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NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive

Patches on left & middle contributed by Harold F.(Carl) Carlson, on right by Mike Smolinski

Sea Cat (SS-399) (AGSS-399)

Radio Call Sign: November - Kilo - Oscar - Victor

Balao Class Submarine: Laid down, 30 October 1943, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H.; Launched, 21 February 1944; Commissioned USS Sea Cat (SS-399), 16 May 1944; Redesignated Auxiliary Submarine (AGSS-399), 30 September 1949; Redesignated (SS-399), 9 January 1952; Snorkel conversion at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, 15 January 1952 to 26 June 1952; Redesignated an Auxiliary Submarine on 29 June 1968; Decommissioned and struck from the Naval Register, 2 December 1968; Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 18 May 1973. Sea Cat earned three battle stars for her World War II service.
Partial data submitted by Yves Hubert.

As built to the specifications: Displacement, Surfaced 1,526 t., Submerged 2,391 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 10 kts; Submerged Endurance, 48 hours at 2 kts; 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 single 40mm gun mount, one single 20mm gun mount, two .50 cal. machine guns; Patrol Endurance 75 days; Propulsion, diesel-electric reduction gear, four Fairbanks-Morse diesel engines, 5,400hp, Fuel Capacity, 116,000 gal., four Elliot Motor Co. electric main motors with 2,740hp, two 126-cell main storage batteries, two propellers.
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Sea Cat 949k Mrs. Richard L. Cochrane, matron of honor, Rear Admiral Edward L. Cochrane, USN, Mrs. Edward L. Cochrane, sponsor, Rear Admiral T. Withers, USN, at launching of Sea Cat (SS-399). Launched at Navy Yard Portsmouth, N.H. 21 February 1944. National Archives Identifier: 12562942
Photo courtesy of
Sea Cat 18k Commemorative launch day badge from Sea Cat's (SS-399) launching, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H., 21 February 1944. Courtesy of James A Munroe in remembrance of his father Raymond L Munroe Sr. who worked at the yard during WW II and the Korean wars as a chauffeur.
Sea Cat 38k Commemorative post card issued on the occasion of Sea Cat's (SS-399) launching, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H., 21 February 1944. Photo courtesy of Jack Treutle (of blessed memory).
2.35k Sea Cat's (SS-399) commissioning party invite, 11 May 1944. Photo courtesy of Robert L. Gray III.
Sea Cat 874k Sea Cat (SS-399) underway during her trials off the New England coast on 10 August 1944. US National Archives photo # 80G-453342 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.
Sea Cat 55k WW II battleflag of the Sea Cat (SS-399). USN photo courtesy of
Archerfish 95k Proteus (AS-19) with submarines of Submarine Squadron 20 alongside in Tokyo Bay, on VJ-Day, 2 September 1945. Names of the submarines present, their commanding officers and the commanding officers of SubRon20 and Proteus (AS-19) are printed at the bottom of the image: Archerfish (SS-311), Cavalla (SS-244), Gato (SS-212), Haddo (SS-255), Muskallunge (SS-262), Pilotfish (SS-386), Razorback (SS-394), Runner (SS-476), Segundo (SS-398), Sea Cat (SS-399), and Tigrone (SS-419). Courtesy of Captain Joseph F. Enright, USN(Retired), 1979. USN photo # NH 95019, from the collections of the US Naval Historical Center.
NR A Navy Man Comes Home
Soon after Japan signed surrender terms on the Missouri (BB-63) in Tokyo Bay, George Comstock, 22, a typical Navy fighting man, went below decks in his submarine, the Sea Cat (SS-399), and left the bay for Guam—his seventh and last war patrol completed. En route to Guam, the Sea Cat received by radio the first word of the Navy’s point discharge system. Comstock had 51 points, seven more than he needed.
These pictures tell his story from that time on how he traveled from Guam to Pearl Harbor aboard another submarine, how he went through the demobilization center there, boarded a cruiser for the West Coast, went through a separation center, and, after five years in the Navy, returned home to his family and a civilian career. Comstock’s story is the story, in its main essentials, of three million other Navy men who are now coming home.
Image and text provided by Ohio History Connection, Columbus, OH.
Photo from The Bluffton News. [volume] (Bluffton, Ohio) 1875-current, 03 January 1946, Image 7, via
Subron 5 181k Subron 5 family photo fall/winter (1945)in Guam, from left to right, Segundo (SS-398), Sea Cat (SS-399), Blenny (SS-324), Blower (SS-325), Blueback (SS-326) & Charr (SS-328). Photo by Lt. Herb Hanson, courtesy of John Hummel, USN (Retired).
Sea Cat 286k Amidships looking forward plan view of Sea Cat (SS-399) at Mare Island on 23 July 1946. She was in overhaul at the yard from 15 April to 27 July 1946. USN photo # 2626-46, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
Sea Cat 361k The Sea Cat off Mare Island on 22 July 1946. USN photo # 2591-46, courtesy of Darryl L. Baker.
786k The Sea Cat (SS-399) was commanded by Maurice H. Rindskopf from 10.02.1947 00.06.1949. Official US Navy photo of RADM Maurice H. Rindskopf, dated 16 July 1967, from the files of the Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum courtesy of Darryl L. Baker & Wolfgang Hechler.
Sennet 96k Several boats docked pierside in 1948. From inboard to outboard:
