Although the submarine USS Menhaden (SS-377) was still under construction in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, at the time, the story of the Menhaden actually began on October 23rd, 1944, with the Ambush at Palawan Passage, just days before the historic Battle of Leyte Gulf. The USS Darter (SS-227), under the command of Commander David H. McClintock, was on her Fourth War Patrol, along with the USS Dace (SS-247), commanded by Commander Bladen D. Claggett, which was then on her Fifth War Patrol. Together, the two Naval Academy classmates formed a two submarine "wolf pack" called "Task Group M" because it was under the command of Commander McClintock.
General Douglas MacArthur's landing at Leyte Gulf on October 20th was anticipated to force the Japanese Imperial Navy into a "showdown" for the Philippines at Leyte Gulf. Consequently, a "picket line" of submarines were stationed south of the Phillipines, on alert for enemy naval forces which might be northbound from Singapore. McClintock was directed by COMSUBSOWESPAC to conduct a dual patrol with Darter and Dace that would cover the western approach to Balabac Straight and the southern approach to Palawan Passage.
Early in the morning of October 21st, Darter's radio picked up a news broadcast of MacArthur's landing on Leyte Island. McClintock reasoned that the enemy fleet from Singapore would probably use the short-cut route to Leyte Gulf -- Balabac Straight. Accordingly, he headed Darter for Balabac, and late that evening radar contact was made on three large warships. The ships were traveling at high speed, and although she was unable to overtake them, Darter tracked them for three hours, reporting the contacts. Finally, McClintock abandoned the pursuit and headed southward for a rendezvous with Dace.
Midnight, October 22-23, the two submarines were within hailing distance of each other when Darter got a radar contact on a task force of heavy ships. They had intercepted the Japanese Imperial Second Fleet -- Vice Admiral Kurita's battleship force enroute to Leyte Gulf. The main body of the task group consisted of five battleships, including the two super-giants, Yamato and Musashi, a dozen cruisers and 15 destroyers. Because the whereabouts of this force had been unknown for a week, Darter tracked it until dawn, during which time three contact reports were sent to COMSUBSOWESPAC, who passed the information on to the U.S. Third and Seventh Fleets, giving as a final estimate a task force of eleven heavy ships in two main columns, surrounded by a screen of destroyers.
Once the ships were reported, Darter and Dace "fired the first shots in the Battle of Leyte Gulf -- the largest Naval Battle in history" when Darter attacked the first two ships in the western, or left, main column of the task force. With a salvo of six torpedoes from her bow tubes, Darter sank the heavy cruiser Atago, Admiral Kurita's flagship. Then, with four torpedoes from her stern tubes, she severely damaged the heavy cruiser Takao. Minutes later, Dace fired six torpedoes at the third ship in the eastern, or right, column and sank the heavy cruiser Maya.
After retaliatory depth charge attacks on both submarines, the enemy task force moved on to the north. Left behind was the seriously damaged heavy cruiser Takao, which began a slow journey back to Singapore. Two destroyers (Kishinami and Asashimo) escorted her, with planes from Palawan Island keeping watch from overhead. Both subs tracked her for the rest of the day. When it was dark enough, they surfaced and began an "end-around" maneuver to get ahead of the cruiser and attack her again with their remaining torpedoes. At five minutes past midnight on October 24th, Darter ran aground on Bombay Shoal in the South China Sea.
Darter immediately radioed the Dace of her predicament. Dace broke off her pursuit of the cruiser and came to the aide of the Darter. All of the efforts to free the stranded boat proved unsuccessful, so the decision was made by Commander McClintock to abandon the Darter. Everything aboard the submarine which could have been useful to the Japanese was either burned, destroyed, or thrown overboard. With a line attached between the two subs, two rubber boats were used to safely transfer the entire crew of the Darter to the Dace before dawn.
All attempts to destroy the Darter proved to be ineffective -- the demolition charges only made some noise, the torpedoes fired by Dace at her hit the reef, and shells from Dace's deck gun did very little damage. Finally, Dace radioed for help in destroying Darter, then headed for her home port. On November 5th, 1944, twelve days later, Dace arrived in Fremantle, Australia. One hundred and fifty-five submariners -- 81 from Darter, plus Dace's 74 -- were aboard the cramped submarine. Although they were short of fuel and food, the two crews were jubilant! From an extended periscope, the submarine flew the Battle Flag of "Task Group M." Both submarine crews were awarded the Navy Unit Citation for the Task Group's war patrol.
