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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Patch on left contributed by Harold F.(Carl) Carlson & submitted by Gary Carlson, on right by Mike Smolinski

Aspro (SS-309)

Radio Call Sign: November - Yankee - Papa - Mike

Balao Class Submarine: Laid down, 27 December 1942, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME.; Launched, 7 April 1943; Commissioned USS Aspro (SS-309), 31 July 1943; Decommissioned, 30 January 1946, at San Francisco, CA.; Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet, Mare Island Group; Recommissioned, 6 July 1951; Decommissioned, 30 April 1954; Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet, Mare Island Group; Recommissioned, 5 May 1957; Re-designated Auxiliary Research Submarine (AGSS-309), 1 July 1960; Decommissioned, 1 September 1962; Struck from the Naval Register, 9 October 1962; Final Disposition, sunk as a target by Pomodon (SS-486) off San Diego, CA., 16 November 1962. Aspro earned seven battle stars for her World War II service

Specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,526 t., Submerged: 2,424 t.; Length 311' 10"; Beam 27' 3"; Draft 15' 3"; Speed, Surfaced 20.25 kts, Submerged 8.75 kts; Cruising Range, 11,000 miles surfaced at 10kts; Submerged Endurance, 48 hours at 2kts; Operating Depth Limit, 400 ft; Complement 6 Officers 60 Enlisted; Armament, ten 21" torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 5"/25 deck gun, one 40mm gun, two .50 cal. machine guns; Patrol Endurance 75 days; Propulsion, diesels-electric reduction gear with four Fairbanks-Morse main generator engines., 5,400 hp, Fuel Capacity, 94,400 gal., four Elliot Motor Co., main motors with 2,740 hp, two 126-cell main storage batteries, two propellers.
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Aspro 52k Commemorative launching tag of the Aspro (SS-309), 7 April 1943. Photo courtesy of Ron Toth, Jr.via Tom Kermen.
Aspro 133k Officers and crew salute the national ensign as the Aspro (SS-309) slides down the launching ways at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME., 7 April 1943. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Marlin 173k The wind picks up during the launching of the Aspro (SS-309). Photo i.d. courtesy of John Hummel, Dave Johnston & Robert Morgan.
USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.
Aspro 36k 15 February 1944: 280 miles ESE of Guam. LtCdr William A. Stevenson's Aspro (SS-309) is submerged on station as part of the forthcoming Operation "Hailstone". At 1106 his soundman picks up I-43's propeller noises. (She is a B-2 class Japanese submarine, an improvement of the B1 design, which is pictured here. These boats were slightly heavier and of similar overall performance.) At 1121, Stevenson sights a surfaced "I-9" class submarine heading 155 (T) and zigzagging at 17 knots. She carries a numeral marking identified as 443 and a Hinomaru flag painted on the conning tower. Stevenson also observes a "large structure, possibly midget submarine" mounted aft of the conning tower. Aspro is unable to close for an attack while submerged. He lets the I-boat pass, then surfaces in the daylight at 1207 and begins tracking her at flank speed. After a long radar-assisted chase, Aspro is able to gain a position ahead of the target. At 2223, Stevenson fires four Mk. XIV-3A torpedoes at a range of 2,100 yards. One minute later two hit I-43; she explodes and sinks by the stern at 10-23N, 150-23E. Several explosions follow until 2227. Text & photo courtesy of combinedfleet.com.
Aspro 81k By the end of the war, submarine commanders could elect to carry two 5 in/25 guns. Aspro (SS-309) is shown on 24 May 1945 after a refit at Hunters Point. She has a single 40-mm gun forward of the bridge and a twin 20 mm abaft it. Aspro clearly shows the wire loop antenna running from the stub mast near the bow to struts built out from her bridge. Photo & text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
Aspro 41k Aspro (SS-309) is shown on 24 May 1945 after a refit at Hunters Point. Note the sponson built out around her after gun. Photo & text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
Photo I.D. courtesy of John Hummel.
