Rear Admiral John Elwood Lee, 1908-2002
United States Navy (NSN: 0-63331),
Rear Admiral John (Jack) Elwood Lee was born September 20, 1908 in Wilmington, Delaware. He was
the son of Elwood Lee and Anne Kyle Lee of Wilmington. His brother was Major General D. Preston
Lee USA of Wilmington, Delaware who died in 1979. Jack had one sister Margaret Lee. Jack attended
Saint Thomas Parochial School and graduated from Wilmington High School in 1926. He graduated
105 of 402 from the United States Naval Academy on June 5, 1930. Rear Admiral Lee died on January 5,
2002 in San Diego, California.
From the 1930 United States Naval Academy yearbook his roommate wrote:
If a man’s capabilities varied directly as the noise he makes, Jack would never have weathered the first term of plebe
year. Fortunately, they don’t: and we are indebted to the gods immortal for that rare type whose presence among us
is made known only by the things that they do and by very occasional pithy contributions to the matter in hand. Jack
is one of the clan.
There are few who can claim to know Jack well. But those who have been fortunate enough to pass beyond the wall
of his almost shy reserve have found not only a friend of worth but a most congenial companion.
Jack’s compass is “steady on” in everything he does: it’s the letters from the Girl Back Home that count, it’s a steady
drive and a fast finish with the Academic Department, and in the various activities to which he lends himself there is
no pausing to dally in the by-ways.
Jack is one of those who maintains his equilibrium when “all about you are losing theirs.” As such he will be an
asset to the Service. When the Skipper wants his gig, the admiral is swearing because his barge is not alongside,
pressure is wanted on the deck pumps, and the Patrol not yet ashore-give Jack the deck. And, furthermore, those who
make one liberty with him invariably make others. That’s the Supreme Test.
As a junior officer, Jack Lee served on two battleships and two destroyers. In April 1931, Ensign Lee
was assigned to the battleship USS Pennsylvania (BB-38). On May 8, 1931, Pennsylvania departed
Philadelphia Navy Yard for a refresher training cruise to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and then returned.
On August 6, 1931, she again sailed for Guantanamo and later continued on to San Pedro, where she
again joined the Battle Fleet. Ensign Lee also saw duty on the destroyer USS Decatur (DD-341).
In April 1934, LTJG Lee was assigned to the destroyer USS Litchfield (DD-316). Later in 1934 LTJG
was detached to attend submarine school in New London Connecticut.
In April 1936, LTJG Lee was assigned to the submarine USS S-41 (SS-146). In April 1937, LTJG Lee
was assigned as Navigator and Executive Officer of USS S-41.
In 1937 Lieutenant Lee was assigned as Executive Officer of the torpedo school in San Diego, California
In April 1939, Lieutenant Lee was assigned to the submarine USS Cuttlefish (SS-171). The Cuttlefish
was assigned to Submarine Squadron Thirteen in Pearl Harbor. Cuttlefish arrived at Pearl Harbor on
June 16, 1939 and was based there on patrol duty, as well as joining in battle problems and exercises in
the Hawaiian area. That autumn she cruised to the Samoan Islands crossing the equator on September
7, 1939 where Lieutenant Lee was initiated from “pollywog” to “shellback”. On October 5, 1939 she
cleared Pearl Harbor for an overhaul at Mare Island Navy Yard.
USS S-12 (SS-117)
Lieutenant Lee took command of USS S-12 (SS-117). S-12 was re-commissioned on November 4, 1940
fitted with stern torpedo tubes and operated in Bermuda, Saint Thomas, United States Virgin Islands,
and Coco Solo. S-12 was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet in Submarine Division Seventy Two,
Submarine Squadron Three, Submarine Base Coco Solo. S-12 operated at St. Thomas from December
1941 to March 1942. Promoted to Lieutenant Commander, Lee made four war patrols as commanding
officer of S-12 in the Atlantic with no sinkings. Because the S-Class submarines were small their
patrols typically lasted 15 to 20 days. He was relieved of the S-12 in 1942 by Fitzhugh McMaster.
USS Grayling (SS-209)
Lee was assigned as skipper of the USS Grayling (SS-209) in 1942 relieving Eliot Olsen. He sailed on his
first patrol as commanding officer on October 19th, 1942. It was to be his fifth wartime patrol. It was
the fourth wartime patrol for the Grayling. The USS Grayling (SS-209), was a Tambor-class submarine.
