USS BOWFIN (SS-287)
Class: Balao Submarine
Length: 311 feet, 8 inches
Launched on the first anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Bowfin completed nine war patrols in two years of wartime duty. One of the top-scoring U.S. submarines of World War II, Bowfin is credited with sinking 16 Japanese vessels with a total tonnage of 67,882 tons. On a noteworthy patrol in November 1943, Bowfin sank 12 vessels, only five of which were officially credited to the boat. Rear Admiral Ralph W. Christie, Commander of the U.S. Submarine Force, Southwest Pacific, lauded Bowfin's crew's achievement. "They fought the war from the beginning to the end of the patrol." In further recognition, Bowfin was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for this patrol. Bowfin was the boat selected by Admiral Christie when he went on a war patrol, thus becoming the only U.S. Flag Officer to be aboard a submarine during combat. Bowfin was also awarded the Navy Unit Commendation and the Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation for her wartime service. This included sinking a record number of ships, laying mines, rescuing downed aviators, and supplying Philippine guerrilla troops.
At the war's end, Bowfin left Pearl Harbor for active duty with the Atlantic Fleet. She later served as a reserve training boat in Seattle, Washington, until her decommissioning in 1971. Today, Bowfin is back at Pearl Harbor berthed at USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park. The park, located next to the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center, incorporates a museum, outdoor exhibits, and a waterfront memorial to the 52 U.S. submarines lost during World War II.
USS Bowfin is a National Historic Landmark.
Bowfin off Mare Island 1944.
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