By the time the Dace reached Freemantle, the aftermath of the encounter had already impacted the remainder of World War II. After the heavy cruiser Atago sank, Admiral Kurita was fished out of the water. He then transferred his flag to the battleship Yamato. Unfortunately for him, half of his communications staff were killed when the Atago was torpedoed. Of those who survived, half of them were aboard one of the destroyers which escorted the cruiser Takao back to Singapore. That fact significantly impacted the command of his forces in the next several days, therefore ensuring the demise of the Japanese Imperial Navy.
The endorsement of Darter's Fourth War Patrol Report by Vice Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, Commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, stated: "The Fourth War Patrol of the USS Darter embraces one of the most outstanding contributions by submarines to the ultimate defeat of the Japanese Navy."
At the Board of Inquiry hearing on the loss of the Darter, it was determined that Commander McClintock had fully realized the dangers involved in the "end-around" maneuver which had brought the Darter to grief. The incident is considered a classic example of calculated risk. It was regarded by the Submarine Command as just one of the unfortunate tactical mishaps always possible in submarine warfare, and Commander McClintock was not held at fault for the loss of the Darter.
When Commander McClintock arrived in Pearl Harbor, he requested a new submarine with the Darter's crew. Rear Admiral Ralph W. Christie, COMSUBSOWESPAC, acknowledged his patrol report request to keep the crew together, but didn't back it up any further. COMSUBPAC, Vice Admiral Charles Lockwood, sent a message to the Chief of the Bureau of Personnel (BUPERS), with copies to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), recommending that the Darter's crew get a new submarine. BUPERS turned him down.
The reason given to McClintock was, "Sorry, we need to split up the talent. We're commissioning so many new submarines, your crew is being divided up. Your orders have been cut sending you to a mine depot in Florida." McClintock thought, "The hell I am!"
In December, 1944, Commander McClintock had been invited to Washington, D.C., to brief Admiral Ernest J. King, Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet, and Chief of Naval Operations, on what took place during the Leyte Gulf experience. While waiting to see Admiral King, a disappointed McClintock was telling his story to the Vice Commander-in-Chief and Vice Chief of Naval Operations, both three-star Admirals, when there was a knock on the door. Admiral King walked in. The young submarine Captain was introduced, and King said, "Great job you did at Leyte Gulf. Did you get your new submarine with the Darter crew?"
McClintock replied, "No sir. The Chief of the Bureau of Personnel turned me down, but I can understand that they have to have experienced personnel for the new submarines going into commission."
Admiral King turned to his aide and said, "Dornan, call them and reverse that." Thus, Commander McClintock and nearly all of his Darter crew got a brand new submarine, the USS Menhaden (SS-377), then under construction.
The keel of the USS Menhaden (SS-377) was laid on June 21st, 1944, at the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Menhaden was launched on December 20th, 1944, and was sponsored by Miss Mariam R. Johnson, daughter of Congresssman Noble Johnson of Indiana.
The USS Menhaden (SS-377) was commissioned on June 22nd, 1945. On June 15th, a week prior to the actual commissioning, a commissioning party was held at the English Lake Dance Hall outside Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Eighty percent of the Menhaden's first crew were the crew members of the abandoned USS Darter. The other twenty percent of the crew were "non-qualified newbies" right out of Submarine School. Invitations were made up for this special occasion. Ray Young, a commercial artist employed by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company, created the emblems for 14 submarines built at that facility. Menhadens' emblem was done in the form of a fish wearing an Indian war bonnet with a torpedo-shaped tomahawk. The invitations displayed the new submarine's insignia on the cover that read:
Heap Big Chief -- Commander David H. McClintock
Chief Pathfinder -- Lieutenant Eugene P. Wilkinson
Chief Warhead -- Lieutenant Ira M. King
Chief Horse Power -- Lieutenant Walter W. Price, Jr.
