SHIP’S HISTORY - USS CHARR (SS328)
1943-1963


The keel of the USS CHARR was laid down on 26 August 1943 at the Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut. On 28 May 1944, she slid sown the ways, christened by Mrs. William F. Orkney of Groton.

On 23 September 1944, in company with the USS BOARFISH, the CHARR was delivered to the U.S. Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut for acceptance as a unit of the fleet. Rear Admiral F. A. Daubin, U.S. Navy, accepted the CHARR and BOARFISH in the first double commissioning ceremony ever held at the base. The watch was set at 1030 hours on the morning of the 23rd of September and Commander Francis D. Boyle, U.S. Navy, took command. After intensive training for war patrol at New London, the CHARR headed for the Pacific on 5 November 1944. At Pearl Harbor, the submarine was made ready for her first war patrol.

The CHARR, under command of Commander Boyle, left Pearl Harbor on 30 December 1944, to patrol the northeast coast of French Indo-China. The patrol was highlighted by the unusual rescue of a Naval Aviator, a crew member of a PBY patrol plane that had been forced down just off the coast. While the CHARR lay at anchor for four hours, a mile off the coast in broad daylight, an easy target for a Japanese plane or patrol boat, two men went ashore in a rubber boat. The aviator was brought aboard and three successive attempts were made to pick up the remaining nine members of the plane’s crew during subsequent evenings, but contact with them could not be reestablished. The CHARR completed her 64 day patrol by escorting a badly damaged Dutch submarine through the Java Sea and Lombok Straits, arriving at Freemantle, Western Australia on the 3rd day of March where she was refitted for her second war patrol.

The Second patrol began on 27 March 1945 and consisted of two parts. The first was conducted in the Flores Sea, Java Sea and South China Sea, and was featured by the sinking of a 5200 ton Natori Class cruiser, the ISUZH. The CHARR, BESUGO and GABILAN teamed together in a four day chase of the cruiser and three escorts; the BESUGO sinking one escort, the GABILAN hitting the cruiser with one torpedo, and the CHARR finishing her off with three hits.

The CHARR alxo sank a 55 ton coastal freighter by gunfire in the Java Sea, laid a minefield and made an unsuccessful attack on two mine layers. She then proceeded to Subic Bay, Philippine Islands for a torpedo reload and then to the southern coast of Formosa and the second part of the patrol. One month was spent in this area on lifeguard duty. An Army P-51 pilot who had been forced down following a raid over Formosa was rescued during this time. The CHARR then returned to Subic Bay, 54 days after her departure from Freemantle, where she was refitted for the third war patrol.

The Third patrol commenced on the 14th day of June 1945 and was conducted in the Gulf of Siam, where no opportunity to attack presented itself. However, the CHARR coordinated a wolf pack of four submarines that resulted in the sinking of a large Japanese submarine by the USS BLUEFISH. This 42 day patrol ended in Freemantle, Western Australia.

Following the cessation of hostilities (with Japan), the CHARR made stops at Sydney, Australia, Guam and reported to Pearl Harbor for repairs. Upon completion of repairs, the CHARR was assigned duty at Guam where training was conducted for one month.

The ship returned to the West Coast on 27 January 1946, after an absence of 15 months from the United States. Local training operations in the San Diego area followed. On 1 April 1946, Commander Boyle was relieved by Commander Jack M. Seymour, U.S. Navy, as skipper of the CHARR. After completing a ninety day overhaul at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, and CHARR departed from San Francisco on the 4th of October 1946 for her first post-war simulated war patrol. This 115 day training patrol included visits to Pearl, Subic Bay, Shanghai and Tsingtao China, Yokosuka Japan, and was concluded at San Diego on 27 January 1947.

Local training operations were resumed in the Southern California area. On 19 June 1947, Commander Oliver W. Bagby, U.S. Navy, relieved Commander Seymour as Commanding Officer. After completing a second simulated war patrol, the CHARR was nominated for the Battle Efficiency Award by the Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. This award is indicative of the high state of training and readiness for war of a naval vessel in competition.

On 6 July 1949, CHARR traveled to Portland, Oregon for a two week reserve training cruise before entering the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California, for a three month overhaul period. On completion of the overhaul, in October 1949, CHARR returned to San Diego, California to conduct local operations and training until June 1950. At this time, CHARR was deployed to the San Francisco area to provide services to the Submarine Training Facilities in order to further the submarine training of naval reservists including services to the U.S. Naval School, General Line, Monterey, California.

At the ourbreak of the Korean hostilities, CHARR was deployed to Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, and then returned to San Diego, California, on August 1950 to continue local operations and training. On 23 August 1950, the CHARR received the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Prize, the first submarine in Naval history to receive such an award. The CHARR also received the Battle Efficiency Pennant for the competition year 1950, for the second consecutive time.
During January and February 1951, CHARR operated in the Puget Sound area conducting operations with Commander, Fleet Air Wing FOUR, Whidbey Island, Washington, then returned to San Diego.

