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Puffer I (SS-268)

(SS-268: dp. 1,525 (surf.), 2,424 (subm.); l. 311-9- b. 27-3-; dr. 15-3-; s. 20 k. (surf.), 9 k. (subm.); cpl. 66; a. 1 3-: 1 40mm., 10 21- tt.; cl. Gato)

A fish which inflates its body with air.


Puffer (SS-268) was laid down by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, Wis., 16 February 1942; launched 22 November 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Ruth B. Lyons; and commissioned 27 April 1943, Lt. Comdr. M. J. Jensen in command.

Puffer was transported down the Mississippi to New Orleans on a special floating drydock, having periscopes installed enroute after receiving torpedoes and ammunition. She exercised off Panama for a month, then headed across the Pacific to Australia, arriving in early September 1943. Her first war patrol, to intercept Japanese commerce in the Makassar Strait-Celebes Sea area, 7 September to 17 October, resulted in several damaged ships but no sinkings. On 24 November Puffer sailed on her 2nd patrol, in the Sulu Sea and the approaches to Manila. On 20 December she sank 820-ton destroyer Fujo, and on 1 January 1944, 6,707-ton freighter Ryuyo Maru, before putting in to Fremantle for refit 12 January.

Puffer departed for her 3rd war patrol, in the South China Sea, 4 February. On 22 February, she sank the 15,105-ton transport Teikyo Maru. Returning to Fremantle 4 April, she sailed again 30 April for Madoera Straits, Makassar Straits and the Sulu Sea. She acted as life guard for the first Allied carrier strike on Soerabaia, sank 3,181-ton freighter Shinryu Maru 18 May, then on 5 June, attacked three tankers, sinking 2,166-ton Ashizuri and 2,500-ton Takasaki. She ended this most successful patrol, for which she received the Navy Unit Commendation, at Fremantle 21 June.

On 14 July Puffer departed for her 5th war patrol, in Makassar Straits, the Celebes, Sulu, and South China Seas. On 12 August she sank the 5,113-ton tanker Teikon Maru. She completed the patrol at Pearl Harbor, whence she continued on to Mare Island for overhaul.

Following refresher training at Hawaii, Puffer got underway on her 6th war patrol 16 December. Operating in the Nansei Shoto area, she sank Coast Defense Vessel No. 42 on 10 January 1945; and, prior to her arrival at Guam, 17 January, damaged a destroyer, three freighters, and a tanker. By 11 February, Puffer was underway again and following patrols in Luzon Straits and the South China Sea where she bombarded Pratas Island, she made an anti-shipping sweep of the Wake Island area.

Refitted at Midway she departed 20 May enroute to the South China and Java Seas to conduct her 8th war patrol. In a surface sweep of the northern Bali coast, Puffer destroyed, by gunfire, two Japanese sea trucks and six landing craft, 5 July, and inflicted extensive damage to harbor installations at Chelukan Bawang and Buleng, Bali. A brief respite at Fremantle followed, whence she headed north for her last war patrol, in the Java Sea.

Completing that patrol with the cessation of hostilities, Puffer headed for Subic Bay, thence to the United States, reaching San Francisco 15 October. With the new year, 1946, Puffer returned to Hawaii where she trained officers and men in submarine warfare until returning to San Francisco, 19 March, for inactivation. Puffer decommissioned 28 June 1946, and was berthed at Mare Island as a unit of the Pacific Reserve Fleet. At the end of the year Puffer was ordered activated and assigned to the 13th Naval District for training

Naval Reservists. Employed in that status, at Seattle, until relieved by Bowfin (SS-287) 10 June 1960, Puffer was placed out of service and sold for scrapping to the Zidell Corp., Portland, Oreg. 4 November 1960.

Puffer earned 9 battle stars for World War II service.

Published: Tue Aug 25 08:46:08 EDT 2015