Her keel was laid down at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine on 15 December 1939. She was
launched on 4 September 1940 sponsored by Mrs. Herbert F. Leary, and commissioned on 1 March 1941
with Lieutenant Commander Eliot Olson in command.
After conducting tests and sea trials, she was called upon 20 June 1941 to assist in the search for
submarine O-9 (SS-70), which had failed to surface after a practice dive off Isles of Shoals. O-9 was
subsequently discovered on the bottom, but rescue efforts failed; Grayling participated 22 June in the
memorial services for those lost.
Joining the Atlantic Fleet, Grayling sailed on shakedown cruise on 4 August to Morehead City, North
Carolina, and St. Thomas,U.S. Virgin Islands, returning to Portsmouth on 29 August. After final
acceptance, she departed 17 November, armed at Newport, Rhode Island, and sailed for duty with the
Pacific Fleet. Grayling transited the Panama Canal on 3 December and moored at San Diego, California,
on 10 December.
Grayling sailed for Pearl Harbor on 17 December, arrived 24 December, and had the honor of being
chosen for the Pacific Fleet change of command ceremony on 31 December 1941. On that day, Admiral
Chester Nimitz hoisted his flag aboard Grayling as Commander, Pacific Fleet and began the United
States Navy's long fighting road back in the Pacific.
After the ceremonies, Grayling stood out of Pearl Harbor on her first war patrol 5 January 1942.
Cruising the Northern Gilbert Islands, Grayling failed to register a kill, but gained much in training
and readiness, returning to Pearl Harbor on 7 March.
Her second patrol, beginning 27 March, was more successful. Cruising off the coast of Japan itself,
Grayling sank her first ship 13 April, sending the cargo freighter Ryujin Maru to the bottom. She
returned to Hawaii on 16 May.
Grayling returned to action in June as all available ships were pressed into service to oppose the
Japanese advance on Midway Island. As part of Task Group 7.1, Grayling and her sister submarines
were arranged in a fan-like reconnaissance deployment west of Midway, helping to provide knowledge
of Japanese movements. During this deployment the Grayling was mistaken for a Japanese cruiser by
Army Air Force B-17s which attacked her. A quick crash dive avoided damage.
As Naval planners established a submarine blockade of Truk in connection with the offensive in the
Solomon Islands, Grayling began her third war patrol 14 July 1942 around the Japanese stronghold.
She damaged a Japanese submarine tender 13 August, but was forced to return to Pearl Harbor 26
August by fuel leaks.
Lee takes command
At Pearl Harbor, Grayling repaired and was fitted with surface radar. She was assigned a new
commander, Lt. Cdr. John E. Lee. On 19 Oct 1942, USS Grayling, Lt.Cdr. John Elwood Lee
commanding, departed Pearl Harbor for her fourth war patrol. Off Truk, at 0650, on 6 November 1942,
Lt. Cdr John E. Lee's USS Grayling (SS-209) attacked the incoming Chiyoda with three torpedoes, but
failed to score a hit. Grayling was spotted by an E8N2 "Dave" floatplane on anti-submarine patrol from
Truk. The Dave dropped three 60-kg depth charges on Grayling that caused moderate damage. Chiyoda
arrived safely at Truk. Although attacked by gunfire and six separate depth charge runs by Japanese
destroyers, Grayling succeeded 10 November in sinking a 4000-ton cargo ship southwest of Truk. USS
Grayling sank a Japanese sailing vessel with gunfire west off Seram in the Netherlands East Indies in
approximate position 03º00'S, 128º00'E on 3 December, 1942. Lee and the USS Grayling ended her 4th
war patrol at Fremantle, Australia on 13 December 1942.
Changing her base of operations to Australia, Grayling stood out of Fremantle on 7 January 1943 on
her fifth patrol, this time in Philippine waters. She sank the cargo ship Ushio Maru (749 GRT) in the
Verde Island Passage, north of Mindoro, Philippines in position 13º26'N, 121º16'E west of Luzon on 26
January and damaged another Japanese ship the next day. After sinking a schooner, Grayling returned
to Fremantle on 24 February.