Chief Pressure Proof -- Lieutenant (jg) Edmund J. Skorupski
Chief Smoke Signal -- Lieutenant (jg) Donald M. Miller
Chief Pony Power -- Lieutenant (jg) William M. Webb
Chief Red Points -- Lieutenant (jg) Joseph M. Pruzinski
Shelby Turner, CGM, Chief Of The Boat
Thomas R. James, CMoMM
Alexander W. Gietek, CCS
Thomas W. Grenkowitz, CPhM
J. F. McMahon, CMoMM
Eugene C. McQuary, CY
Frank T. Ruma, CTM
Merle H. Schooley, CRM
William Stokes, CEM
Winefred G. Strother, CEM
Lyle G. Voss, CMoMM
Werner H. Alchenberger, Jr., MoMM2         George E. Allen, MoMM2               Joseph S. Alves, MoMM3
Gene H. Andrews, TM2                                   Floyd E. Angus, SC1                         Steven J. Annelli, MoMM3
Clyde L. Applegate, EM3                                Arnold W. Banzhaf, TM2                 Harry R. Barker, RT1
Walter Bialas, MoMM1                                  Francis P. Boisjolie, EM2                Herb F. E. Brunkhorst, EM3
Elwood B. Cable, MoMM2                              F. J. Clark, MoMM2                       James W. Clepper, GM2
Wendell B. Cook, EM1                                    E. D. Cramer, TM3                          Charles E. Davis, MoMM1
E. C. Engle, MoMM3                                      Gordon W. Esterley, EM3                R. Finkler, RT2
Joseph B. Ford, TM1                                       Robert B. Gallic, QM1                      L. B. Hoedley, FCS2
Harold K. Houser, SM1                                   C. E. Huggins, Y2                              Roy H. Ingermarsen, RM2
William Jandris, TM1                                       J. A. Karwoski, EM3                        Emanuel J. Lauria, EM1
R. F. Marshall, QM2                                        C. S. Martin, EM3                            Russell W. Martin, RM3
William J. Powers, RM1                                   Eldridge C. Rhue, Jr., GM2             Jesse M. Robinson, CS1
Frank J. Shine, TM1                                         Jack K. Shortle, EM2                       Hugh N. Siegel, RT1
Joseph F. Staub, Jr., MoMM2                         R. E. Stewart, SM3                           Frank A. Torres, MoMM2
Joseph L. Uken, EM1                                       Andrew M. Werner, MoMM3         Grady Whiteley, MoMM1
Andrew R. Williams, MoMM1                         Warren O. Youngblood, TM3
Walter J. Anderson, S1/c                                  Dallas E. Banta, S2/c                          P. L. Blair, F1/c
John Bodrog, F1/c                                             Early Buckley, F1/c                             Basil J. Chenevert, F1/c
R. H. Crossman, S1/c                                        G. L. DeGrenier, S1/c                         F. W. Farrington, S2/c
Donald D. Ferguson, S1/c                                 A. G. Grigutis, Sr., S1/c                      Frank E. Holliman, StM2/c
Christen L. Holmes, S1/c                                  Harry F. Klajbor, S1/c                         Elmer H. Koenig, S1/c
Joseph A. Lingo, F1/c                                        T. H. McCartney, F1/c                       C. V. McCullough, StM3/c
W. T. Powell, F1/c                                              C. VanMechelen, S1/c                        F. C. Young, StM2/c
The USS Menhaden Tribe invites you bucks and squaws to attend her Commissioning Pow-Wow on the night of the Quarter Moon, June 15th, 1945, at their "English Lake Reservation" on Pale Face Trail 42 near Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Track red arrows to Reservation.
                                                7:30 P.M.   Scalps Counted.
                                                8:00 P.M.   Firewater and War Dance -- Ugh!
                                                9:00 P.M.   Snap'um Box -- Put'um face on paper.
                                                9:30 P.M.   More Firewater -- Ugh! Ugh!
                                              10:00 P.M.   Tribal War Dance Contest -- All squaws and bucks.
                                              10:30 P.M.   More Dancing -- Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!
                                              11:00 P.M.   Cut'um Cake -- Feed'um face.
                                              12:30 A.M.   Smoke'um Peacepipe -- Ugh!
                                                1:00 A.M.   Finish firewater, go home to teepee -- Wahoo!
After each submarine was placed in commission, and further sea trials were conducted on Lake Michigan, they had to be taken down the Mississippi River by floating drydock because their 311-foot lengths prevented an exodus out the customary St. Lawrence route via the confined locks at Welland Canal. The New York State Barge Canal was too shallow to float a submarine.
Menhaden departed Manitowoc for Lockport, Illinois, on July 15th, 1945. Upon arrival at Lockport the next day, she was placed on a floating drydock, then pushed down the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans by the steamer Minnesota. Upon arrival in New Orleans on July 23rd, she was taken out of the floating drydock and the periscopes and periscope shears were reinstalled. She then moved under her own power to the Naval Station in Algiers, Louisiana, across the river from New Orleans, where torpedoes and ammunition were loaded aboard.
