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Stingray II (SS-186)

(SS-186: dp. 1,449 (surf.), 2,198 (subm.); l. 308'; b. 26'1"; dr. 14'2"; s. 21 k. (surf.), 9 k. (subm.); cpl. 55; a. 1'3', 8 21" tt.; cl. Salmon)

A large ray with a whiplike tail and sharp spines capable of inflicting severe wounds.


The second Stingray (SS-186) was laid down by the Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard on 1 October 1936; launched on 6 October 1937; sponsored by Mrs. Ridley McLean, widow of Rear Admiral McLean, who had had a distinguished career in the submarine service; and commissioned on 15 March 1938, Lt. L. N. Blair in command.

Following shakedown off New England and in the Caribbean, Stingray entered Portsmouth Navy Yard for alterations and upon completion on 14 January 1939, departed for a cruise in Caribbean waters. After briefly stopping at New London, Conn., on 20 April, the submarine transited the Panama Canal and arrived at San Diego, Calif., on 11 May for a rigorous schedule of training and maneuvers as a unit of Submarine Squadron 6. She put to sea on 1 April 1940 for fleet exercises in the Hawaiian area, followed by overhaul at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, Calif. Upon completion, Stingray returned to the Hawaiian area, where she remained until joining the Asiatic Fleet at Cavite, Philippine Islands on 23 October 1941.

Stingray was at Manila on 7 December when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and immediately put to sea on her first war patrol. Patrolling in Lingayen Gulf, the submarine witnessed the Japanese invasion of Lingayen, but due to material deficiencies in the submarine, she was unable to attack. She terminated her first war patrol at Manila on 24 December.

Following repairs, Stringray got underway on her second war patrol on 30 December. While in Sama Bay on 10 January 1942, she torpedoed and sank her initial victim of the war, the transport Harbin Maru. The submarine then patrolled in Davao Gulf through 8 February without any contacts and put into Surabaja, Java, on 12 February. As the Japanese closed upon that Dutch base, she quickly got underway for Fremantle, Western Australia, arriving on 3 March.

Stingray departed Fremantle on 16 March for her third war patrol, conducted in the Celebes and Java seas. The only worthwhile target encountered during this patrol was a Japanese destroyer cruising just off Makassar City, Celebes. Although the submarine fired three torpedoes at the enemy, all were misses. Stingray returned to Fremantle on 2 May.

For her fourth war patrol, Stingray got underway on 27 May and headed for Davao Gulf, and then on to Guam. On the afternoon of 28 June, the submarine sighted two ships with escort, and quickly began to close the range. She fired four torpedoes at the first ship, and the resultant explosion quickly sank the converted gunboat Saikyo Maru. The submarine continued patrol in the vicinity of Guam until 15 July, when she returned to Pearl Harbor for overhaul.

Although Stingray's fifth war patrol, in the vicinity of the Solomon Islands, and sixth war patrol, conducted in the Marshall Islands, were unproductive, during the seventh, the submarine torpedoed and sank the cargo ship Tamon Maru.

For her eighth war patrol, Stingray got underway from Pearl Harbor on 12 June 1943, and set course for the Caroline Islands. Her only contact during this patrol was a high-speed northbound convoy that she was unable to close on. The submarine returned to Brisbane, Australia, from a disappointing patrol on 31 July.

On 23 August, Stingray departed Brisbane for her ninth war patrol, conducted en route to Pearl Harbor. After being slightly damaged by four bombs mistakenly dropped by a friendly plane, the submarine was forced to surface and repair the damage. She then patrolled in the Admiralty Islands without making a single contact and terminated her ninth patrol at Pearl Harbor on 10 October, continuing on to Mare Island Navy Yard for shipyard overhaul.

Following return to Pearl Harbor, Stingray got underway on 10 March 1944 for her tenth war patrol, conducted in the Mariana Islands. On 30 March, she slipped past three escorts to gain attack position on two cargo ships, and fired four torpedoes at the lead ship. One torpedo hit amidships and stopped the enemy dead in the water. Stingray then fired four more torpedoes at the damaged cargo ship that quickly sent Ikushima Maru to the bottom.

On the afternoon of 8 April, while patrolling north of the Marianas, Stingray bounced off a large submerged object at a depth of 52 feet, lifting the submarine three or four feet. Inasmuch as the submarine was in the middle of the ocean, with her charts showing over 2,000 fathoms of water, the first thoughts of the commanding officer concerned what new type of antisubmarine measure the enemy was using. Stingray then took precautionary soundings and found no bottom at 2,000 fathoms. Unable to determine what she had collided with, the submarine continued patrol.

During the early morning darkness of 13 April, Stingray's lookouts sighted the approach of a broaching torpedo. She made a sharp turn to port as the torpedo passed 100 feet ahead. Two seconds later, a second torpedo just missed as it ran down her starboard side. She searched the area for her attacker without success, and returned to Pearl Harbor on 22 April.

Stingray spent her eleventh war patrol on lifeguard station for air strikes on Guam. On 11 June, the submarine rescued a downed Navy aviator and the following day pulled two more airmen from the water. On 13 June, Stingray received word that a Navy airman was down approximately 500 yards offshore. With shells exploding on either side of the submarine, she made four submerged approaches until the pilot finally grabbed one of the submarine's periscopes and was towed safely clear of the island and taken on board.

On 18 June, Stingray experienced a fire in her superstructure near the conning tower hatch. After extinguishing the fire several times only to have it flare up again, the trouble was finally located; and the submarine continued patrol. She returned to Majuro Atoll in the Marshall Islands on 10 July.

For her twelfth war patrol, Stingray was occupied in a special mission, landing fifteen Filipino officers and men and six tons of supplies on the northeastern coast of Luzon. On the way back to Port Darwin, Australia, on 18 August, she picked up four Japanese sailors from a cruiser sunk earlier in the day by the submarine Hardhead (SS-365). Stingray reached Port Darwin on 7 September.

Stingray was underway again three days later for her thirteenth war patrol, spent on a special mission to look over possible landing beaches at Marjoe Island. She returned to Port Darwin on 19 September.

Stingray carried out two special missions in the Philippine Islands during her fourteenth and fifteenth war patrols; and, on 11 January 1945, she put to sea on her sixteenth and final war patrol. Four special missions in the Celebes area were carried out during this patrol. Landing parties were put ashore on Nipanipa Peninsula, Celebes; Kagean Island; Pare Pare Bay, Celebes; and another at Nipanipa Peninsula. She returned to Fremantle, Western Australia, on 23 February and then headed back to the United States, arriving at New London, Conn., on 29 April. She operated there until decommissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 17 October 1945. She was stricken from the Navy list on 3 July 1946 and sold for scrap the following year.

Stingray (SS-186) received twelve battle stars for World War II service.

Published: Thu Sep 24 18:37:25 EDT 2015