Grayling left Australian waters on 18 March on her sixth war patrol and cruised in the Tarakan area
and the Verde Island Passage, near the Philippines. The USS Grayling torpedoed and sank the Japanese
transport ship Shanghai Maru (4103 GRT) some ten miles east of Dumali Point, Mindoro, Philippines in
position 13º11'N, 121º45'E., on 9 April 1943. Lee and the crew damaged four other ships. On 25 Apr
1943 USS Grayling ended her 6th war patrol at Fremantle.
LCDR Lee’s eighth war patrol and Grayling’s seventh war patrol, commencing May 18, 1943, taking
Grayling into the South China Sea off northwest Borneo. On June 22, 1943, LCDR Lee and the crew of
USS Grayling torpedoed and damaged the Japanese tanker Eiyo Maru (8673 GRT) east of Malaya in
position 04º03'N, 103º57'E. Grayling also damaged two smaller ships during the patrol before
returning to her Fremantle Australia base July 6, 1943. Post war JANAC credit was not given for any
of these ships.
Following the war, the Television series “The Silent Service” featured the war efforts of the U.S.
submarine service, the exploits of LCDR Lee and the USS Grayling were featured in one of its episodes.
Lieutenant Commander John E. Lee was awarded the Navy Cross for his service on the Grayling. His
citation reads, in part, “…for extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the U.
S.S. GRAYLING (SS-209), on the FOURTH, FIFTH and SIXTH War Patrols of that submarine during the period
19 October 1942 to 25 April 1943, in enemy controlled waters of the Southwest Pacific. During this period of intense
activity, Lieutenant Commander Lee distinguished himself by his brilliant tactical knowledge and sound judgment in
maneuvering his vessel into advantageous striking positions so skillfully and aggressively as to destroy seven enemy
ships, totaling 34,957 tons, and damaged an additional 27,500 tons, despite persistent and violent hostile counter
measures. Through his excellent direction of these hazardous operations he enabled the GRAYLING to complete her
vital missions successfully without sustaining serious damage. Lieutenant Commander Lee's inspiring leadership and
the valiant devotion to duty of his command under extremely adverse conditions contributed immeasurably to the
efforts of our forces against a determined and desperate enemy and reflect great credit upon the United States Naval
Lee was then transferred to command the USS Croaker following the Grayling’s seventh patrol in
August. He was relieved by Robert M. Brinker. The Grayling continued to soldier on to a fateful end.
Grayling began her eighth and last war patrol in July from Fremantle commanded by Robert M.
Brinker. She made two visits to the coast of the Philippines, delivering supplies and equipment to
guerrillas at Pucio Point,Pandan Bay, Panay, 31 July and 23 August 1943. Cruising in the Philippines
area, Grayling recorded her last kill, the passenger-cargo Meizan Maru on 27 August in the Tablas
Strait, but was not heard from again after 9 September. She was scheduled to make a radio report on 12
September, which she did not, and all attempts to contact her failed. Grayling was officially reported
"lost with all hands" 30 September 1943.
On 27 August 1943, Japanese ships witnessed a torpedo attack, and the next day a surfaced submarine
was seen, both in the Tablas Strait area, and then on 9 September a surfaced American submarine was
seen inside Lingayen Gulf. All of these sightings correspond with Grayling's orders to patrol the
approaches to Manila. On 9 September 1943, Japanese passenger-cargo vessel Hokuan Maru reported a
submarine in shallow water west of Luzon. The ship made a run over the area and “noted an impact
with a submerged object.” No additional data are available.
No recorded Japanese attacks could have sunk Grayling. Her loss may have been operational or by an
unrecorded attack. The only certainty, therefore, is that Grayling was lost between 9 September and 12
September 1943 either in Lingayen Gulf or along the approaches to Manila. ComTaskFor71 requested a
transmission from Grayling on 12 September, but did not receive one.
Grayling was credited with five major kills, totaling 20,575 tons. All but the first of Grayling's eight war
patrols were declared "successful". She received six battle stars for World War II service.
USS Croaker (SS-246)
In August 1944, Lt. Cdr. John E. Lee was assigned command of the U.S.S. Croaker (SS-246) on its first
war patrol (and Lee's ninth) to the East China and Yellow seas. USS Croaker (SS/SSK/AGSS/IXSS-246),
was a Gato-class submarine.
Her keel was laid down on 1 April 1943 by Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut. She was
launched on 19 December 1943 (sponsored by the wife of Admiral William H. P. Blandy), and
commissioned on 21 April 1944 with LCDR John E. Lee in command. USS Croaker (SS-246) was a Gato-
class submarine and the last of the thin skinned boats or those having a pressure hull 5/8 inch thick
limiting diving depth to 300 feet. Croaker arrived at Pearl Harbor from New London in June 26, 1944.