On July 27th, Menhaden got underway for Balboa, Canal Zone. Upon arrival, she underwent an intensive training period prior to shoving off for war patrols in the Pacific. While conducting torpedo training exercises, Menhaden was notified that the war had ended. She was then ordered to San Diego. But, 20 miles from the entrance to San Diego Harbor, Commander McClintock received orders to go directly to Pearl Harbor. Menhaden arrived on September 19th, and was assigned duty with Interim Submarine Squadron One, consisting of five boats.
On November 24th, 1945, in Pearl Harbor, Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander-In-Chief, United States Pacific Fleet, was being relieved by Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, who had been Commander of the United States Fifth Fleet. Admiral Nimitz was then being assigned to Washington, D.C., as Chief of Naval Operations, relieving Admiral Ernest J. King.
Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, a former submariner in his early Naval career, chose to relinquish command of the Pacific Fleet aboard the USS Menhaden specifically because she was manned by the USS Darter's crew. In post-war writings and speeches, he stated that he "considered the Darter's fourth war patrol the most outstanding submarine patrol of World War II from the standpoint of intelligence provided."
On January 2nd, 1946, Menhaden got underway, bound for San Francisco, and arrived on January 8th. At the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, she was decommissioned on May 31st, then placed in the Pacific Fleet Reserve.
Menhaden was recommissioned on August 7th, 1951, under the command of Lieutenant Commander R. G. Johns. She was assigned to Submarine Squadron 5 in San Diego, and participated in local operations until August 13th, 1952, when she was again placed out of commission at Mare Island.
Beginning in the Fall of 1952, while Menhaden was decommissioned at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, she underwent a Guppy IIA conversion. "Guppy" stands for "Greater Underwater Propulsion Power." Modifications included: removing #2 main engine from the Forward Engine Room, thereby making room for a larger capacity hydraulic system; installing a snorkel system; removing the deck guns; and, streamlining the superstructure and sail. The conversion and the subsequent sea trials had been completed by the Spring of 1953.
On March 6th, 1953, Menhaden once again broke the five-star flag of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. The occasion was the ceremony that put her back into commissioned service. Her old friend, Admiral Nimitz, gave the recommissioning address. Lieutenant Commander William R. Werner became Menhaden's newest Commanding Officer. She joined Submarine Squadron 3 in San Diego on June 12th.
On September 21st, 1953, Menhaden left for Yokosuka, Japan, where she was attached to Commander Submarine Group Western Pacific. During this period, her operations led to the award of the United Nations Medal and the Korean Service Medal to her officers and crew. On February 12th, 1954, Menhaden departed Japan for her return trip to San Diego, stopping at Okinawa, Hong Kong and Pearl Harbor along the way. She arrived in San Diego on March 23rd, 1954.
Lieutenant Commander W. P. Ramay took command of the Menhaden on May 21st, 1954. For the remainder of 1954, she participated in fleet readiness exercises and type training assignments in the San Diego area. Menhaden underwent shipyard overhaul at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard from January through May, 1955, followed by refresher training in San Diego.
Menhaden departed San Diego on August 18th, 1955, enroute to Japan for her second Far Eastern cruise. During her stay in the Western Pacific, her operations led to the China Service Medal for services to Chinese Nationalist naval vessels in Formosa. Menhaden arrived back in San Diego on February 17th, 1956. For three months, from May 8th to August 18th, Lieutenant J. G. Gordon was Menhaden's Commanding Officer.
On August 18th, 1956, Lieutenant Commander Donald M. Miller took over as the Commanding Officer of the Menhaden. It is interesting to note that he had climbed a long way up the chain-of-command in 12 years. Prior to the USS Darter's third war patrol in June of 1944, Ensign D. M. Miller had reported aboard the Darter as the Commissary and Assistant Gunnery Officer. By the fourth war patrol, Miller had been promoted to Lieutenant (jg). When the Menhaden was commissioned on June 22nd, 1945, Lieutenant (jg) Donald M. Miller was the Communications Officer.
On March 15th, 1957, Menhaden entered the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, in San Francisco, California, for overhaul. She completed her overhaul on July 22nd, 1957, and returned to San Diego for refresher training.