Before entering the Mare Island Naval Shipyard on 10 July 1951, CHARR again provided services to the Submarine Training Facilities in the San Francisco area with a stop at the U.S. Naval School, General Line, Monterey, California. During the four month overhaul period at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, CHARR was converted to a Four Engine Fleet Type Snorkel Submarine.

On 26 March 1952, CHARR left San Diego, California for a six month tour of duty with Commander Naval Forces, Far East. While in the Far East, the CHARR, as a unit of Commander Naval Forces, Far East , supported the United Nations forces in the common effort against the Korea aggressor forces.

The CHARR returned to San Diego, California on 2 October 1952 and commenced local operations. The CHARR entered the San Francisco Naval Shipyard for overhaul on 18 May 1953. The CHARR completed the yard overhaul on 14 October 1953 and returned to San Diego for extensive training and local operations.

On 22 November 1953, the CHARR officially adopted and sponsored the Girl Scout Mariner Ship “Sea Tiger” of Pasadena, California. The ceremony took place aboard the CHARR at Long Beach, California.

During January 1954, CHARR made a two week cruise to Acapulco, Mexico to train twenty three Naval Reserve officers and enlisted men. Upon her return to San Diego, CHARR continued local operations and training until June 1954.

On 13 June 1954, CHARR left San Diego, California for a six month tour of duty with Commander Naval Forces, Far East, based in Yokosuka, Japan. During this tour, CHARR helped train air and surface units of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and United Nations Fleet in anti-submarine defense, and completed her second Special Patrol. Generallisimo Chiang Kei-Shek, President of Nationalist China and Vice Admiral Alfred M. Pride, Commander SEVENTH Fleet, rode the CHARR on 9 November 1954 during the visit to Formosa. It was the Generallisimo’s first underway trip aboard a submarine.

On 7 December 1954, CHARR returned to San Diego, California and commenced local operations at a unit of Submarine Division THIRTY ONE.

On 7 March 1955, during an operating period in the Long Beach area, the Commanding Officer became an honorary girl scout and was made an Honorary Officer of the Sea Tiger Unit, Girl Scout Marine Ship 36 of Pasadena, California. In turn, the Skipper presented an award to to the Most Outstanding Girl Scout in the Sea Tiger crew.

On 14 June 1955, CHARR steamed into beautiful and scenic Puget Sound for operations at Carr Inlet. Upon leaving the Inlet, CHARR proceeded to Vallejo, California and entered the Mare Island Naval Shipyard on 30 June 1955 for a regularly scheduled overhaul of 4 - 1/2 months. Lieutenant Commander Richard A. Harris, U.S. Navy, relieved Commander William A. Whitman, U.S. Navy, as Commanding Officer.

In January 1956, the CHARR departed San Diego for Acapulco, Mexico. After returning to San Diego two weeks later, the CHARR conducted type training exercises in local operating waters until 4 June 1956. At this time, she departed San Diego Bay for San Francisco Bay area to participate in the FIRST Fleet Pacific Training Exercise (FIRST FLT PACTRAEX). Following this, she remained in the San Francisco Bay Area to proceed to Seattle, Washington to celebrate the Seattle Sea Fair which commenced 8 August 1956.

On 22 March 1957, the CHARR departed for the Western Pacific. During this tour, CHARR visited Hong Kong from 3 June to 8 June. On 27 June, during a brief ceremony on board, Lieutenant Commander Thomas E. Auger relieved Richard A. Harris, U.S. Navy, as Commanding Officer. She returned to San Diego on 14 October 1957.

CHARR commenced a four month required shipyard overhaul at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in January 1958, departing 3 June 1958 enroute to San Diego. From June through August 1958, CHARR participated in local operations at San Diego.

On 11 September 1958, CHARR departed San Diego to participate in fleet exercises with Canadian ships off the West Coast of the United States. CHARR operated locally from October through November 1958, completing the year as a holiday and leave period. From January to May 1959, CHARR participated in local operations off the coast of Southern California.

On 6 May 1959, CHARR departed for duty with the SEVENTH Fleet in the Western Pacific. During this period of duty, CHARR visited Hong Kong, and Yokosuka, Japan. In July 1959, in ceremonies at Yokosuka, Lieuenant Commander James W. Bowen, U.S. Navy, relieved Lieutenant Commander Thomas E. Auger as Commanding Officer.The CHARR returned to San Diego on 28 October 1959, and operated in the San Diego area from November 1959 to July 1960.

On 11 July 1960, CHARR departed San Diego for Olympia, Washington, for the Capitol Lake Fair Celebration during the weekend of 15 to 18 July. Departing Olympia on 18 July, the CHARR proceeded to San Francisco Naval Shipyard where she underwent a scheduled overhaul from 22 July to 5 December 1960. CHARR departed San Francisco on 12 December and arrived in San Diego on 14 December where she completed the year in a holiday and leave status.