On July 19, 1944, LCDR Lee making his ninth war patrol put to sea on Croaker’s first war patrol,
sailing to the East China and Yellow Seas. Chick Clarey in Pintado and the old hand John Lee (ex-
Grayling) in a new boat, Croaker, were sent to the East China Sea as a loosely coordinated twosome, and
together they sank five ships for 38,00 tons.
On the way to station, Admiral Lockwood sent them an Ultra on a convoy southbound from Japan to
the Bonins. Clarey and Lee made the intercept near Lot’s Wife, but neither was able to achieve attack
position, so after trailing and sending off contact reports to the boats in the Boinis, they took station
along the approaches to Nagasaki.
On August 4, 1944, Clarey saw a light cruiser that appeared to be going in and out of Nagasaki on
training cruises. He lay in wait, hoping it would come out the following day or the next, while Lee in
Croaker patrolled nearby.
With Clarey in Pintado off station due to a ship board accident, on August 7, 1944 about eleven o’clock
in the morning, John Lee in Croaker spotted the light cruiser coming out of Nagasaki for another
training cruise. It was zigzagging. He let it close to 1,300 yards and then fired four stern tubes. Some
hit and, Lee reported, “flames and water rose to the mast top.” Soon the ship began to settle by the
stern. While Lee took color movies through the periscope eyepiece, he heard a “tremendous explosion”
followed by breaking-up noises. Nagara, 5,700 tons, went to the bottom. In the next week, Lee sank
two more ships for 8,200 tons.
In a series of brilliantly successful attacks which won Croaker and her crew the Navy Unit Commendation medal,
she sank the Japanese Light Cruiser Nagara on August 7, 1944, about 35 nautical miles south of Nagasaki, Japan
in position 32º09'N, 129º53'E.
On August 14, 1944, LCDR Lee torpedoed and sank the Japanese auxiliary gunboat Daigen Maru No.7
(1289 GRT) south-west of Inchon, Korea in position 37º25'N, 125º12'E. USS Croaker torpedoed and
sank the Japanese auxiliary minesweeper Taito Maru (267 GRT) west of Korea in position 36º16'N,
125º49'E on August 16, 1944.
One day later on August 17, 1944 LCDR Lee torpedoed and sank the Japanese merchant cargo ship
Yamatero Maru (6862 GRT) off the west coast of Korea in position 35º33'N, 126º10'E. During this patrol,
she served as lifeguard during air strikes on the Bonins. She ended her first patrol on August 31, 1944
For this extraordinarily successful patrol Commander Lee was awarded a gold star in lieu of a second
Navy Cross Award. His citation reads, in part, … “for extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession as
Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. CROAKER (SS-246), on the FIRST War Patrol of that submarine during the
period 19 July 1944 to 31 August 1944, in enemy controlled waters of the East China Sea. Penetrating enemy air and
surface escort screens, Captain Lee maneuvered his ship into a favorable position to strike and launched bold torpedo
attacks to sink an enemy light cruiser of 5,100 tons. Continuing his aggressive actions, he directed further torpedo
attacks to sink three hostile ships, including a 10,000-ton tanker, for a total of 12,500 tons. Employing skillful
evasive tactics during severe enemy countermeasures, he succeeded in bringing the CROAKER safely to port without
serious injury to the ship or crew. Captain Lee's devotion to duty and inspiring leadership reflect the highest credit
upon himself and the United States Naval Service.”
On December 11, 1944, LCDR Lee’s second Navy Cross was presented to him by Admiral Chester
Nimitz (USNA 1905) in Pearl Harbor.
Croaker refitted at Midway between August 31 and September 23, 1944 when she sailed in a wolf pack
for the same area of the East China Sea and Yellow Sea on her second war patrol. Admiral Lockwood
sent a pack to the East China Sea led by the aggressive Moke Millican, ex-Thresher, bringing out a new
boat, Escola, with Blish Hills in Perch II and John Lee in Croaker as packmates. The pack got under way
in late September. On September 30, passing through the Bonins, Millican attacked a small gunboat
with his deck gun. On October 9, 1944 Lee in Croaker sank a 2,200 ton freighter, Shinki Maru, in the
East China Sea. On October 17, 1944, Millican reported to Hills in Perch that he was proceeding to the
mouth of Tsushima Strait. Nothing was ever heard from Millican again.