Mare Island1.40kLionfish (SS-298), outboard, and Aspro (SS-309) arrive at Mare Island on 11 September 1945 for decommissioning. Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum photo # MINSY 6330-9-45 TH, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Unknown Photos 1.18k The table below lists the location of submarines at Mare Island on 20 September 1945. This information was pulled from microfiche copies of the hand written shipyard journals. Iím surprised that both the clipping and my table show 21 subs at the yard on the date in question. The photo is looking north and berth 3 is at the top of the photo and then the berths run down or south.
Berth 3 - Springer (SS-414) & Spadefish (SS-411)
Berth 4 - Guavina (SS-362) & Barbero (SS-317)
Berth 5 - Hammerhead (SS-364), Tinosa (SS-283), Mapiro (SS-376) & Moray (SS-300)
Berth 6 - Bream (SS-243), Seahorse (SS-304), Batfish (SS-310) & Aspro (SS-309)
Berth 7 - Pomfret (SS-391), Parche (SS-384) & Sunfish (SS-281)
Berth 8 - Queenfish (SS-393)
Berth 9 - Lionfish (SS-298) & Plaice (SS-390)
Dry Dock 1 - Bashaw (SS-241) & Mingo (SS-261)
Berth 12 - Guitarro (SS-363).
Photo i.d. & text courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Photo courtesy of Ron Reeves.
Photo added 05/18/14.
Aspro 105k Decommissioning of the Aspro (SS-309) on 27 January 1946. Lt Cdr. H. L. Grant salutes the crew. Source: NARA San Francisco, Mare Island Naval Shipyard Ship Files.
U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Tracy White @ researcheratlarge.com
Aspro 41k Decommissioning of the Aspro (SS-309) on 27 January 1946. Lt Cdr. H. L. Grant receives the boat's flag. Source: NARA San Francisco, Mare Island Naval Shipyard Ship Files.
U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Tracy White @ researcheratlarge.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 commemorating 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 commemorating 50 years, U. S. Submarine Veterans of WW II 1996 calendar, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Aspro 56k Bow view of the Aspro (SS-309), date and location unknown. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Aspro 114k The Aspro (SS-309), pulling alongside a supply vessel,date and location unknown. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Aspro 97k Port side view of the Aspro (SS-309) underway, date and location unknown. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Aspro 51k Battle flag of the Aspro (SS-309). U.S. Navy photo courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.org.
Barbero148k The crew at quarters for the decommissioning of the Barbero (SS-317) at Mare Island on 30 June 1950. CDR C. P. Callahan (Commanding Officer) is the commander to the left and next to him is Capt. B. E. Bacon Jr. (Commander, Submarine Administration Mare Island). The Aspro (SS-309) lies to the port side of the Barbero. US Navy photo # 6523-6-50, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Aspro126k LCDR Robert E. Williams reads his orders as he assumes command of the Aspro (SS-309) at Mare Island on 6 July 1951. US Navy photo # 9787-7-51, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Aspro 27k Port side view of the Aspro (SS-309) underway sometime in the 1950's. USN photo courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Aspro 174k Recommissioning of the Aspro (SS-309) at Mare Island on 5 May 1957. Source: NARA San Francisco, Mare Island Naval Shipyard Ship Files.
U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Tracy White @ researcheratlarge.com
Aspro94kView of the recommissioning of the Aspro (SS-309) at Mare Island on 5 May 1957.
US Navy photo # 34348-5-57, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Barbero260k Barbero (SSG-317), Wahoo (SS-565) and Aspro (SS-309) tied along dock in Hong Kong, November 1959.
The destroyer Halsey Powell (DD-686) is behind the Aspro.
Photograph courtesy of Ron Phillipi.
Apogon 417k The destructive power of the Torpedo MK-37 is graphically portrayed in this photograph showing Aspro (SS-309) after being hit by a Torpedo MK-37 fired from Pomodon (SS-486) on 16 November 1962. The unmanned Aspro sank in 17 minutes in 630 fathoms of water 16 miles west of San Diego after being fired upon as part of a Service Weapons Test. Through the Torpedo MK-37 improvement program underway at the Navy Underwater Systems Center, the weapon is being modified to increase its effectiveness against modern, more evasive targets. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen & ussnewyork.com.

View the Aspro (SS-309)
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
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ

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