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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

Patches contributed by Mike Smolinski

Becuna (SS-319) (AGSS-319)

Radio Call Sign: November - Zulu - Quebec - Juliet

Balao Class Submarine: Laid down, 29 April 1943, at Electric Boat Company, Groton, CT.; Launched, 30 January 1944; Commissioned USS Becuna (SS-319), 27 May 1944; Guppy I A conversion completed at Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT., November 1950 to August 1951; Reclassified Auxiliary Submarine (AGSS-319) in 1969; Decommissioned, 7 November 1969; Laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet; Reverted to (SS-319) in 1971; Struck from the Naval Register, 15 August 1973; Final Disposition, placed on permanent display to Cruiser Olympia Assn. (now the Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia, PA.,) 21 June 1976. 21 July 1978, Dedicated as Submarine Memorial. Becuna received four battle stars for her World War II service. Partial data submitted by Ron Reeves (of blessed memory)

As built to the specifications: Displacement, Surfaced: 1,526 t., Submerged: 2,242 t.; Length 311' 9"; 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, 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, one 20mm gun, two .50 cal. machine guns; Patrol Endurance 75 days; Propulsion, diesel-electric reduction gear with four main generator engines., General Motors diesel engines, HP 5400, Fuel Capacity 118,000, four General Electric motors, HP 2,740, two 126-cell main storage batteries, two propellers.
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SizeImage DescriptionSource
Becuna21kCommemorative postal cover marking the keel laying of the Becuna (SS-319), 29 April 1943, at Electric Boat Company, Groton, CT.Photo courtesy of
Becuna216kThe Becuna (SS-319) slides down the ways at her launching, 30 January 1944.USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Becuna75kCommemorative postal cover marking Becuna's (SS-319) launching, 30 January 1944.Photo courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Becuna24kCommemorative postal cover marking Becuna's (SS-319) commissioning, 27 May 1944Photo courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Becuna75kBecuna (SS-319), after commissioning in May 1944USN Archives photo # USN-189867. Courtesy of The Floating Drydock, "Fleet Subs of WW II", by Thomas F. Walkowiak.
Becuna200kBecuna (SS-319), starboard view entering Pearl Harbor, circa 1944. Note the battleship cage mast in the background. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, all the U.S. battleships were subsequently refitted and modernized, their cage masts going to harbor defense and the like.Photo courtesy of John Hummel, (USN) retired.
Becuna & Razorback682kBecuna (SS-319) & Razorback (SS-394) at Pearl Harbor, circa 1944-45.Photo courtesy of
Becuna69kBecuna (SS-319). The anchor is on the wrong side.
1. This is an EB design Balao class boat as indicated by the limber hole arrangement and the configuration of the shears and masts. Ric rightly pointed out that the anchor SHOULD be on the starboard side, but it isn't in this photo. Having just done a lot of research on the Balao's, I found that EB was very consistent in the placement of the anchor. It was an EB trademark of having the anchor on the starboard side.
2. The real giveaway is the location of the vertical oval shaped opening in the forward end of the conning tower fairwater. This opening led to the hatch for the gun access trunk, which bypassed the conning tower and led directly to the control room. Universally, for both the EB and the Government design this opening was on the PORT side of the fairwater.
So, we are actually looking at the port side of this boat, not the starboard. The image or the negative it came from was reversed. In looking at the photo and comparing it with others taken of the Becuna, I can find nothing that is inconsistant with known pictures of the Becuna in the late war/immediate post war period. While I can't be 100% sure, it would be reasonably safe to indeed call this pic the Becuna!
Text courtesy of David Johnston
Photo i.d. courtesy of Ric Hedman & David Johnston
Photo courtesy of
Becuna103k Stern view of Becuna (SS-319) departing Mare Island on 25 August 1947. USN photo # 1603-47, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Becuna101k Broadside view of Becuna (SS-319) departing Mare Island on 25 August 1947. She was in overhaul at the yard from 6 May to 22 September 1947. USN photo # 1605-47, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Becuna239k Bow on view of Becuna (SS-319) departing Mare Island on 25 August 1947. USN photo # 1607-47, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Becuna116kBecuna (SS-319) portside view underway, October 1949.USN photo # 48037 courtesy of
Becuna82kBecuna (SS-319) on marine railway with hole in sonar chin mount. Photo courtesy of John Hummel, (USN) retired.
Atule1.18kOn 27 February 1947, Atule (SS-403) arrived at Philadelphia for overhaul and inactivation. On 8 September 1947, she was placed out of commission, in reserve, with the New London Group of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. After three years in "mothballs," Atule was towed to the Portsmouth (N.H.) Naval Shipyard for reactivation and conversion to a Guppy 1-A type submarine. Outfitted with a snorkel to permit use of her engines while submerged and a smooth streamlined superstructure for added speed, Atule rejoined the fleet a stronger, more versatile warship. On 8 March 1951, the submarine was recommissioned, Lt. Comdr. Benjamin C. Byrnside, Jr. in command.
