Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Related Content
  • Boats-Ships--Submarine
Document Type
  • Ship History
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
Location of Archival Materials

Permit I (SS-178)

(SS-178: dp. 1,330 (surf.), 1,977 (Subm.), l. 300'7"; b. 25'1"; 21- dr. 15'3"; s. 19 k. (surf.), 9 k. (subm.); cpl. 50; a. 1 3", 6 2 tt.; cl. Plunger)

A food fish, often called "round pompano," found in waters from North Carolina to Brazil.


The first Permit (SS-178) was laid down 6 June 1935 by the Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn.; launched 5 October 1936; sponsored by Mrs. Harold G. Bowen; and commissioned 17 March 1937, Lt. Charles O. Humphreys in command.

Following shakedown, Permit operated out of Portsmouth, N. H., until 29 November 1937, when she got underway for the Pacific. Transiting the Panama Canal, 10 December, she continued up the West Coast, and arrived at San Diego the 18th to join SubRon 6. For the next 22 months she cruised the Eastern Pacific, ranging from southern California to the Aleutian and Hawaiian Islands. In October 1939 she got underway for the Philippines to join the Asiatic Fleet.

Permit's first patrols were conducted in Philippine waters during 1940 and 1941. The 2-year period of peace time activity gave the submarine's crew valuable training for later war activity. The ship conducted her first war patrol off the west coast of Luzon from 11-20 December 1941. From 22-27 December she made a second patrol in the area. Permit embarked members of Admiral Hart's staff at Mariveles Harbor on the 28th, and evacuated them to the Netherlands' Submarine Base, Soerabaja, Java, arriving 6 February 1942. Enroute, she completed a 3rd war patrol, scouting in waters of the southern Philippines.

The submarine departed Soerabaja for her 4th war patrol 22 February, as the Japanese began to close on Java. On the 19th, Swordfish (SS-193) got through to Corregidor, which was still holding out against the Japanese. It was now Permit's turn to penetrate the blockade to the "Rock." She rendezvoued off Corregidor with carrier Ranger (CV-4) the night of 15-16 March, took on board 40 officers and enlisted men, and landed her ammunition on the shore. She headed for repairs at her new base, Fremantle, Australia, after minor damage suffered while eluding 3 enemy destroyers the 18th.

Permit departed Fremantle 5 May, and until 11 June was engaged in her 5th war patrol off Makassar, Celebes Island and in the enemy shipping route stretching towards Balikpapan, Borneo. The submarine made her 6th war patrol enroute to Pearl Harbor 12 July-30 August, and shortly departed for the U.S., entering Mare Island Navy Yard 9 September.

She conducted her 7th war patrol off the coast of Honshu, Japan, from 5 February 1943 to 16 March. Towards sunset on 8 March, she attacked a 9-ship convoy guarded by 2 escorts. Two hits sent 2,742-ton cargo ship Hisashima Mara to the bottom. Permit departed Midway 6 April for her 8th war patrol in the traffic lanes leading from the Marianas to Truk Atoll, Caroline Is., and after several encounters returned to Pearl Harbor 25 May. On 20 July she joined submarines Lapon (SS-260) and Plunger (SS-179) at Midway for the first wartime penetration into the Sea of Japan to attack shipping carrying raw materials to the Japanese war plants from Manchuria and Korea. On 7 July Permit fired 2 torpedoes which sank 787-ton cargo ship Banshu Maru No. 83. Just after midnight she spotted a 2-ship convoy headed for the Korean coast-line, and with a salvo of 2 torpedoes sank 2,212-ton cargo ship Showa Mara in 5 minutes.

After this highly successful patrol, Permit made her way via Dutch Harbor, Alaska, to Pearl Harbor, arriving the 27th. On 23 August she departed for photographic reconnaissance of several atolls in the Marshall Is. While off Kwajalein, she evaded aerial bombs on 3 September and depth charges on the 9th. She made attacks on enemy vessels, damaging several, before ending the patrol at Pearl Harbor the 24th. Her next war, patrol was in the Carolines Is., from early January 1944 until mid-March. Her 12th war patrol was in the same region, on lifeguard station in support of the air strikes on Truk Atoll. She remained on station from 7 May until 1 June. Permit commenced her 13th war patrol with her departure from Majuro Atoll 30 June, and ended it with her arrival at Brisbane, Australia, 13 August. On 21 September she departed to relieve submarine Tarpon (SS-175) on lifeguard duty off Truk, and on 11 November ended her 14th and last war patrol at Pearl Harbor.

After refit, she sailed for the United States 29 January 1945, and entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard 23 February. In mid-May she sailed to the Submarine Base, New London, Conn., to serve as a schoolship until 30 October, when she entered Boston Naval Shipyard for inactivation.

Permit decommissioned 15 November 1945. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register 26 July 1956; the submarine's hulk was sold for scrap to A. G. Schoonmaker, Inc., New York City, on 28 June 1958.

For her service during World War II, Permit received 10 battle stars.

Published: Wed Aug 19 14:21:39 EDT 2015