Submarine USS Silversides (SS-236) & USCGC McLane
By kjfitz @ 2005-08-25 14:17:10
USS Silversides was commissioned into the U.S. Navy eight days after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. During World War II, the submarine served in the Pacific Fleet along Japan's coasts, in the East China Sea, and through key enemy shipping routes around the Marianas, Carolines, Bismarck Archipelago, and along the Solomons to Guadacanal. Its mission was to stop raw materials and supplies -- oil, bauxite, rubber, coal, food, and iron ore -- from reaching Japan. Silversides completed 14 war patrols and sank 23 ships, the third highest total of enemy ships sunk by a U.S. submarine during the war.
After the war, Silversides served as a reserve training boat near Chicago. Decommissioned in 1969, the vessel was saved from scrapping by the Great Lakes Navy Association in 1972. Virtually unmodified since her last refitting at Pearl Harbor in 1945, Silversides is on display in Pere Marquette Park along the Muskegon Lake Channel. Silversides conducts youth group overnight encampments.
USCGC McLane was authorized during Calvin Coolidge's administration as one of a class of 33 "Rum Chasers" for use during prohibition. She and her sisters were the last military vessels built for the U.S. Government that carried an auxiliary sail rig. Until the onset of World War II, McLane was based at a number of West Coast stations.
Her World War II duties took McLane to Ketchikan, Alaska where she was manned by a Coast Guard crew, but under Navy operational control. On July 9, 1942, working with a Coast Guard manned Navy patrol craft, she established sonar contact with a Japanese submarine known to be in the area. After a day long chase during which she dropped numerous depth charges, a large oil slick appeared on the surface, and no further contact with the sub was to be had. Sources indicate the Japanese submarine RO-32 was lost in the area at this time, and McLane is generally credited with the sinking.
Following the War, McLane resumed her law enforcement and search and rescue duties, operating out of Sitka, Alaska; Aberdeen Washington; and finally Brownsville, Texas. She was decommissioned in 1969, and acquired by a Sea Scout group in Chicago. She was acquired by the USS Silversides and Maritime Museum in 1993.