On September 24th, 1957, Menhaden departed San Diego for her third Far Eastern cruise. While on the six month deployment in the Far East, she visited Japan, Hong Kong, the Phillipines, Australia and Hawaii. The port of call in Australia was Newcastle, and because Menhaden was the first American ship to stop there since World War II, her crew received a "warm welcome"! On her return from Australia to Hawaii, Menhaden crossed the Equator at the International Date Line while "submerged, snorkeling and backing down." Members of the crew who participated in that "first ever" feat claim the title of "Golden Shellback Snorkelers." At the same time, a ceremony was performed, and Menhaden returned to San Diego on March 26th, 1958, with a "fully qualified" crew aboard.
On July 4th, Independence Day, she participated in the First Fleet Review held in San Francisco Bay. On this occasion, Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz once again chose the Menhaden as his Flagship.
On September 27th, 1958, Lieutenant Commander I. J. Viney became Menhaden's Commanding Officer. During the Fall and Winter of 1958-1959, she participated in submarine and intertype training exercises in the San Diego area, and in February, a Fleet Exercise, Operation Skynet. During this period, she had also been active in providing training services to various West Coast units of the Navy's Submarine Reserve Units.
A two month cruise to the Puget Sound area highlighted the summer of 1959. Services were provided to COMFAIRWHIDBY, the Royal Canadian Navy, and commands of the 13th Naval District. Menhaden also participated in the Fleet Review for the 1959 Seattle Sea Fair.
In October, 1959, Menhaden entered Mare Island Naval Shipyard for regular overhaul. Coming out of the yard in February, 1960, she returned to San Diego for refresher training prior to her scheduled deployment for her fourth Western Pacific cruise. After a visit in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Menhaden proceeded to Yokosuka, Japan, where on June 18th, 1960, Lieutenant Commander Boone C. Taylor became her next Commanding Officer. After further visits to Okinawa and Hong Kong, she returned to San Diego in November, 1960, just in time for the holidays.
After her return, Menhaden conducted operations in the San Diego area providing services to Sonar School, CRUDESPAC, AIRPAC, type training and participated in a Fleet Exercise, Operation Green Light. In early October, 1961, she participated in another Fleet Exercise, Sea Shell, and then proceeded to the Puget Sound area where she provided services to COMFAIRWHIDBY, the Royal Canadian Navy and various commands of the 13th Naval District during October and November. The highlight of her visit to the Puget Sound area was a five day visit to Vancouver, B.C., before returning to San Diego in early December. Due to a ground in #4 generator, she had to make a trip to Hunters Point Naval Shipyard to replace it, then returned to San Diego for the holidays.
As an historical commentary, Captain David H. McClintock, Menhaden's first Commanding Officer, was the Commander of Submarine Flotilla One in San Diego from December, 1961, until January, 1963, the same Flotilla to which the Menhaden was attached at the time. Meanwhile, Captain Bladen D. Claggett was Deputy Director for Intelligence with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C.
Beginning in January of 1962, Menhaden conducted operations in the San Diego area providing services to CRUDESPAC, AIRPAC, and conducting type training. In March, 1962, she participated in a Fleet Exercise, Operation Pot Shot. In the late spring of 1962, Menhaden proceeded to Pearl Harbor to load supplies, then spent the next two months on a classified mission in the North Pacific.
On August 14th, 1962, in San Diego, Lieutenant Commander James P. Crowder, Jr., became the next Commanding Officer of the Menhaden. In October, 1962, she went into Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco for a complete overhaul, plus installation of a new fiberglass sail and superstructure. On October 22nd, the day of the "Cuban Missile Crisis," all work was completely stopped on the boat. If the Russians had not backed down and agreed to remove their missiles from Cuba, we would have loaded everything back aboard the Menhaden, then gone back to sea -- with only half of the old superstucture and main deck still intact!
Upon completion of her overhaul in April, 1963, Menhaden visited Vancouver, B.C., and Bangor, Washington, during her shakedown cruise. After a brief stop in San Francisco in late April, she returned to her homeport, San Diego, and resumed local operations with FMFPAC, AIRPAC, CRUDESPAC, PHIBPAC, and other SUBPAC units. The Fourth of July was highlighted by a visit to Santa Barbara, California. After the Santa Barbara visit, Menhaden commenced preparations for her fifth Far East deployment.
Menhaden departed San Diego on August 15th, and visited Pearl Harbor; Yokosuka, Japan; Subic Bay, P.I.; and Hong Kong. She returned to San Diego on February 15th, 1964. After a brief period of leave and upkeep, she resumed local operations as a unit of Submarine Flotilla One. Another Change of Command ceremony took place on April 28th, 1964, when Lieutenant Commander Dale C. Johnson became Menhaden's next Commanding Officer.
