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Grayling IV (SS-209)

(SS-209: dp. 1,475; l. 307'2"; b. 27'3"; dr. 13'3"; s. 20 k.; cpl. 59; a. 1 3", 10 21" tt.; cl. Tambor)

A fresh water game fish closely related to the trout.


The fourth Grayling (SS-209) was laid down at the Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H., 15 December 1939; launched 4 September 1940; sponsored by Mrs. Herbert F. Leary; and commissioned 1 March 1941, Lt. Comdr. E. Olson in command.

After conducting tests and sea trials, she was called upon 20 June 1941 to assist in the search for submarine 0-9, which had failed to surface after a practice dive off Isle of Shoals. 0-9 was subsequently discovered on the bottom, but rescue efforts failed; Grayling participated 22 June in the memorial services for those lost.

Joining the Atlantic Fleet, Grayling sailed on shakedown cruise 4 August to Morehead City, N.C., and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, returning to Portsmouth 29 August. After final acceptance, she departed 17 November, armed at Newport, B.I., and sailed for duty with the Pacific Fleet. Grayling transited the Panama Canal 3 December and moored at San Diego 10 December.

Grayling sailed for Pearl Harbor 17 December, arrived 24 December, and had the honor of being chosen for the Pacific Fleet change of command ceremony 31 December 1941. On that day Admiral C. W. Nimitz hoisted his flag aboard Grayling as Commander Pacific Fleet and began the Navy's long fighting road back in the Pacific.

After the ceremonies, Grayling stood out of Pearl Harbor on her first war patrol 5 January 1942. Cruising the Northern Gilbert Islands, Grayling failed to register a kill, but gained much in training and readiness, returning to Pearl Harbor 7 March.

Her second patrol, beginning 27 March, was more successful. Cruising off the coast of Japan itself, Grayling sank her first ship 13 April, sending the cargo freighter Ryujin Maru to the bottom. She returned to Hawaii 16 May.

Grayling returned to action in June as all available ships were pressed into service to oppose the Japanese advance on Midway. As part of Task Group 7.1, Grayling and her sister submarines were arranged in a fan-like reconnaissance deployment west of Midway, helping to provide knowledge of Japanese movements.

As Naval planners established a submarine blockade of Truk in connection with the offensive in the Solomons, Grayling began her third war patrol 14 July 1942 around the Japanese stronghold. She damaged a Japanese submarine tender 13 August, but was forced to return to Pearl Harbor 26 August by fuel leaks.

At Pearl Harbor Grayling repaired and was fitted with surface radar, after which she began her fourth patrol 19 October. Although attacked by gunfire and six separate depth charge runs by Japanese destroyers, Grayling succeeded 10 November in sinking a 4,000-ton cargo ship southwest of Truk. She also destroyed an enemy schooner 4 December before putting into Fremantle, Australia, 13 December.

Changing her base of operations to Australia, Grayling stood out of Fremantle 7 January 1943 on her fifth patrol, this time in Philippine waters. She sank cargo ship Ushio Maru west of Luzon 26 January and damaged another Japanese ship the next day. After sinking a schooner 24 February, Grayling returned to Fremantle.

Grayling left Australian waters 18 March on her sixth war patrol and cruised in the Tarakan area and the Verde Island Passage. There she attacked and sunk cargo ship Shanghai Maru 9 April and damaged four other ships before returning to Fremantle 25 April.

Her seventh war patrol, commencing 18 May, took Grayling into the waters off northwest Borneo, where she damaged a freighter and two smaller ships before returning to her base 6 July.

Grayling began her eighth and last war patrol in July from Fremantle. She made two visits to the coast of the Philippines delivering supplies and equipment to guerrillas at Pucio Point, Pandan Bay, Panay, 31 July and 23 August 1943. Cruising in the Philippines area, Grayling recorded her last kill, the passenger-cargo Meizan Maru 27 August in the Tablas Strait, but was not heard from again after 9 September. Grayling was officially reported "lost with all hands" 30 September 1943, after having recorded five major kills totalling 20,575 tons. All but the first of Grayling's eight war patrols were declared "successful."

Grayling received six battle stars for World War II service.

The name Grayling was assigned to 88-492 on 29 August 1944, but was cancelled 12 August 1945 prior to construction.

Published: Mon Jul 13 14:25:28 EDT 2015