Again successful, Commander Lee making his tenth and final war patrol and the crew of the USS
Croaker torpedoed and sank the Japanese merchant cargo ship Shinki Maru (2211 GRT) west of Kyushu,
Japan in position 32º08'N, 129º51'E on October 9, 1944. Two weeks later on October 23, 1944, USS
Croaker torpedoed and sank the Japanese merchant cargo ship Hakuran Maru (887 GRT) in the Yellow
Sea, off the west coast of Korea in position 35º29'N, 126º05'E.
Commander Lee shadowed a convoy on October 24, 1944 and sank the Japanese army cargo ship
Mikage Maru (2741 GRT) and damaged the Japanese passenger/cargo ship Gassan Maru (4515 GRT)
south-west of Quelpart Island in position 33º00'N, 125º49'E with her last torpedo. Tubes empty, she
returned to Midway to fuel, and pushed on to Pearl Harbor, arriving for refit November 10, 1944.
Croaker refitted at Midway between 31 August and 23 September, when she sailed in a wolf pack for
the same area of the East China Sea and Yellow Sea on her second war patrol.
For this heroic feat, Commander Lee received a remarkable third award of the Navy Cross. His citation
reads, “The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Second Gold Star in lieu of a
Third Award of the Navy Cross to Commander John Elwood Lee (NSN: 0-63331), United States Navy, for
extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. CROAKER (SS-246), on
the SECOND War Patrol of that submarine during the period 23 September 1944 to 10 November 1944, in enemy
controlled waters of the East China Sea. Skillfully penetrating strong enemy escort screens, Commander Lee launched
seven vigorous night surface torpedo and gun attacks to sink four enemy ships totaling over 16,000 tons and damage
four additional vessels totaling over 11,000 tons. A bold tactician, Commander Lee avoided severe enemy
countermeasures and brought his ship safe to port, and his inspiring leadership and devotion to the fulfillment of this
hazardous patrol reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.”
Commander John E. Lee was relieved from the helm of the Croaker by Lt. Cdr. William B. Thomas on 10
November 1944. Croaker's third war patrol, in the Luzon Straits and South China Sea from 13
December 1944 to 12 February 1945, found her making no contacts with enemy shipping, but
providing essential lifeguard service during strikes on Luzon preparatory to the invasion landings in
Lingayen Gulf. She refitted at Fremantle, Australia, and on 12 March sailed for a fourth patrol off the
coast of Indo-China twice interrupted by the need to return to Australia for repairs. She refitted at
Subic Bay, P.I., between 22 April and 15 May, then sailed for her fifth war patrol, in the Java Sea. On
30 May she attacked a convoy of three small oilers guarded by an escort, with unconfirmed results, and
5 June returned to Fremantle. Her sixth and final war patrol, between 1 July and 13 August, found her
assigned to lifeguard duties in the South China Sea and off Hong Kong as the final series of air attacks
on Japan were carried out.
Returning to Subic Bay, Croaker sailed for Saipan and continued on to Galveston, Tex., and New
London, where she was decommissioned and placed in reserve 15 May 1946.
Along with the Navy United Commendation, Croaker received three battle stars for those of her war
patrols designated as "successful," the first, second, and fifth of her six. She is credited with having
sunk 19,710 tons of shipping.
Post World War II
Commander John E. Lee totaled some 15 confirmed ships sunk of approximately 63,457 tons. He was
credited with another 28,500 tons in damaged enemy shipping during his command of the Grayling and
the Croaker during seven successful wartime patrols. By the end of the war, Commander Lee had
received three Navy Crosses, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star, the defining decorations of a naval career
that saw him rise to rear admiral. Only about thirty people have ever won three Navy Crosses. USS
Croaker (SS-246) is now a museum ship in Groton, Connecticut.
Commander Lee’s war record was truly impressive. He was ranked 31 of 76 “Top Skippers of World
War II By Number of Confirmed Ships Sunk” (greater than five JANAC credited ships sunk). At the
time of the war, he was credited with 16 ships of 74,100 tons by his immediate superiors. Following the
war JANAC reduced the total to 9 ships for 28,562 tons.
In December 1945, Captain Lee received a special commendation for meritorious achievement in
operations against the Japanese from then Captain and later Rear Admiral Frank W. Fenno, Jr. (USNA
1925) in ceremonies at Tiburon, California. The commendation was recommended by Vice Admiral
Lockwood (USNA 1914). In 1946, Commander Lee was named aide to then Vice Admiral and later
Admiral Oldendorf (USNA 1909), the Commandant of the Eleventh Naval District, San Diego and
completed work for a master's degree in personnel administration at Stanford University. Commander
Lee’s next assignment was Commander of the Submarine Reserve Fleet for the Pacific Coast and Hawaii.