In late June, Menhaden returned to Hunters Point Naval Shipyard for an interim drydocking. Enroute, she stopped over in Monterey, California, to provide short indoctrination cruises to students at the U.S. Navy Postgraduate School. After seven weeks in San Francisco, she resumed her local operations in San Diego and participated in a variety of exercises, including the First Fleet Exercise, Operation Union Square. Menhaden closed out 1964 by spending the Christmas Holidays at home for the first time since 1961.
In January of 1965, Menhaden returned to the Far East. During the deployment, she made a thirty-day submerged patrol in the Gulf of Tonkin on lifeguard duty to pick up downed pilots if necessary. She earned the Vietnam Service Medal for that patrol. Among the ports of call she made on the cruise were Pearl Harbor; Yokosuka, Japan; Subic Bay, P.I.; Bangkok, Thailand; and Hong Kong. She returned to San Diego in July of 1965.
On June 27th, 1966, Lieutenant Commander J. B. "Brad" Mooney took over as the Commanding Officer of the Menhaden. In late August, she deployed to the Western Pacific. Ports of call included Pearl Harbor; Okinawa; Hong Kong; Chinhae, South Korea; Hualien and Kaohsiung, Taiwan; and Yokosuka, Japan. On March 27th, 1967, she returned to San Diego and participated in local operations for the remainder of the year.
On February 9th, 1968, Menhaden departed San Diego for the Western Pacific. Ports of call included Pearl Harbor; Buckner Bay, Okinawa; Hong Kong; and the Japanese ports of Iwakuni, Sasebo and Yokosuka. On June 7th, in Yokosuka, a Change of Command ceremony took place and Commander Peter M. Wells became Menhaden's next Commanding Officer. She returned to San Diego on September 20th, where she spent the rest of the year.
On January 2nd, 1969, Menhaden got underway for Mare Island Naval Shipyard. Upon arrival, she underwent a complete overhaul for the next five months. After the overhaul and sea trials, she stopped in Coos Bay, Oregon, prior to proceeding to Seattle and Dabob Bay, Washington, for weapons alignment testing. She returned to her homeport of San Diego in July.
On October 9th, 1969, Menhaden departed San Diego for the Western Pacific. Ports of call included: Pearl Harbor; Yokosuka, Japan; Chinhea and Pusan, Korea; Keelung, Taiwan; Hong Kong; Buckner Bay, Okinawa; and Subic Bay, Philippines. Menhaden's last Commanding Officer was Commander S. L. "Les" Guille. He became the CO on January 2nd, 1970, in a Change of Command ceremony at the U.S. Naval Station, Subic Bay, Philippines. Beginning the next day, Menhaden participated in classified operations in the Western Pacific before returning to San Diego, via Pearl Harbor, in May of 1970.
Menhaden operated out of San Diego until August 31st, 1970, when she departed on her last extended cruise to the South Pacific. During the 76-day cruise, she visited Pearl Harbor, crossed the Equator on September 16th, stopped in Pago Pago, Samoa, then on to Auckland, New Zealand. In mid-October, she participated in the "Longex 70" exercises with naval vessels from Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia. Menhaden was voted "Playmate of the Year" by the other participants in the exercises! After brief visits in Tauranga, New Zealand, and Papeete, Tahiti, she returned to San Diego on November 15th.
In 1971, Menhaden, despite her crew knowing that she would soon be deactivated and were preparing her for the inevitable, continued to participate in various Fleet training exercises in the Southern California operating area.
On August 13th, 1971, Menhaden was decommissioned for the final time at the Ballast Point Naval Submarine Base, San Diego, California. But, that is not the end of her story!
From March 26th, 1975, until December, 1976, Menhaden underwent extensive "suspended submarine system" modifications at the Naval Ocean Systems Center in San Diego. The modifications were designed and developed by the Naval Underwater Systems Center in Newport, Rhode Island.
In December of 1976, Menhaden was towed from California to the state of Washington to begin a new career as the "Yellow Submarine." The boat, stripped of her engines and painted yellow, was operated by the Naval Undersea Warfare Engineering Station in Keyport, Washington. Menhaden, affectionately referred to as "The Hulk," served as a remotely controlled, unmanned acoustic test vehicle capable of submerging to moderate depths in support of undersea weapons testing, and as a target ship to train Trident submarine crews off the coast of Washington.
In the early 1980's, Menhaden holds the distinction of being "the first submarine to ever get tied up inside of the Explosive Handling Wharf at the Bangor Naval Submarine Base." She was used to "test out" the system for putting a submarine into the Explosive Handling Wharf.
