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Permit I (SS-178)


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


(SS-178: displacement 1,330 (surface), 1,998 (Submerged); length 300'6" (overall), 290'0" (waterline); beam 25'1" (extreme, at or below waterline); draft 13'10" (mean); speed 19.25 knots (surfaced), 8.75  knots (submerged); complement 57; armament 1 3-inch, 6 21-inch torpedo tubes; class Perch)

Pinna (SS-178) was laid down on 6 June 1935 at Groton, Conn., by the Electric Boat Co.; renamed Permit on 17 August 1935; launched on 5 October 1936; sponsored by Mrs. Harold G. Bowen, wife of Rear Adm. Harold G. Bowen, Chief of the Bureau of Engineering; and commissioned on 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 U.S. Asiatic Fleet.

Permit's first patrols were conducted in Philippine waters during 1940 and 1941. The 2-year period of peacetime 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 Adm. Thomas C. Hart's staff at Mariveles Harbor on the 28th, and evacuated them to the Netherlands' Submarine Base, Soerabaja, Java, N.E.I., arriving on 6 February 1942. Enroute, she completed a third war patrol, scouting in waters of the southern Philippines.

The submarine departed Soerabaja for her fourth 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 rendezvoused off Corregidor with USMTRanger 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 three enemy destroyers on the 18th.

Permit departed Fremantle on 5 May 1942, and until 11 June was engaged in her fifth war patrol off Makassar, Celebes Island and in the enemy shipping route stretching towards Balikpapan, Borneo. The submarine made her sixth war patrol en route to Pearl Harbor 12 July-30 August, and shortly departed for the U.S., entering Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, Calif., on 9 September.

She conducted her seventh war patrol off the coast of Honshu, Japan, from 5 February 1943 to 16 March. Towards sunset on 8 March, she attacked a nine-ship convoy guarded by two escorts. Two hits sent 2,742-ton cargo ship Hisashima Mara to the bottom. Permit departed Midway 6 April for her eighth war patrol in the traffic lanes leading from the Marianas to Truk Atoll, Caroline Islands, 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 two torpedoes which sank 787-ton cargo ship Banshu Maru No. 83. Just after midnight she spotted a two-ship convoy headed for the Korean coast-line, and with a salvo of two 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 Islands. 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 Caroline Islands from early January 1944 until mid-March. Her twelfth 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 thirteenth 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 fourteenth and last war patrol at Pearl Harbor.

After refit, she sailed for the United States on 29 January 1945, and entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 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 Navy Yard for inactivation.

Permit was decommissioned on 15 November 1945. Her name was stricken 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: Thu Aug 24 13:14:48 EDT 2023