From 1950 to 1952, during the Korean War, Captain Lee was assigned to the Pentagon, serving as an
aide to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, John T. Koehelr.
From 1953 to 1956, Captain Lee was the Commanding Officer of the submarine base in New London,
Connecticut, where he officially accepted the world’s first nuclear powered vessel, the USS Nautilus
(SSN-571) commanded by Commander E. P Wilkinson. For Captain Lee, it marked the evolution of a
submarine career from the so-called "sweatboxes" of the 1930s to the latest in defense technology,
complete with the comforts of home.
Captain Lee finished his naval career as commander in San Diego of Submarine Flotilla 1, which
consisted at the time of 30 diesel-powered submarines, two submarine tenders and two rescue vessels.
Captain Lee was promoted to Rear Admiral upon retirement due to war record. A “Tombstone
Promotion” as it is called was a means of promoting combat-decorated officers of the United States
Navy to the next higher rank at the time of retirement. For instance, a retiring captain (O-6) who had a
Combat Award was actually advanced in grade on the retired list to the rank of rear admiral and wore
two stars although junior to all other one star officer of other services. The officer's retired pay was still
based on the O-6 rank so the advancement in grade resulted in no increase in retired pay. This practice
was discontinued in December 1959.
Although it is generally assumed this was a post World War II practice, it actually predated the War.
The United States Navy Regulations, 1920 with changes up to and including No. 19 1938 Article 1668
(3) stated: "All line officers of the Navy who have been specifically commended for their performance of
duty in actual combat ... are placed upon the retired list with the rank of the next higher grade and
with three-fourths of the active-duty pay of the grade in which serving at the time of retirement."
Upon his retirement in 1957, after 32 years of active naval service, he joined the investment firm of
Shearson Hammill and managed their first brokerage office in Rancho Santa Fe, California. He retired
in 1982 as a Vice President of Shearson American Express. He was a long time Rotarian; a member of
the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club; the Naval Submarine League; and the Submarine Veterans of WWII.
For three years he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Rancho Santa Fe Association, serving
as its president in 1970 through 1971.
His first wife Gwendolyn Dickinson Lee died in 1983. He was survived by his second wife Marcia A.
Lee of Rancho Santa Fe, California; his sister Margaret Lee Newnam of Wilmington, Delaware;
daughter Gwendolyn Platt of Escondido, California; son John Dickinson Lee of San Diego;
grandchildren Roger J. Platt; Wayne C. Platt and Anne Lee Platt; and great-grandchildren Raymond J.
Platt; Ryan A. Platt and Richard J. Platt.
Active in his community, he served in 1970 and 1971 as president of the Rancho Santa Fe Association
and was a three-year member of its board of directors. He furthered his military connections with
memberships in the Naval Submarine League and the Submarine Veterans of World War II.
Rear Admiral Lee passed away on January 5, 2002 in San Diego. A memorial service and internment
was held January 11, 2002 at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
Gregg Overbreck, historian of the U.S.Naval Academy researched this account of Admiral Lee
USS Croaker Postscript
Recommissioned on 7 May 1951, she served as school ship out of New London until 18 March 1953,
when she was again decommissioned at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for conversion to a hunter-killer
submarine. She was reclassified SSK-246 on 9 April 1953, and was recommissioned on 11 December
1953. Returning to active duty in February 1954, she operated along the East Coast and in the
Caribbean, visiting ports in England while taking part in NATO exercises in 1957 and 1958.
Croaker was reclassified SS-246 again in August 1959. Special submarine exercises took her to England
once more in February 1960, after which she resumed local operations out of New London. In
September 1960, Croaker departed on a cruise which saw her sailing through the Mediterranean and
Suez Canal to call at various Near Eastern ports and Karachi, Pakistan. She returned to New London
in mid-December, retracing her outward track.
She was reclassified Auxiliary Submarine AGSS-246 in May 1967. Decommissioned for the last time on
2 April 1968, Croaker was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 20 December 1971 and reclassified
Miscellaneous Unclassified Submarine IXSS-246 in December 1971. From 1977 to 1987, Croaker was
displayed as a private attraction in Groton, Connecticut by the Submarine Memorial Association until
the Navy revoked its agreement with the group citing a requirement for historical preservation of the
vessel. Since 1988, Croaker has served as a museum ship at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval &
Military Park in Buffalo, New York.
Croaker was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on 12 September 2008.
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