Menhaden was finally sold for scrap and cut up in Everett, Washington, in 1988. She did not go easily, though! Rather than accept her ultimate demise passively, she thwarted the efforts of Carl Marrs, the Bremerton salvage contractor, and submerged alongside the pier before he could finish the job! But, that is another story!
Rather than trying to include a "Eulogy" for the Menhaden, which would be nearly impossible to write, perhaps it will be best to just include a fitting "Final Tribute" to her. It was written for the Cruise Book of her last extended cruise to the South Pacific in 1970. Please read the "Preface" from that book.
Although the USS Menhaden (SS-377) is no longer with us physically, it is my sincere desire that her "Legend" will continue to live on in these pages. And, of course, in the memories of all of the men who were fortunate enough to have served aboard her.
Proud Member of the United States Submarine Veterans
This Web Site was created by Dave "Grog" Carpenter, former IC2(SS), who proudly served as a crew member of the USS Menhaden (SS-377) from December, 1961, to August, 1963.
The USS Thresher, with 129 men aboard, flooded and sank while on sea trials on April 10th, 1963
My Tribute Page To Jim
APRIL 11th, 1900 - APRIL 11th, 2000
In Honor of the Occasion, the U.S. Postal Service issued the Submarine Centennial Commemorative Stamps.
The Ground-breaking Ceremony for the McClintock/Claggett/Darter/Dace Memorial at the Marquette Maritime Museum in Marquette, Michigan, the hometown of Captain David H. McClintock, was held on May 29th, 1999. The community had joined to commemorate the achievements of Captains D. H. McClintock and B. D. "Clagg" Claggett and the Officers and Crews of the Darter and Dace and all WW II Submariners by an outdoor exhibit and a Maritime Museum Annex. A replica of Darter and Dace's conning tower (outdoors) and a U.S. Navy periscope (Annex) will overlook Lake Superior and Marquette's harbor.
On the evening of May 26th, 2000, a Dedication Dinner was held in the Great Lakes Room at Northern Michigan University in Marquette. Master of Ceremonies was Ann Spear, Secretary of the McClintock Recognition Committee. The Dinner was attended by more than 300 people.
The Dedication Ceremony for the Submariner Memorial took place on May 27th, 2000, in the Lower Harbor Matson Park, Marquette. Frank C. Donckers, III, of the McClintock Recognition Committee, was the Master of Ceremonies. Featured Speaker was Rear Admiral Albert H. Konetzni, Jr., Commander, Submarine Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC). Honored Guests again were Captain David H. McClintock of Marquette and Captain Bladen D. Claggett from Bethesda, Maryland.
The Dedication of the Maritime Museum Annex took place on Saturday, September 15th, 2001. In the year and a half since the Dedication of the Submariner Memorial, there had been much progress: two 20mm guns had been mounted atop the Memorial; a Mark XIV torpedo from the Silversides Museum in Muskegon had been installed in front of it; and, a "Lost U.S. Submarines of World War II" Plaque was created and placed beside the Memorial.
Because of the tragic terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon four days earlier, and the subsequent shutdown of domestic airline flights, many people were unable to get to Marquette for the Annex Dedication. Among the more than 300 people who were able to attend, though, was Nori Yoshida, a survivor of the IJN Maya, the Japanese heavy cruiser torpedoed and sunk by the submarine USS Dace on October 23rd, 1944. He received a warm welcome, particularly from former Darter and Dace crew members who were present.
The Dedication of the Marquette Maritime Museum Annex Exhibits took place on Saturday, July 12th, 2003. Featured Speaker was Dr. Gordon Van Wylen, a World War II Submarine Veteran, who made six war patrols as an Officer on the USS Hardhead (SS-365). He is also an ex-President of Hope College in Holland, Michigan.
Tax deductible donations for the Memorial can be mailed to: Marquette Maritime Museum, McClintock Exhibit, P.O. Box 1096, Marquette, MI 49855 Donations of $150.00 or more are eligible to receive one of the full color prints from the series, "The Battle For Leyte Gulf," signed by Captains McClintock and Claggett.
High quality VHS videotapes of the Ground-breaking, Memorial Dedication, Annex Dedication and Annex Exhibits Ceremonies are now available. For each copy you wish to obtain, please send a tax deductible contribution of $15.00 (which includes shipping), payable to: Marquette Maritime Museum, McClintock Exhibit to: Al Raymond, 500 Silver Creek Road, Marquette, MI 49855 When ordering, please specify which videotape(s) you are ordering.
