USS SEA FOX (SS-402)
Sea Fox (SS-402) was laid down on 2
November 1943 at the Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard; launched on 28 March
1944; sponsored by Mrs. Robert N. Robertson; and commissioned on 13 June 1944, Lt. Comdr.
Roy C. Klinker in command.
Two months after commissioning, Sea Fox departed New
London for Hawaii and duty in Submarine Division (SubDiv) 282. She arrived
at Pearl Harbor on 11 September and, on 4 October, got underway on her first
war patrol. On the 16th, she entered her initial patrol area near the
Bonin Islands, and remained in the Bonin-Vqlcano Islands area through the
25th, hunting enemy shipping and serving on lifeguard duty for
Liberator strikes against Iwo Jima. On the 26th, she conducted her first
attack and damaged an enemy freighter; then proceeded on to the Nansei Shoto
in the Ryukyus. There, on 8 November, after firing 11 torpedoes in four
attacks, she sank an engines-aft cargoman. Of the 11 torpedoes
fired, several broached and one circled and passed over Sea Fox's
conning tower. On 15 November, the submarine departed her assigned area
and arrived at Majuro on the 24th for refit.
On her second war patrol, 20 December 1944 to 5 February
1945, Sea Fox returned to the Nansei Shoto as a
unit of TG 17.19, a coordinated attack group comprised of herself, Blueback
(SS-326), and Puffer (SS-268). En route to Saipan to
top off with fuel, the submarines and their PC escort picked up survivors
of a downed Liberator. On 28 December, the submarines departed
the Marianas for the Ryukyus; and, on 1 January 1945, Sea Fox reached
her patrol area. Nine days later, she made her only contact worthy of
torpedo fire but, despite two attacks, was unsuccessful. Puffer,
to which she reported the contact, later sank the target, Coast
Defense Vessel No. 42.
Sea Fox's third war patrol, 8 March to 6
May 1945, saw her in the South China Sea-Formosa area. She made six
contacts but was able to close and attack only one, a convoy of three
merchantmen and four escorts. During that action, conducted in heavy fog
on the morning of 1 April, she damaged one of the freighters. That
same day, Queenfish (SS-393) sank the mercy ship, Awa
Maru; and, on the 2d, Sea Fox was ordered into the area to
pick up survivors and wreckage to determine the type of cargo the maru had been
carrying. Sea Fox located no survivors but found bales of sheet
rubber covering the area where the ship had gone down. She took aboard one
of the sheets and continued her patrol.
The next day, one of Sea Fox's crew was
accidentally shot by another crewman. Efforts to transfer the wounded
man to a homeward-bound submarine were thwarted by rough seas, and the
patient remained aboard for the duration of the patrol.
In mid-April, Sea Fox was off the northwest coast
of Formosa where she encountered a shift in Japanese ASW
tactics. Patrol planes were numerous at night, precluding recharging. The
planes, however, were relatively inactive during daylight hours, and Sea
Fox surfaced and recharged accordingly.
On the night of 16 and 17 April, Sea Fox departed her
patrol area. Progress toward Saipan was slowed by a casualty in the bow
plane rigging mechanism on the 19th; but, on the 26th, she arrived in the
Marianas, and she reached Pearl Harbor on 6 May. Refit took a month,
and Sea Fox sailed on 7 June for her last war patrol.
Assigned primarily to lifeguard duty during the 53-day patrol, she picked up
nine Army aviators near Marcus Island and a tenth in the Nanpo Shoto. On 29
July, she completed the patrol at Midway.
The war ended with the completion of refit, and Sea Fox headed
toward Pearl Harbor for a two-week visit prior to getting underway for
postwar duty with Sub-Ron 5 in the Philippines. Based at Subic Bay, she operated
in the Philippine area into 1946; then, on 12 January, got underway to
return to the United States.
Sea Fox arrived in San Francisco Bay on 2
followed; and in mid-May, she returned to Pearl Harbor where she rejoined SubDiv 52. During the remainder of the 1940's,
she was deployed three times: to the
central Pacific in the summer of 1946, and to the western Pacific in the winter of 1948 and in the
fall of 1949. The end of the latter
year also brought a brief assignment
to SubDiv 13, but January 1950 saw her a unit of SubDiv 12. Six months later, hostilities broke out in Korea; and Sea Fox's training
exercises-mine planting, torpedo
approaches, gunnery, and ASW-increased.
On 2 September 1951, the submarine sailed west. A six-month
tour in the western Pacific followed during which she supported the United
Nation's effort in Korea by providing services to the ASW training group and by
patrolling in the northern Sea of Japan. In March 1952, she
returned to the Hawaiian Islands to resume local operations and to prepare
for a Guppy-IIA conversion.
Decommissioned on 15 October 1952 at Mare Island, Sea Fox completed
conversion the following spring and was recommissioned on 5 June
1953. In August, she returned to Pearl Harbor and resumed operations-training
exercises, special operations, and western Pacific deployments-as a unit of
SubDiv 71. Reassigned to SubDiv 33 at San Diego on 1 July 1955, she became flagship
of the division on 1 August and commenced local operations off the southern
California coast. A year later, she sailed west for another six-month
tour with the 7th Fleet; and, from then until 1969, she continued to rotate
between training operations out of San Diego and duty with the 7th
Fleet in the western Pacific. From 1964, her tours in WestPac included
support of the Allied effort in Vietnam.
21 December 1968, Sea Fox returned to San Diego from her last WestPac deployment. Local operations, overhaul, and training exercises followed; and, in
November 1970, she was declared unfit for further service. She was decommissioned, and her name was struck from the Navy list on 14 December 1970.
Sea Fox earned four battle stars during
World War II and four campaign stars for service during the Vietnam
[Note: The above USS SEA FOX (SS-402) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS SEA FOX (SS-402), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]