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Sealion I (SSN-669)

(SS-195: dp. 1,450 (surf.), 2,340 (subm.) ; l. 310'6"; b. 27'1"; dr. 13'8" (mean) ; s. 20 k. (surf.), 8.75 k. (subm.); cpl. 55; a. 1 3", 8 21" tt; cl. Sargo)

Named for the sea lion, any of several large, eared seals native to the Pacific.


The first Sealion (SS-195) was laid down on 20 June 1938 by the Electric Boat Co., Groton, Conn.; launched on 25 May 1939; sponsored by Mrs. Claude C. Bloch; and commissioned on 27 November 1939, Lt. J.K. Morrison, Jr., in command.

Following shakedown, Sealion, assigned to Submarine Division (SubDiv) 17, prepared for overseas deployment. In the spring of 1940, she sailed, with her division, for the Philippines, arriving at Cavite in the fall to commence operations as a unit of the Asiatic Fleet. Into October of 1941, she ranged from Luzon into the Sulu Archipelago; then, with another submarine of her division, now SubDiv 202, she prepared for a regular overhaul at the Cavite Navy Yard. By 8 December (7 December east of the International Date Line), her yard period had begun; and, two days later, she took two direct hits in the Japanese air raid which demolished the navy yard.

The first bomb struck the after end of her conning tower and exploded outside the hull, over the control room. The second smashed through a main ballast tank and the pressure hull to explode in the after engine room, killing the four men then working there.

Sealion flooded immediately and settled down by the stern with 40% of her main deck underwater and a 15° list to starboard. The destruction of the navy yard made repairs impossible, and she was ordered destroyed. All salvageable equipment was taken off; depth charges were placed inside; and, on 25 December, the explosives were set off to prevent her from being made useful to the enemy.

Published: Tue Sep 08 09:46:59 EDT 2015