On Friday, January 11th, 2002, Captain David H. McClintock passed away in Marquette, Michigan.
At Captain David H. McClintock's funeral on Tuesday, January 15th, 2002, a videotape was shown of some photos taken during his lifetime. The photos can be seen here: Page One and Page Two.
Although I didn't know the Menhaden's history when I served aboard her, a fortunate sequence of events occurred in 1997 (please click on the "Credits" button below) which allowed me to contact Captain David H. McClintock and hear the story of the Darter, Dace and Menhaden firsthand. Shortly thereafter, I created this Web Site.
Periodically, his son, David McClintock, Jr., would visit his Dad and show him this Web Site on his laptop computer. If Captain McClintock noticed any errors, he would call me on the phone, point out my mistakes, and make sure that I corrected them! To be honest, I miss his phone calls.
The 1996 Reunion of the USS Darter, Dace and Menhaden crew members was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The 1997 Reunion of the USS Darter, Dace and Menhaden crew members was held at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 5-10, 1997. It was the largest one ever -- with over 100 people attending! -- including Captain David H. McClintock. Captain Bladen D. Claggett wasn't able to attend the Reunion, but he did send a letter expressing his regrets for missing it.
 The 1998 Reunion of the USS Darter, Dace and Menhaden crew members was held September 1-6, 1998, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The 1999 Reunion of the USS Darter, Dace and Menhaden crew members was held in conjunction with the Submarine Veterans of World War II Convention in Fort Worth, Texas, August 31st to September 4th, 1999.
A USS Menhaden Reunion was held at the United States Submarine Veterans Convention at the Peppermill Hotel in Reno, Nevada, on September 24th, 1999.
A 2000 Reunion of the USS Darter, Dace and Menhaden crew members was held in Marquette, Michigan, on May 27th, 2000, in conjunction with the Dedication of the McClintock/Claggett/Darter/Dace Memorial. About 120 people, crew members and their families, attended the Reunion at the Steer and Stein Restaurant in Marquette.
Another USS Darter, Dace and Menhaden Reunion was held during the U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II Convention in Phoenix, Arizona, August 28th to September 2nd, 2000.
The 2004 Reunion of the USS Menhaden took place during the 28-Boat Reunion at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, October 5-10, 2004.
The 2006 Reunion of the USS Menhaden took place in Little Rock, Arkansas, September 4-10, 2006.
The 2008 Reunion of the USS Menhaden took place during the 28-Boat Reunion at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, May 1-4, 2008.
The 2009 Reunion of the USS Darter, Dace and Menhaden took place in San Diego during the United States Submarine Veterans, United States Submarine Veterans of World War II, and the International Submarine Veterans Convention, from September 7th through September 12th, 2009.
Please contact the Reunion Coordinator, John G. Mansfield, Jr., former RM2(SS), Menhaden, 1963 to 1965, for further information about upcoming Reunions. And, also to have your name and address added to the mailing list for the "Scuttlebutt," the newsletter for all former USS Darter, Dace and Menhaden crew members. John is the Editor and Publisher of the newsletter. Write to him at: John G. Mansfield, Jr., 56407 383rd Ave., Ct. E., Ashford, WA 98304-9745. E-mail him at: (Work) or at: (Home) By phone, call John at: (253) 202-6433 (Cell)  or at: (360) 569-0507 (Home)  Or, send a FAX to: (866) 765-5893
Credits and Recognition
Crew List
Crew Photos
"No Sh*tters"
Diesel Boat Humor
USS Hogfish (SST-3)
Awards Received
Links To Other Web Sites
Grog's Bio Page
Grog, Da Neanderthal 'Pooter Geek!
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Better yet, please give me a phone call at: (928) 779-3210 in Flagstaff, Arizona. I can talk somewhat faster than I can type with my two index fingers -- but not by much!
By the way, if you write, it may take me awhile to reply! . . . If I reply at all! . . . I just might have thrown a rock at this %&*$^@# frustrating computer and gone back to playing my Nintendo "Silent Service" video game! . . . Sheesh! . . . At least I am able to understand it!  *_*
At the present time, I have not Copyrighted this Web Site. If anyone would like to use the information and/or images on this Site, I don't mind. As a courtesy, though, if your use of my Site is extensive, I would appreciate an acknowledgement of my work on your Web Site.
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