USS Stickleback

Coordinates: 21°27′36″N 157°58′48″W / 21.46000°N 157.98000°W / 21.46000; -157.98000
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USS Stickleback (SS-415), after GUPPY conversion
USS Stickleback (SS-415), after GUPPY conversion
United States
NameUSS Stickleback
BuilderMare Island Naval Shipyard[1]
Laid down1 March 1944[1]
Launched1 January 1945[1]
Commissioned29 March 1945[1]
Decommissioned26 June 1946[1]
Recommissioned6 September 1951[1]
Decommissioned14 November 1952[1]
Recommissioned26 June 1953[1]
FateSunk in collision with USS Silverstein off Oahu 29 May 1958[2]
General characteristics (World War II)
Class and typeBalao-class diesel-electric submarine[2]
  • 1,526 tons (1550 t) surfaced[2]
  • 2,424 tons (2460 t) submerged[2]
Length311 ft 10 in (95.05 m)[2]
Beam27 ft 4 in (8.33 m) [2]
Draft16 ft 10 in (5.13 m) maximum[2]
  • 20.25 knots (37.50 km/h) surfaced[3]
  • 8.75 knots (16.21 km/h) submerged[3]
Range11,000 nautical miles (20,000 km) surfaced at 10 knots (19 km/h)[3]
  • 48 hours at 2 knots (3.7 km/h) submerged[3]
  • 75 days on patrol
Test depth400 ft (120 m)[3]
Complement10 officers, 70–71 enlisted[3]
General characteristics (Guppy IIA)
Class and typenone
  • 1,848 tons (1,878 t) surfaced[6]
  • 2,440 tons (2,479 t) submerged[6]
Length307 ft (94 m) [7]
Beam27 ft 4 in (8.33 m) [7]
Draft17 ft (5.2 m) [7]
  • Snorkel added[6]
  • One diesel engine and generator removed[6]
  • Batteries upgraded to Sargo II[6]
  • Surfaced:
  • 17.0 knots (31.5 km/h) maximum
  • 13.5 knots (25.0 km/h) cruising
  • Submerged:
  • 14.1 knots (26.1 km/h) for ½ hour
  • 8.0 knots (14.8 km/h) snorkeling
  • 3.0 knots (5.6 km/h) cruising[6]

USS Stickleback (SS-415), a Balao-class submarine, was named for the stickleback, a small scaleless fish.

Construction and launch[edit]

Her keel was laid down on 1 March 1944 by the Mare Island Navy Yard of Vallejo, California. She was launched on 1 January 1945 sponsored by Mrs. John O.R. Coll, and commissioned on 29 March 1945.

World War II[edit]

Stickleback completed outfitting on 26 May and held her shakedown cruise off the California coast. She reported to Commander, Submarines, Pacific Fleet, for duty on 21 June. More modern equipment was installed at Pearl Harbor; and, on 2 August, she arrived at Guam, where she held sea trials for a few more days. She began her first war patrol on 6 August when she departed for the Sea of Japan. She arrived there the following week and began patrolling. However, the atomic bombs had been dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and it was believed the war would end shortly.

Stickleback had only been in the patrol area for two days when the cease-fire order was passed. She remained in the area and, on 21 August, sighted two bamboo rafts containing 19 survivors of a freighter[8] which had been sunk ten days before by Jallao (SS-368). They were taken on board for 18 hours, given food, water, medical treatment, and set afloat again a short distance from one of the Japanese islands.

Stickleback returned to Guam on 9 September and sailed for the United States the next day. She arrived at San Francisco, California, on 28 September as a unit of Admiral William F. Halsey's Third Fleet. The submarine participated in the Navy Day celebration in October and, on 2 January 1946, made a voyage to Pearl Harbor. She was decommissioned, on 26 June 1946, at Mare Island and attached to the Pacific Reserve Fleet.

Korean War[edit]

Stickleback was recommissioned on 6 September 1946 and served at San Diego, California as a training ship until entering the Mare Island Naval Shipyard on 6 November 1952 for conversion to a snorkel (GUPPY IIA) type submarine. The vessel was back at sea on 26 June 1953 and joined Submarine Squadron 7 at Pearl Harbor.

Stickleback supported the United Nations forces in Korea from February to July 1954 when she returned to Pearl Harbor.


For the next four years, the submarine participated in training operations and the development of both defensive and offensive submarine tactics. On 28 May 1958, Stickleback was participating in an antisubmarine warfare exercise with the destroyer escort USS Silverstein and a torpedo retriever in the Hawaiian area. The exercises continued into the afternoon of the next day when the submarine completed a simulated torpedo run on Silverstein. As Stickleback was going to a safe depth, she lost power and broached approximately 200 yards (180 m) ahead of the destroyer escort. Silverstein backed full and put her rudder hard left in an effort to avoid a collision but holed the submarine on her port side.

Stickleback's crew was removed by the torpedo retriever and combined efforts were made by Silverstein, Sabalo, Sturtevant, and Greenlet, to save the stricken submarine. The rescue ships put lines around her, but compartment after compartment flooded and, at 18:57 on 29 May 1958, Stickleback sank in 1,800 fathoms (10,800 ft; 3,292 m) of water.

Stickleback was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 30 June 1958.

Stickleback was one of four United States Navy submarines lost since the end of World War II. The others were USS Cochino (SS-345), USS Thresher (SSN-593) and USS Scorpion (SSN-589).

Sonar images of her wreckage was made public in March 2020.[9]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Friedman, Norman (1995). U.S. Submarines Through 1945: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute. pp. 285–304. ISBN 1-55750-263-3.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Bauer, K. Jack; Roberts, Stephen S. (1991). Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775-1990: Major Combatants. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 275–280. ISBN 0-313-26202-0.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305–311
  4. ^ a b c d e Bauer, K. Jack; Roberts, Stephen S. (1991). Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775–1990: Major Combatants. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 275–280. ISBN 978-0-313-26202-9.
  5. ^ U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 261–263
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Friedman, Norman (1994). U.S. Submarines Since 1945: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute. pp. 11–43. ISBN 1-55750-260-9.
  7. ^ a b c d U.S. Submarines Since 1945 p. 242
  8. ^ Teihoku Maru 11 August 1945
  9. ^ "Submarine USS Stickleback Found". Maritime Executive. 10 March 2020. Retrieved 13 March 2020.

External links[edit]

21°27′36″N 157°58′48″W / 21.46000°N 157.98000°W / 21.46000; -157.98000