S. Navy photo, courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.
Tullibee 86k Bow view of the Tullibee (SS-284) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 2 April 1943. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, USNHC # NH 98408, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Tullibee 84k Broadside view of Tullibee (SS-284) off Mare Island on 2 April 1943. U.S. Navy photo # 2234-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Tullibee 55k Port side view of the Tullibee (SS-284) underway off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 2 April 1943. U.S. Navy photo # 2235-43, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Tullibee 99k Painting entitled Air-Sea Rescue by the artist E.V. Vandos, depicting Tullibee (SS-284) rescuing lost aviators at sea. Photo & text courtesy of history.navy.mil.
Tullibee 14k Charles Frederic Brindupke, Commander (Commanding Officer)of the Tullibee (SS-284) at the time of her loss. USN photo courtesy of oneternalpatrol.com.
Tullibee 53k Commemorative photo in honor of the memory of the crew of the Tullibee (SS-284) as she departed for eternity. Photo courtesy of Tom Kermen. Dante's Prayer courtesy of Loreena McKennitt via quinlanroad.com.
Tullibee 25k Google Earth satellite photo of Tullibee's (SS-284) last approximate position based during post-war debriefings. This position is thought to be the final resting place of the Tullibee and her crew.
View courtesy of Google Earth.
Tullibee 42k In this 29 June 2009 photo, Clifford Kuykendall, center, reminisces in Wichita Falls with the children of George Ticknor, who was killed when the Tullibee (SS-284) was torpedoed near the end of World War II. Kuykendall was the only survivor from the sinking of the submarine. The four "Ticknor Kids" came together in Wichita Falls to meet a man they have always considered a hero.
WICHITA FALLS (AP) - The four "Ticknor Kids" are now grown up and have spread out across the country, but they came together recently in Wichita Falls to meet a man they have always considered a hero. They never imagined they would get to know the long-ago gunner's mate whose own story is the only reason they know their father's fate. The four grew up hearing stories their mother, Marvel, told about Clifford Kuykendall, the only sailor aboard the 80-man Tullibee who survived when an erratic torpedo - one of their own, he said - circled back and struck the boat, sinking it in the Pacific Ocean in late March 1944.
The children's father, George Oran Ticknor, was chief electrician's mate, making him a chief petty officer on the Tullibee. He was on board that fateful day. He was 33, older than many of the crew members. He had built his career in the Navy.
His widow, Marvel, and their four children, Duane, Rosemary, Joie and Ruthie, would never have known what happened had it not been for a letter that arrived in a Christmas card from Kuykendall, who lives in Wichita Falls.
Kuykendall remembers sitting down at his sister's kitchen table after he returned from the World War II. He wrote letters to 79 families, telling them what happened to the crew of the Tullibee.
"That's the least I could do," Kuykendall said, sitting at a table surrounded by George Ticknor's children, Duane Ticknor of Otis, Ore., Rosemary Snyder of Fort Collins, Colo., Joie Heller of Glendale, Ariz., and Ruthie Joyce of Philadelphia.
Decades ago when he sat down to write, he had a list of the crew members and their next of kin, and made sure each family knew the story.
The letter meant the difference between knowing the truth and a lifetime of mystery for the Ticknor family.
"For our mother, he was a hero," Ruthie Joyce said. "Otherwise, she wouldn't have known what happened."
Only Rosemary, the oldest, who was 8 when their father died, really remembers George Ticknor.
They know he got to meet Duane, but he never saw Ruthie, the baby. She was born in December 1943 and was only a few months old when the Tullibee went down.
Each of the siblings has been part of the American WWII Orphans Network. When Joyce got a suggestion that she do a Google search of Kuykendall's name, she entered the information and was stunned when she came across a July 2008 Times Record News article on his service and his memories of the Tullibee.
"I never dreamed we could find him," Joyce said.
She learned he had an unlisted phone number, so Duane Ticknor wrote a letter to the Wichita Falls' chief of police, explaining the situation, in hopes of letting Kuykendall know the family would like to reach him.
The letter arrived at the Wichita Falls Police Department and made it to the hands of the manager of the apartment building where Kuykendall lives.
Kuykendall agreed to let the family have his phone number, and Joyce made one of what would turn out to be the first of many calls. There were also exchanges of letters and pictures.
Kuykendall, who was 19 in 1944, didn't know George Ticknor well, but he did remember him and recognized his face in his pictures.
When Joyce asked in March whether she and her siblings could come visit him, he agreed; and they spent several days in town last month, talking with Kuykendall and listening to his memories of the Tullibee and his captivity at the hands of the Japanese.
After he returned to Wichita Falls and wrote to the families of the 79 men who lost their lives, he heard back from many of the families. In many cases, pictures, introductions and even marriage proposals came back with the replies. Some of the letters were returned unread.
This is only the second visit he has had.
When he was on leave from the hospital in Norman, Okla., in the fall of 1945, the wife of an electrician's mate first class traveled with her aunt to see him and find out about what happened to her husband.
He answered a lot of questions about that over the years.
Early on, Kuykendall used to lie awake at night thinking about the Tullibee; after a while, he knew the thoughts would consume him if he didn't force them to the back of his mind, and that's what he had to do.
But the memories of his service haven't disappeared, and he delved into books and pointed out pictures as he talked about his experiences. At 84, he still has vivid memories of his service.
His memories and stories have been a treasure to Ticknor's family.
"There are quite a few war orphans who still don't know what happened to their dads," Duane Ticknor said.
Kuykendall worked hard to survive so he would be able to come back and share the truth with the other families, Joyce said.
"His memory is just wonderful," Heller said.
Photo & text courtesy of lubbockonline.com via thesubreport.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.
U.S. Navy photo # N-1159B-021 by Journalist 2nd Class Brian Brannon, courtesy of news.navy.mil.
Tullibee381kThe launching of the Tullibee (SSN-597) was sponsored by Mrs. John F. Davidson, the widow of Comdr. Charles F. Brindupke, commander of the Tullibee (SS-284). US Navy photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Photo added 05/05/12.
Tullibee 81k Stern view of the Tullibee (SS-284) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 2 April 1943. Note the diving planes.
In a little less than a year from the date of this photo, the boat and all but one of her crew would be M.I.A.

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./"
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, USNHC # NH 98409, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.

View the Tullibee (SS-284)
DANFS history entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway .
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation
Fleet Reserve Association

Additional Resources and s of Interest
On Eternal Patrol
ComSubForPac Report of loss of USS TULLIBEE (SS 284) March 26 1944 - 79 Men Lost
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ

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