USS Pampanito (SS-383)
in March 1943, this Balao-class submarine
was one of the submarines made during
World War II to fight the Japanese Empire.
Arriving at Pearl Harbor in February
1944, she cut her teeth doing combat
patrols in the southwest approaches
to Saipan and Guam. She saw action when
she scored two torpedo hits on a Japanese
destroyer while on lifeguard duty. Badly
damaged by depth charges, the Pampanito
limped home to Midway Island to have
repairs done to her hull.
home to San Francisco, the USS Pampanito
was decommissioned at Mare Island in December
1945. She remained in reserve until1960
when she was assigned to Naval Reserve
Training. The Pampanito was stricken from
the Navy Register in December 1971, and
declared a San Francisco Memorial in 1975.
During her tours she earned six battle
stars for her service. She serves the
public to this day, not as a weapon of
war, but as a museum. Tourists can go
though the ship and see what it was like
to live on such a machine. Even today
she flies a broom from her mast, indicating
that her last patrol was a "clean
sweep": all torpedoes shot.
More patrols would follow; the Pampanito
would patrol off of Kyushu, Shikoku,
Honshu, the South China Sea, and Formosa.
She would help sister vessels rescue
British and Australian survivors of
a Prisoner Of War ship sunk while en-route
from Singapore to Formosa. During her
various sea patrols the Pampanito would
sink many an unwary ship, including
a Japanese gunboat, the 10,509 ton transport
Kachidoki Maru, the 5135 ton tanker
Zuiho Maru, 1200 ton cargo ship Shinko
Maru, and the 3520-ton passenger-cargo
ship Eifuku Maru.