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Pipefish I (SS-388)

(SS-388: dp. 1,526 (surf.), 2,391 (subm.) ; l. 311-8-; b. 27-3-; dr. 15-3-; s. 20 k. (surf.), 9 k. (subm.); cpl. 66; a. 10 21- tt., 1 5-, 1 40mm.; cl. Balao)

A long, narrow fish with straight, tubular snout; bonyscaled; has extraordinary powers of concealment in vegetation; found in Panama.


Pipefish (SS-388) was laid down 31 May 1943 by the Navy Yard, Portsmouth, N.H.; launched 12 October 1943; sponsored by Mrs. George J. Bates; and commissioned 22 January 1944, Lt. Comdr. William N. Deragon in command.

Following training off the east coast, Pipefish proceeded via the Panama Canal to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where she arrived 3 May 1944.

On her first war patrol, 24 May to 16 July, Pipefish cruised west of the Marianas, as a rescue submarine for pre-invasion carrier strikes on Saipan, saving one pilot 12 June. She also cruised in the Surigao Straits sector, P.I., to block Japanese escape from the Battle of the Philippine Sea. She moored at Majuro, 16 July.

On her second war patrol, 6 August to 27 September, she patrolled off the southeastern coast of Honshu, Japan. Pipefish sank Hakutetsu Mara No. 7, 1,018 tons, 12 September. While evading escorts after that attack, she struck bottom three times. She returned to Pearl Harbor 27 September.

On her third war patrol, 28 October 1944 to 6 January 1945, Pipefish roamed southwest of Taiwan and off the east coast of Hainan Island, China, operating with Pampanito (SS-383), Sea Cat (SS-399), and Sea Raven (SS-196). Attacking a convoy, Pipefish sank Japanese Coastal Defense Vessel No. 64, 800 tons, 3 December. She arrived at Majuro 6 January.

On her fourth war patrol, 31 January to 26 March, Pipefish provided rescue capability for downed aviators in the Nansei Shoto area.

During her fifth war patrol, 28 April to 16 June, she performed lifeguard duty for B-29 aviators off Honshu Island, Japan, and in the Nanpo Shoto area. Pipefish saved eight aviators on 26 and 29 May and 10 June. She moored at Midway 16 June.

Her sixth war patrol, 15 July to 28 August, called for lifeguard duty in the Nanpo Shoto area and off the east coast of Kyushu Island, Japan. On patrol she destroyed eight mines. Following termination of hostilities with Japan, she arrived at Pearl Harbor 28 August, and then proceeded to the west coast.

Pipefish decommissioned 19 March 1946, and joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet. She was reclassified AGSS-388 on 1 December 1962. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register 1 March 1967.

Pipefish received six battle stars for World War II service.

Published: Fri Aug 21 07:58:01 EDT 2015