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Dolphin VI (SS-169)

(SS-169: dp. 1,560; l. 319'1"; b. 27'11"; dr. 13'1"; s. 17 k.; cpl. 57; a. 1 4", 6 21" tt; cl. Dolphin)

A gregarious aquatic mammal having a pointed muzzle, and found in most oceans; also, a swift, spiny-finned fish having a long dorsal fin and iridescent body, and found throughout warm seas.


The sixth Dolphin (SS-169) bore the name V-7 and the classification SF-10 and SSC-3 prior to her commissioning. She was launched 6 March 1932 by Portsmouth Navy Yard; sponsored by Mrs. E. D. Toland; and commissioned 1 June 1932, Lieutenant J. B. Griggs in command.

Dolphin sailed from Portsmouth 24 October 1932 for San Diego arriving 3 December to report to Submarine Division 12. She served on the west coast, taking part in tactical exercises and test torpedo firings until 4 March 1933 when she got underway for the east coast. She arrived at Portsmouth Navy Yard 23 March for final trials and acceptance, remaining there until 1 August.

Dolphin returned to San Diego 25 August 1933 to rejoin Submarine Division 12. She cruised on the west coast with occasional voyages to Pearl Harbor, Alaska, and the Canal Zone for exercises and fleet problems. On 1 December 1937 Dolphin departed San Diego for her new home port, Pearl Harbor, arriving a week later. She continued to operate in fleet problems and training exercises, visiting the west coast on a cruise from 29 September to 25 October 1940. At Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, Dolphin took the attacking enemy planes under fire, then got underway for a patrol in search of Japanese submarines in the Hawaiians.

Dolphin departed Pearl Harbor 24 December 1941 on her first war patrol, during which she reconnoitered in the Marshall Islands in preparation for later air strikes. She returned to Pearl Harbor 3 February 1942 to refit and make repairs, and got underway once more 14 May. Searching a wide area west of Midway, she patrolled off the island itself during the critical Battle of Midway from 3 to 6 June. She put in to the island, saved by the American victory in battle, for repairs from 8 to 11 June, then returned to her patrol, attacking a destroyer and a tanker with undetermined results before returning to Pearl Harbor 24 July.

Her third war patrol, from 12 October 1942 to 5 December, was in the storm-tossed waters of the Kurile Islands, where she performed reconnaissance essential to the operations which were to keep Japanese bases there largely ineffective throughout the war. With younger submarines now available for offensive war patrols, Dolphin was assigned less dramatic but still vital service on training duty at Pearl Harbor until 29 January 1944, when she sailed for exercises in the Canal Zone, and duty as a schoolship at New London, where she arrived 6 March. She served in this essential task until the end of the war, then was decommissioned 12 October 1945 at Portsmouth Navy Yard. Dolphin was sold 26 August 1946.

The second of Dolphin's three war patrols was designated as "successful," and she received two battle stars for World War II service.

Published: Mon Jan 28 15:34:16 EST 2019