Sennet (SS-408), Runner (SS-476), possibly the Cutlass (SS-478) inboard from the Sea Cat (SS-399).
Photo courtesy of John Hummel, USN (Retired).
Sea Cat 36k Heavy gun batteries were of somewhat limited value because they lacked fire controls. The next step then, was to add a surface-ship type fire control system: an Mk 6 stable element, and an Mk 6 computer driving gun-order repeaters at the guns. The most striking change was internal: a gun plot was installed in the forward crew quarters. In the autumn 1949, it was decided to have a number of experimental changes made to the ship during her forthcoming overhaul, and she was redesignated AGSS-399 on 30 September. On 7 November, she arrived at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard where the work was done. The modifications and repairs were completed on 11 March 1950. She also had a pair of single 40 mm guns.
The cylindrical object on her foreback is a dome covering her new WFA "integrated" sonar, which (in theory) would replace both the older WCA & JT In fact, JT was retained because its long line array gave more precise bearings than the small array inside the radome.
Note too that the usual wartime SD air warning radar had been replaced by the big antenna of the late war SV, on the auxillary mast abaft the periscope shears and conning tower. Six other boats (SS-229, 340, 401, 406-8) were also converted to "gunboats".
The Sea Cat is shown here off Balboa, Canal Zone, on 9 March 1949.
Photo & text courtesy of U.S. Submarines Through 1945, An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman. Naval Institute Press.
Sea Cat 183k Port side view of the Sea Cat (SS-399), taken probably after her last overhaul after she left Philadelphia in June 1952; she operated from Key West for the remainder of her career, spending most of her time in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and in waters off the southern coast of the United States. Text courtesy of DANFS.
USN photo # USN 445269.
399 221k Four photo Welcome Aboard PDF for the Sea Cat (SS-399), circa 1959. USN photo courtesy of Scott Koen &
Sea Cat 64k 1960 watercolor by the artist Salvatore Indiviglia entitled "Loading Fish" aboard the Sea Cat (SS-399). Painting #17/88-161-UI.
Courtesy of the USNHC.
Trutta 205k Ceremony for 4 boats at a pier in sea major.
Sealion (APSS-315), centre, with Trutta (SS-421), at left, alongside unidentified tender, and Sea Cat (SS-399), at right. The small boat at the other pier is the Mackerel (SST-1).
I believe this to be a Change of Command for the Commanding Officer of the submarine squadron, not just the Sealion. All of the boats have their crews topside and in whites, including the tender on the far left of the photo. This indicates something larger than just the Sealion. They used her deck to set up the podiums because she has the largest deck aft of the conning tower. Her deck was expanded during her amphibious conversion.
The Sealion would have left Key West not long after this photo was taken, for decommissioning in Philadelphia, so it is unlikely that she would be having a CoC at that time.
Photo i.d. & text courtesy of Ric Hedman & David Johnston
Photo # MM00041228x by Don Pinder from the Ida Woodward Baron Collection in the Florida Keys Public Library via courtesy of Robert Hurst.
Sea Cat 660k Turkish and American submarines at M'sida, Malta prior to NATO Exercise 'Medflex Invicta', 16-21 April 1961. Along the portside of HMS Narvik (LST 3044), the temporary depot ship at Malta is: (outboard to inboard) Canakkale (S-333), Sea Cat (SS-399) and Trutta (SS-421).Source: Imperial War Museum British Post-1945 Official Classified Print Collection, Photo No. © IWM (HU 102632) via Mike Green.
Sea Cat 1.90k Sea Cat (SS-399) underway on 15 April 1962. Photo No:MM00005523x from the Ida Woodward Baron Collection in the Florida Keys Public Library via courtesy of Steven Gower.
Sea Cat 301k 1962: Sea Cat (SS-399) recovering torpedo, looks like MK 37. Photo courtesy of John Hummel, USN (Retired).
Sea Cat 335k Sea Cat (SS-399) underway on 10 September 1963. Photo from the Ida Woodward Baron Collection in the Florida Keys Public Library via courtesy of Steven Gower.
Chopper 249k Change of command at Subron 12 Key West Fla. in the 1960's aboard the Bushnell (AS-15). Barracuda (SST-3) upper right. Other boats there are Sea Cat (SS-399), Picuda (SS-382), Atule (SS-403), Sea Fox (SS-402), Threadfin (SS-410) & Chopper (SS-342). Photo courtesy of John Hummel, USN (Retired).
Sea Cat 193k Sea Cat (SS-399) at Guantanamo in 1968. Photo courtesy of John Hummel, USN (Retired).
Sea Cat 595k WILD RIDE: Marines from 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company, Force Troops based at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, hold on to their rubber boat, preparing for a wild ride as the submarine Sea Cat (SS-399) dives. This type of wet deck launching is used to float a fully loaded rubber boat and its crew without having to drop it over the high sloping sides of the submarine. This training photo was taken off the Florida Keys, 12 February 1968. Official Marine Corps Photograph # 330-NP-31-68-1 from NARA, College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert.

View the Sea Cat (SS-399)
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
Guppy Submarines
Ep-21 (1) - Victory At Sea ~ Full Fathom Five - HQ

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