After local refresher training, CHARR departed San Diego on 24 February 1961 for duty with the SEVENTH Fleet in the Western Pacific. During the deployment, CHARR visited Yokosuka, Nagasaki (participating in that city’s port festival), Kobe and Komatsu Shima, Japan, as well as Chinhae, Korea, Okinawa, Subic Bay and Manila, Republic of the Phillippines, and finally Hong Kong, B.C.C. CHARR returned to San Diego via Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on 17 August 1961, commencing a leave and upkeep period on arrival.

On 25 August 1961, in ceremonies on board at San Diego, California, Lieutenant Commander James W. Bowen was relieved as Commanding Officer by Lieutenant Commander Harold F. Skelly, U.S. Navy. In September, CHARR commenced local operations. On 26 September, while rigged for deep submergence, a main motor circulating water hose ruptured, flooding the Maneauvering Room. Upon surfacing and cessation of flooding, CHARR was towed to San Diego and then to San Francisco Naval Shipyard for repairs. Upon completion of repairs on 9 November 1961, CHARR returned to San Diego and operated locally until mid-December, when the Holiday Period commenced.

CHARR operated in the Puget Sound area between January and March 1962, returning to San Diego on 17 March. On 24 April 1962, in ceremonies on board at San Diego, California, John J. McGee (607-19-51) Electrician’s Mate First Class (Submarines), U.S. Navy, was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal by Commander Submarine Flotilla ONE, Captain D.H. McClintock, U.S. Navy, on behalf of the Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable John B. Connally, for his meritorious actions and devotion to duty during the previously noted casualty that occurred on 26 September 1961.

During a brief upkeep period, the CHARR departed San Diego for Seattle, Washington and a visit to the World’s Fair. Upon returning to San Diego on 17 May, CHARR conducted local operations until departing on 3 November for a scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific. During this deployment, CHARR visited the Japanese cities of Yokosuka, Nagoua and Kobe as well as Naha, Subic Bay, and Hong Kong. CHARR returned to San Diego via Pearl Harbor on May 10, 1963. On July 1, 1963 CHARR departed San Diego to spend the Fourth of July weekend in Eureka, California, then proceeded to San Francisco Naval Shipyard to commence a normal shipyard overhaul on July 10th. On November 29, CHARR returned to San Diego. After one week of local operations, CHARR completed the year in a holiday and leave status.

1964 was a quiet time in the life of CHARR. January through October were spent conducting local operations in the San Diego area. In October, CHARR entered Mare Island for replacement of her main storage batteries, then returned to San Diego in late November, and completed the year in pre-deployment exercises and upkeep.

In 1965, CHARR again deployed to the Western Pacific area. During this deployment, she participated in SEATO Exercise “Sea Horse” and operated in support of the Viet Nam conflict, receiving the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for these direct support operations. It was during these support operations that CHARR recovered Cdr J. H. Harris, US Navy, commanding officer of VA-155, from the Gulf of Tonkin. Cdr. Harris had ejected from his damaged A4E Skyhawk after a strike over Bach Long Island on March 29. On completion of “Buttonhook”, CHARR visited Esquimalt and Vancouver BC, and scored a first by embarking approximately 25 Canadian guests, including the Mayor of Vancouver, Superintendant of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, American Counsel in Vancouver, and others, and conducting submerged operations in the Straits of Georgia.

Returning to San Diego in Mid-February 1966, CHARR continued providing services to FIRST FLEET ships, participating in Fleet exercise “Gray Ghost”. In June, CHARR was permitted to return to Vancouver as a unit of the FIRST FLEET to visit the Vancouver Sea Festival. On June 30, CHARR arrived at Mare Island Naval Shipyard and commenced a shipyard overhaul. On the following day, July 1, CHARR’s designation was changed from Submarine (SS) to Auxiliary Submarine (SGSS). The overhaul was completed on December 12, and CHARR returned to her home port of San Diego.

The first two months of 1967 were indicators of a busy year to come. CHARR conducted local operations during January and early February. On February 13, CHARR sailed for the Pacific Northwest and Puget Sound. Operations were conducted with the Naval Reserve and the Naval Torpedo Station at Keyport, Washington. CHARR made 3 day visit to Vancouver BC prior to leaving the Puget Sound area and returning to San Diego. On May 23, CHARR departed San Diego for a seventh WesPac deployment. Following a brief upkeep period in Yokosuka, CHARR left for the South China Sea to participate in the SEATO Exercise “Sea Dog”. Upon completion CHARR was assigned duties as a Military Assistance Program (MAP) submarine. MAP services were provided to the Armed Forces of the Republics of the Philippines, South Korea and China. The Asian ports of Yokosuka, Sasebo, Manila, Sangley Point, Subic Bay, Bangkok, Chinhe, Pusan, Kaohsiung, and Hong Kong were visited by CHARR during this deployment period. In December 1967 CHARR returned to her homeport of San Diego for post-deployment, holiday leave, and upkeep period.

1968 (needs info for this year)

Charr was decommissioned on June 28 1969. She continued “In Service, In Reserve” until December 20th, 1971, at which time she was struck from the Navy List. She was sold for scrapping on August 17th 1972. CHARR received one battle star for her service during WWII.