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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive


Patch on left contributed by Mike Smolinski, on right by Ray Young.

Kete (SS-369)

Radio Call Sign: November - Juliet - Uniform - Romeo

Balao Class Submarine: Laid down, 25 October 1943, at Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.; Launched, 9 April 1944; Commissioned USS Kete (SS-369), 31 July 1944; Sunk on 2nd patrol by unknown causes while enroute to Midway from Colnett Strait in March 1945, all hands lost; Struck from the Naval Register, (date unknown) Kete earned one battle star for World War II service.

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; Cruising Range, 11,000 miles surfaced at 10kts; Submerged Endurance, 48 hours at 2kts; Operating Depth, 400 ft; Complement 6 Officers 54 Enlisted; Armament, ten 21" torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 5"/25 deck gun, one 40mm, one 20mm, two .50 cal. machine guns; Patrol Endurance 75 days; Propulsion, diesel-electric reduction gear with four General Motors main generator diesel engines, 5,400 hp, Fuel Capacity, 116,000 gals., four General Electric main motors with 2,740 hp, two 126-cell main storage batteries, two propellers.
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Kete252kInsignia of the Kete (SS-369) designed for the submarine by Ray Young, circa 1944.
Photo by Ray Young, courtesy of his son, William Young.
Kete37kA Chaetodon capistratus, the four eye butterfly fish which spawned the Kete (SS-369).
Photo by Robert A. Patzner, University of Salzburg - Institute of Zoology, courtesy of fishbase.org. & inspired by Sebastian Pusateri.
Kete15kCommemorative postal cover marking the keel laying of the Kete (SS-369), 25 October 1943.
Courtesy of Jack Treutle.
Kete60kPortside view of the open outer torpedo door shutters of the Kete (SS-369), taken on the building ways shortly before being launched at Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI., 9 April 1944.
Editors Note: There are over 200 images submitted on these pages covering the following submarines that were constructed at the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co, Manitowoc, WI,: SS-265 through SS-274, and SS-361 through SS-380.
None of them would have seen the light of day if it were not for the efforts of Curator, Asst. Director, Bill Thiesen of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum and Larry Bohn, who sent them to NavSource for publication.
A special debt of gratitude is owed to these two men and the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, home of the Cobia (SS-245) for allowing these photographs to be seen by the lovers of naval history worldwide.
Kete40kDrapped in bunting and signal flags flying, the Kete (SS-369) is side launched into the Manitowoc River at Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI., 9 April 1944.
Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
U.S. Navy photo.
Manitowoc55k Watercolor print by the artist Tom Denton of the side launching of a Manitowoc built boat. Courtesy of submarineart.com
Kete60k Commissioning emblem of the Kete (SS-369), July 31, 1944.
Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
Submitted by Larry Bohn, courtesy of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum home of the Cobia (SS-245)
Kete135k The Kete's (SS-369) plankowners pose in this August 1944 photo.
The skipper, Commander Royal Rutter is shown at the right in the first row of officers seated, to his left is Lt. R.H. Spikes, (K.I.A.), then Engineering Officer & the executive officer on the second and last patrol.
The contributor of this & the next two photos, Dallas Dolan, is in the back top row on the right next to Bob Rosacker in Whites.
Courtesy of Dallas Dolan, MoMM2, plankowner / commissioning crew.
Kete88k The Kete's (SS-369) plankowners pose in this August 1944 photo.
The XO, Lt. Cdr. Edward Ackerman,(K.I.A.) is at the left of the picture in the first row seated. (Actually seated next to the Skipper). They left Saipan to finish the first patrol and refitted in Guam. There Commander Royal Rutter fleeted up to Captain and gave over command to Lt. Cdr. Ackerman for the second and last patrol. Directly behind the XO is Chief Electrician J.D. Ellis. Captain Rutter offered him Warrant and the Electrical shop in the new Submarine Base being formed at Guam.
Courtesy of Dallas Dolan, MoMM2, plankowner / commissioning crew.
Kete27kDallas Dolan, MoMM2, one of the plankowners on the Kete (SS-369), at age 23, August 1944.
He is responding here to two questions that I asked him:
"So what is you opinion as to what happened to the boat and what was your initial reaction when you found out the boat was overdue?"
It is a long story. Hard to answer. I was very angry! There were five men transfered at Saipan from the Kete to the Fulton (AS-11) (To Ship's Company) Clear out of Submarines! I was one of them! We were all from the engineering dept. That might tell you something?
The Skipper, Commander Royal Rutter, was in Pearl at that time and the orders were cut by the XO and the Engineering officer.
