USS Tullibee SS-284
The first Tullibee (SS-284) was laid down on 1 April 1942 at Mare Island, Calif., by the Mare Island Navy Yard; launched on 11 November 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Kenneth C. Hurd; and commissioned on 15 February 1943, Comdr. Charles F. Brindupke in command.
Tullibee held shakedown training from 8 to 30 April and departed for Hawaii on 8 May. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on 15 May and held further training exercises in Hawaiian waters. Numerous air fitting leaks developed, and she was docked for repairs twice. When this proved ineffective, the submarine entered the navy yard until 11 July.
On 19 July, Tullibee got underway for the Western Caroline Islands and her first war patrol. On the 28th, she sighted a passenger-cargo ship, accompanied by an escort and an aircraft that prevented an American attack. On 5 August, the submarine began patrolling the Saipan-Truk traffic lanes. Five days later, she sighted smoke on the horizon which proved to be three freighters with an escort. Tullibee closed the range to 2,700 yards; fired one torpedo at the ship on the right and three at the vessel on the left. As the submarine fired the first torpedo, a ship rammed her and bent her number one periscope. She went deep and was depth charged by the escort as the ships sped away. As they had been set to run at a depth of 15 feet—too deep for the draft of the largest target—none of the torpedoes exploded.
On 14 August, Tullibee sighted a convoy of three freighters with an escort and began an end-around run to get into good attack position. She fired a torpedo from a range of 3,000 yards and went deep. It missed, and she returned to periscope depth to fire three torpedoes at the last ship. It apparently saw their wakes as it turned and combed them. The submarine again went deep. When she surfaced, the targets had escaped. On the 22d, Tullibee sighted a convoy of five ships escorted by two destroyers; closed to 2,000 yards; and fired three torpedoes at the nearest freighter. Two minutes later, she fired three more at another ship. As she went deep to avoid a destroyer heading her way, she heard one explosion. She soon heard the bursts of two more torpedo explosions, followed by breaking-up noises. When she surfaced, she sighted over 1,000 empty 50-gallon oil drums, but no ships. Postwar examination of Japanese records indicated that Tullibee had damaged one freighter and had sunk the passenger-cargo ship Kaisho Ma.ru. The patrol terminated when the submarine reached Midway Island on 6 September.
On 28 September, Tullibee began her second war patrol. Her assigned area was in the East China Sea between the Eyukyus and the China coast. On 4 October, she sighted a convoy of nine passenger-cargo ships with three destroyer escorts. The submarine pulled well ahead of the convoy and tracked them until the next morning. At 0058, she fired a spread of three torpedoes at a large freighter with one hitting the target a minute later. Another spread of three from the bow tubes produced two bits on a heavily laden cargo ship. Minor explosions and breaking-up noises began immediately as Chicago Maru sank. Twelve days later, Tullibee contacted a convoy of seven ships with three escorts which later separated into two groups; one hugging the China coast and the other heading for Pescadores Channel. She attacked the largest ship in the last group with six torpedoes. One hit the target. The submarine began an end-around run and fired four torpedoes at another ship. Two torpedoes soon broached, and Tullibee broke off the attack. She went deep and rigged for silent running to evade the escorts. On 5 November, the submarine was running submerged near Okinoyerabu Shima when she sighted a large, three-story building on the island. She surfaced and fired 55 shells into the barracks before retiring at full speed. She began the voyage back to Hawaii the next day and reached Pearl Harbor, via Midway, on the 16th. Her official score for this patrol was one passenger-cargo ship sunk, a tanker damaged, and a passenger-cargo ship damaged.
Tullibee's third patrol was in a wolf pack with Halibut (SS-232) and Haddock (SS-231). The trio sortied from Pearl Harbor on 14 December 1943 for the Marianas to intercept enemy shipping plying between Truk and Japan. On 2 January 1944, Tullibee sighted a Japanese I-class submarine on the surface and fired four torpedoes at a range of 3,000 yards. The enemy saw the wakes and combed the four of them as Tullibee was forced deep by an enemy floatplane which dropped six bombs.
On 19 January, Haddock reported that she had damaged the Japanese aircraft carrier Unyo which limped to Saipan. Tullibee sighted the carrier there on the 25th, close ashore and well protected by escorts and aircraft. The submarine remained on station for several days awaiting an opportunity to sink the carrier. However, when she surfaced on the 28th, she learned that the carrier had slipped away. Three days later, the submarine made radar contact with two targets. She fired three torpedoes at what appeared to be a freighter and swung left to fire one at the escort. The first target, net tender Hiro Maru, took two hits, disintegrated, and disappeared in about one minute. The torpedo fired at the escort missed, and the submarine went deep to evade. Tullibee cleared the area the following day and returned to Pearl Harbor on 10 February.
On 5 March, Tullibee stood out of Pearl Harbor to begin her fourth war patrol. Nine days later, she called at Midway to top off her fuel and then proceeded to her patrol area in the Palaus. She was scheduled to support carrier strikes against those islands on 30 and 31 March. On 25 March, Tullibee arrived on station and began patrolling. The next day, she made radar contact on a convoy consisting of a large passenger-cargo ship, two medium-sized freighters, a destroyer, and two other escorts. The submarine made several surface runs on the transport but kept losing her in rain squalls. Tullibee finally closed to 3,000 yards and fired two torpedoes from her bow tubes at the target. About two minutes later, the submarine was rocked by a violent explosion. Gunner's Mate C. W. Kukyen-dall—on the bridge at the time—was knocked unconscious and thrown into the water. When Kukyendall— the sole survivor—regained consciousness, the submarine was gone. Apparently, one of her own torpedoes ran a circular course and sank the submarine which had launched it. Tullibee was struck from the Navy list on 29 July 1944.
Tullibee received three battle stars for World War II