USS Razorback (SS-394)
USS "Razorback" (SS-394), a "Balao"-class submarine, was the only ship of the
United States Navyto be named for the razorback, a species of whale("Balaenoptera physalus") found in the far southern reaches of the Pacific Ocean. Recently, the state of Arkansasadopted the submarine, although it was not named after the University of Arkansasmascot.
Her keel was laid down by the
Portsmouth Navy Yardin Kittery, Maineon 9 September 1943. She was launched on 27 January 1944along with USS|Redfish|SS-395|3 and USS|Ronquil|SS-396|3. USS|Scabbardfish|SS-397|3 was launched a few hours later, making 27 January 1944the first and only time the US Navy has launched four submarines at one shipyard in a single day. "Razorback" was sponsored by Mrs. H. F. D. Davis, and commissioned on 3 April 1944with Lieutenant CommanderAlbert M. Bontier in command.
World War II
During shakedown exercises "Razorback" ran aground off Race Rock in
Block Island Sound. A board of inquiry removed Bontier and the executive officer, LieutenantJohn Haines, and replaced them respectively with Commander Roy S. Bensonand Lieutenant Commander C. Donald Brown.
After shakedown off
New England, "Razorback" sailed to Pearl Harborunder the command of Commander Roy Benson. Her first war patrol, commencing 25 August, was conducted east of Luzonas a member of an offensive group in support of the mid-September Palaulandings. After sighting only enemy antisubmarine planes, she headed northeastward, arriving at Midway Islandon 19 October.
15 November"Razorback" sailed from Midway Islandon her second war patrol under the command of Lt. Cdr. Brown in company with USS|Trepang|SS-412|3 and USS|Segundo|SS-398|3. Operating with these submarines in the Luzon Straits, "Razorback" damaged 6933-ton freighter "Kenjo Maru" on 6 Decemberand sank the old 820 ton destroyer"Kuretake" and damaged another freighter 30 December. She arrived at Guamfor refit on 5 January 1945.
1 February"Razorback" set out for the East China Seafor her third war patrol, this time accompanied by "Segundo" and USS|Sea Cat|SS-399|3. After sinking four wooden ships in three separate surface gun actions, she deposited three Japanese prisoners at Guambefore terminating her patrol at Pearl Harboron 26 March 1945.
7 May"Razorback" headed west again. Assigned to lifeguard duty in the Nanpō Islandsand Tokyo Bayareas, she rescued Lieutenant ColonelCharles E. Taylor, a P-51fighter pilot from the 21st Fighter Group on 25 May. On 5 Juneshe rescued four B-29 Superfortresscrewmen shot down during an air raid over Kobe, Japan. "Razorback" retired to Midway Islandto end that patrol and refit on 27 June.
22 July"Razorback" departed Midway Islandfor patrol in the Okhotsk Sea, where she sank six wooden cargo sea trucks and damaged two in a surface gun action. The remainder of thepatrol was spent performing lifeguard services off Paramushirofor Alaska-based planes. On 31 August"Razorback" entered Tokyo Baywith 11 other submarines to take part in theformal surrender of Japan. She departed 3 September, arrived at Pearl Harboron 11 Septemberand San Diego, California, on 20 September.
1945 – 1954
After the war she remained active with the Pacific Fleet serving off
Japanand Chinain early 1948 and again in late 1949. She won the Navy "E" for overall excellence in 1949. In August 1952 she decommissioned incident to conversion to a GUPPYIIA-type submarine. She recommissioned in January 1954 and reported to Submarine Squadron 10 at New London, Conn., for shakedown and training.
1954 – 1970
Following shakedown "Razorback" was transferred to the West Coast and on
24 May 1954became a unit of Submarine Squadron 3, based at San Diego, Calif.. The remainder of 1954 and1955 were spent providing antisubmarine training services for local surface and air units. In 1956 her range of operations was extended north to Canadaand on 24 June 1957she got underway for an extended Far East patrol that included extensive surveillance of the Russian port of Petropavlovsk. She won a second Battle "E" in 1959.
Regularly deployed to the Seventh Fleet into the sixties "Razorback" sailed into the
South China Seaon her 1965 deployment where she earned her first Vietnam Service Medal. She returned to San Diego on 1 February 1966, but was in the western Pacific from 29 December 1966to 3 July 1967and from 6 August 1968to February 1969. During 1969 she continued to operate on the west coast out of San Diego, winning the Battle "E" for a third time on 2 July 1969. "Razorback"’s last deployment, again to the western Pacific, was from 30 Januaryto 7 August 1970. Not long after her return to the West Coast, she was decommissioned at Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard. Concurrent with her decommissioning on 30 November, "Razorback" was transferred to the Turkish Navy.
"Razorback" earned five
battle stars for World War IIservice and four stars for Vietnam Warservice.
TCG "Muratreis" (S-336)
The submarine was recommissioned TCG "Muratreis" (S-336) on
17 December 1971, named after the great Ottoman admiral Murat Reisand served Turkeyfor 31 years, decommissioning in March 2002.
Ex-"Muratreis" was purchased from
Turkeyby the city of North Little Rock, Arkansason 25 March 2004for $37,500. The purchase price and all towing costs were paid for by private donations.
It was towed from
Turkeyon 5 May, across the Mediterranean Seato Gibraltarand then across the Atlantic Ocean, arriving at Key West, Florida, on the evening of Sunday, 13 June 2004. On 14 June 2004, the submarine was again taken under tow, and arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana, on 19 June. Thence it was towed up the Mississippi Riverand the Arkansas Riverto her permanent berth in North Little Rock.
After a stopover for the dedication of the
Montgomery Point Lock and Damon 16 July, its transit was delayed by the Army Corps of Engineersover safety concerns. At the time of transit, the submarine was drafting 11½ feet at its bow and at nearly convert|15|ft|m at its stern, while some portions of the Arkansas River were less than nine feet deep. A pair of barges were used as pontoons to lift the boat a few feet to clear the river bottom while remaining low enough to pass under the bridges along its route.
29 August, "Razorback" reached her berth in North Little Rock, at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum. She officially opened to the public on 15 May 2005.
* [http://www.aimm.museum Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum]
* [http://www.aimm.museum/faq/Muratreis.htm FAQ Page about the name of TCG "Muratreis"]
* [http://www.hnsa.org/ships/razorback.htm HNSA Ship Page: USS "Razorback"]
* [http://www.aimm.museum/SS-394/ss-394_WWII.htm USS "Razorback"'s WWII Patrols - Includes war patrol reports in PDF]
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