Skipper was very upset when he returned. "you can't fire a volunteer!, we need these men to serve on submarines!
We were told there was a file placed in our records by the skipper's orders indicating that we could re-volunteer in three months and return to the Boats. I then had 5 patrol runs and 3-1/2 years in enemy waters and was qualified!
In the months following was when we heard of the loss of the Kete. Of course I was very sad to loose all those shipmates, many who I knew only a short time. Also I was able to count my blessings and my anger was mollified by my good fortune. I never returned to submarines.
We thought that it could be mines. By then the Japanese Navy was moored at home and we felt they were casting mines loose to go in harms way.
I was on the Kete underway to East China Sea for patrol, standing watch in after engine room. All of a sudden the engines go to idle. Moments later I could feel the boat rocking in the swell. No word was passed? What is going on? All of a sudden the concussion of the 20MM gun over the main induction valve is pounding on my head and shoulders as I stand under the Engine induction valve. Still no word? We were laying to in enemy waters! I called froward on the phone to the mess hall and they tell me, "Oh, they discovered a mine and are trying to blow it up!" Still no word? On any other sub or action we would have the OOD or the skipper on the 1MC informing the crew.
This was the order of the day. It was not a happy ship! We were a new crew on a new boat on her first patrol with only 1/3 of us qualified and experienced. The experienced men were transfered. God rest their souls this day.
Courtesy of Dallas Dolan, MoMM2, plankowner / commissioning crew.
Kete221kWith the reflections of part of the crew mirrored in the waters of the Manitowoc River, the Kete's (SS-369) plankowners pose in this August 1944 photo. In a little over 8 months time from this photo, they would be looking up from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean as the Kete and most of the men pictured here would be listed as overdue. Eventually they would all be M.I.A.
Photo courtesy of Garry Buzard.
Kete66kKete (SS-369), underway on Lake Michigan 15 August 1944.
USN photo.
Kete231kKete (SS-369), underway on Lake Michigan, 15 August 1944.
Submitted by Larry Bohn, courtesy of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum home of the Cobia (SS-245)
Kete46kKete (SS-369), port side view underway on Lake Michigan, August 1944.
Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
Submitted by Larry Bohn, courtesy of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum home of the Cobia (SS-245)
Kete70kKete (SS-369), underway on Lake Michigan, August 1944.
Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 72314.
Kete72kCloseup view of Kete's (SS-369) superstructure, with lookouts at their stations and other men on deck, during trials in Lake Michigan, August 1944.
Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 72313.
Kete55kKete (SS-369), photographed circa 1944, probably at the time of her completion.
Photo by Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, # NH 98278, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Harry Berns485kPhoto of Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI.
The photo of the Golet (SS-361) encased in snow appears on the wall above him on the upper right.
His obituary appears here.
Photo courtesy of Susan Menk, Archives Assistant, Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Dee Anna Grimsrud,Reference Archivist, Wisconsin Historical Society, Steve Khail, CBC, Director of Investor Relations & Corporate Communications, The Manitowoc Company, Inc. & William Young.
Who Am I?440k Text accompanying this photo reads "Enlisted men repair and check instruments aboard a submarine just returned to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. May 1945."
Note: Many of the captions of Bristol's photography are lacking in details and some have the wrong dates, places and locations.
The "23" boat in question in this photo is definitely NOT the S-23 (SS-128). It is beyond a doubt a Salmon or Gato/Balao class fleet boat, and I would lean toward a Balao. The date of the photo is probably early to mid 1944.
The boat in question has the characteristicly fat, twin periscope shears and long, wide flat "cigarette" deck of a Balao. Directly above the head of the sailor who is working at the base of the aft scope is a radar mast. The sailor behind him is standing at and looking through the aft Target Bearing Transmitter (TBT). Barely visible on the far left of the photo is what I believe to be part of a 20 mm gun mount.
None of these features were ever present on any of the S-boats, even the later 40 series that were heavily modified (i.e. S-45 (SS-156) ) towards the end of the war. The whole conning tower fairwater on the boat in question is simply too large for a S-boat.