Assigned to Submarine Squadron 8 in New London, Atule conducted a shakedown cruise in the Caribbean and then participated in Fleet and NATO training exercises in the Atlantic and the Caribbean. On 9 February 1952, she departed New London for a tour of duty in the Mediterranean and participation in NATO Exercise "Grand Slam." During the deployment, she visited Gibraltar, Malta, and Marseilles, before arriving back in the United States on 29 March.
Atule & Becuna (SS-319) are pictured together tied up with 2 British Battle Class destroyers. Note the HMS Sluys (D-60) alongside the Becuna.
Text courtesy of DANFS.
Photo i.d. courtesy of Barry Gerrard.
Photo courtesy of Brian Sullivan via his father, Phil, of blessed memory, who served aboard the Atule in the early 50's.
Becuna134kBecuna (SS-319), starboard view underway, post 1951, location unknown.Photo courtesy of John Hummel, (USN) retired.
Becuna66kBecuna (AGSS-319) starboard view underway, at New London, CT. Tender in the background in Fulton (AS-11) with the State Pier in the background, post 1951. Photo courtesy of
Becuna47kPierside stern view of the Becuna (SS-319) at the Navy pier at Argentia, Newfoundland, circa 1953-54.Photo courtesy of James R. Madson.
Becuna & Pompon 669kBecuna (SS-319) and Pompon (SS-267), possibly during September and October 1957, when they participated in the large scale NATO exercise "Strikeback," visiting River Clyde, Scotland; LeHavre, France; and Portland, England. Photo courtesy of Gil Miller, photo i.d. courtesy of John Hummel, text courtesy of DANFS.
Becuna51kA watercolor by the artist Richard C. Moore entitled "USS Becuna".
The Becuna (SS-319) is pictured in her GUPPY configuration as she exercises with ships of the fleet.
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of the artist Richard C. Moore.
Becuna113kBow on view of the Becuna (SS-319), circa early 1960's.Photo courtesy of John Hummel, (USN) retired.
Sea Owl107kSea Owl (SS-405) & Becuna (SS-319) at Genoa, Italy, 11 February 1962. Photo courtesy of Carlo Martinelli.
Becuna681kThe CPO as seen by the eyes of the crew; remasting of artwork in the engine room of the Becuna (SS-319).Photo courtesy of Yaacov Apelbaum.
Becuna80kBecuna (SS-319) & Cobbler (SS-344) conduct a high line transfer, photo 1 of 2. Photo courtesy of John Hummel, (USN) retired.
Becuna76kBecuna (SS-319) & Cobbler (SS-344) conduct a high line transfer, photo 2 of 2. Photo courtesy of John Hummel, (USN) retired.
Becuna211kThe Becuna (SS-319) off Sub Base New London CT., 1963.Photo courtesy of John Hummel, (USN) retired.
Triton 87k 1960's photo of Howard W. Gilmore (AS-16) with submarines alongside: Triton (SSRN-586), Sea Robin (SS-407), unknown SSK and Becuna (SS-319). Courtesy of John Hummel, USN (Retired).
Becuna669kBecuna (SS-319) in April 1963 on a "Northern Run" in the Cabot Straits.Photo courtesy of Gil Miller.
Halfbeak49kFrom left to right, Sea Robin (SS-407) , Tusk (SS-426) , Sea Owl (SS-405), Sablefish (SS-303), Halfbeak (SS-352) , Blenny (SS-324) , & Becuna (SS-319) at New London, CT., in 1968 during change of command. Photo courtesy of John Hummel, (USN) retired.
Becuna84kBlenny (SS-324) and Becuna (SS-319) still in commission, but in the Philadelphia Naval Yard to decommission about 1969. Dogfish (SS-350) in background in for over haul. Photo courtesy of John Hummel, (USN) retired.
Becuna144kBecuna (SS-319), in drydock with the Tench (SS-417) in Phila., 1970.
The Paint Shop X-71, and the Riggers X-72 are getting the boats ready for sandblasting in Drydock # 1. The sailors you see are from the INACSHIPS doing guard duty. You'll note the DH shelters abaft the conning towers painted yellow.
Photo courtesy of John Hummel, (USN) retired. Text I.d. submitted by Ron Reeves (of blessed memory)
Fremantle 365k This plaque was unveiled 20 March 1995 by His Excellency Major General P.M. Jeffery OA MC, Governor of Western Australia to commemorate the sacrifices made by Allied submarines that operated out of Fremantle, Western Australia during WW II. Photo courtesy of Ron Reeves (of blessed memory).
Becuna368kBecuna (SS-319) arrives at Penn's Landing, 21 June 1976.
"Mr. and Mrs. Dames Donnelley and their four year old son Thomas James, standing on Penn's Landing as the submarine Becuna is guided to its last berth by a T and A tug."
Photo courtesy of the George D. McDowell Philadelphia Evening Bulletin Photographs @
Becuna27kCommemorative postal cover issued on the occasion of Submarine Day Station for the Becuna (SS-319) 11 April 2002.Photo courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
Becuna300kA local delicacy found at the Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia, PA., Becuna (SS-319) under glass.Photo courtesy of John Hummel, (USN) retired.

View the Becuna (SS-319)
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
1954 issue of the U.S. Navy's Screen Magazine features the Hunter Killer Team
Independence Seaport Museum - USS Becuna (SS-319) Exhibit
Guppy Submarines
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ

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