A young or small pike.
Submarine Pickerel was renamed F–3 (q.v.) on 17 November 1911.
(SS–177: dp. 1,330 (surf.), 1,997 (subm.); l. 300’7”; b. 25’1”; dr. 13’10”; s. 19 k. (surf.), 9 k. (subm.); cpl. 50; a. 6 21” tt., 1 3”; cl. Porpoise)
The first Pickerel (SS–177) was laid down 25 March 1935 by the Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn.; launched 7 July 1936; sponsored by Miss Evelyn Standley; and commissioned 26 January 1937, Lt. L. J. Huffman in command.
After shakedown the new submarine conducted training exercises out of New London, Conn. until getting underway 26 October 1937 and heading, via Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to transit the Panama Canal 9 November. Joining the Pacific Fleet, Pickerel operated out of San Diego along the West Coast and in Hawaiian waters. Subsequently transferred to the Asiatic Fleet, she prepared for war with a vigorous training schedule in the Philippines.
Upon receiving word of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Pickerel sped to the coast of Indo-China and conducted her first war patrol off Cam Ranh Bay and Tourane Harbor. She tracked a Japanese submarine and a destroyer but lost them in haze and rain squalls before they came in torpedo range. On 19 December she also missed a small Japanese patrol craft with five torpedoes, before returning to Manila Bay on the 29th.
On her second patrol (31 December to 29 January 1942), conducted between Manila and Surabaya, the submarine sank the 2,929-ton ex-gunboat Kanko Maru 10 January 1942. On her third war patrol (7 February to 19 March), along the Malay Barrier and her fourth (15 April to 6 June) in the Philippines, she failed to score.
Pickerel’s fifth war patrol (10 July–26 August) was a voyage from Brisbane, Australia, to Pearl Harbor for refit, with a short patrol in the Marianas enroute. She damaged a freighter on this run. On her sixth war patrol (22 January–3 March 1943) she searched among the Kuriles on the TokyoKiska traffic lanes. In sixteen attacks, she sank 1,990-ton Japanese cargo ship Tateyama Maru and two 35-ton sampans.
She departed Pearl Harbor 18 March 1943 and, after topping off with fuel at Midway 22 March, headed for the eastern coast of Northern Honshu and was never heard from again. Pickerel was the first submarine to be lost in the Central Pacific area. Post-war analysis of Japanese records credited Pickerel with sinking 440-ton Submarine Chaser No. 13 on 3 April and 1,113-ton cargo ship Fukuei Maru 7 April. Pickerel was struck from the Navy List 19 August 1943.
Pickerel received three battle stars for World War II service.