As for the "23" on the fairwater, I have seen wartime photos of fleet boats displaying mysterious one and two digit numbers that do not correspond to their hull number (see the Guardfish (SS-217) and Peto (SS-265) pages for examples). Despite a lot of research, I have not turned up an official explanation for these strange numbers. One source said that they were squadron or flotilla identifiers, but I can't back this up officially. It is possible that they were temporary numbers assigned while the boats were in home waters, maybe to cut down on friendly fire incidents. Strangely enough, these numbers also seemed to have been used briefly during WWI, as I have seen them on D, E, F, G, and H-class boats.
It is also entirely possible that these numbers are part of an official disinformation program designed to obscure the identities of the boats while allowing a wide distribution of photos to an information hungry wartime public. That would also account for the information inaccuracies attributed to otherwise highly thought of photographers.
Riveted construction on the conning tower fairwaters of the fleet boats was far more common than I previously thought. It seems that the fairwater plating was riveted to the supporting structure underneath during construction on virtually all of the fleet boats, no matter who built it. This was possible due to the fact that the fairwater was non-watertight and merely provided for a smooth flow of water around the conning tower and lower periscope shears.
Riveting was a long practiced and well known construction method, while welding was still relatively new and there was a fairly low number of skilled and experienced welders, and they had to be parceled out carefully depending on priority. All of the pressure resisting elements such as the conning tower and the main pressure hull were welded. The last fleet boat to have a riveted pressure hull was the Pompano (SS-181) in 1937. These original riveted fairwaters were retained until the end of the war, unless the boat had major rework of the fairwater performed (like most of the Gato's), or if the boat suffered battle damage. The rework jobs seemed to have been mostly welded.
I would lay money on it being a Manitowoc built Balao class and I will stick with the early to mid 1944 date.
National Archives Record Administration (NARA) photo # 080-G-468179 & HD-SN-99-02504 by Lt. Comdr. Horace Bristol, from the Department of Defense Still Media Collection, courtesy of dodmedia.osd.mil.
Partial text courtesy of Jason McDonald, President & Executive Producer MFA Productions LLC.
mfaproductions.com
worldwar2database.com
ninesisters.com
dayofthekamikaze.com
Majority of text and photo i.d. courtesy of Dave Johnston (USNR).
Kete29k Photo of the RO-33 showing bow anti-submarine net cutter. The RO-41 is representitive of that class of submarine which might have sunk the Kete (SS-369), but which was herself lost shortly after the Kete failed to return, according to Submarines Lost Through Enemy Action.
Imperial War Museum photo, scanned from "Submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy" by Polmar and Carpenter, courtesy of combinedfleet.com.
Southern  Kyushu29kGoogle Earth satellite photo of the Southern Kyushu area of Japan, where Kete (SS-369) might have met her end. The Swordfish (SS-193) was also sunk not too far from this area, near Yaku Island off Kyushu. View courtesy of Google Earth.
Kete4k Photo of the area where Kete (SS-369) on 10 Mar, 1945,torpedoes and sinks the Japanese troop transport Keizan Maru (2116 BRT) and the Japanese army cargo ships Sanka Maru (2495 BRT) and Dokan Maru (2270 BRT) some 100 miles northwest of Amami o Shima in position 29.48N, 128.02E.
Courtesy of Great Circle Mapper - Karl L Swartz, from uboat.net.
Kete 21k Map showing the general area where the Kete (SS-369) may have been at the time of her loss, near Yaku Island (Yaku Shima)off Kyushu.
Photo courtesy of sailwx.info.
Kete99Commemorative photo in honor of the memory of the crew of the Kete (SS-369).Photo courtesy of Tom Kermen. Dante's Prayer courtesy of Loreena McKennitt via quinlanroad.com.
Kete14k Edward Ackerman, Lieutenant Commander (Commanding Officer) of the Kete (SS-369) at the time of her loss.
US Navy photo courtesy of oneternalpatrol.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.
Devilfish89k The fate of the Kete (SS-369) is not known. There were 4 Japanese submarines sunk in her patrol area which never reported back to Tokyo, and one of them may have sunk the Kete. Simply conjecture, but this could have been the view through the periscope lens of a Japanese submarine when she sunk the Kete. This is a photo of the Devilfish (SS-292), being sunk as a target by Wahoo (SS-565) at San Francisco, CA., 14 August 1968.

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./"
U.S. Navy photo, courtesy of ussubvetsofworldwarii.

View the Kete (SS-369)
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 on the loss of USS KETE (SS 369) March 20, 1945 - 87 Men Lost
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ
Manitowoc Built Submarines

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