SS-481 - First Crew Insignia
SS-481 - First Crew Insignia
SS-481: 1945 to 1948 - The Early Years
SSR-481: 1948 to 1959 - Life as a Radar Picket
SS-481 - 1959-1968: Fleet Snorkel (Second Calling as an  attack submarine)

Now on display in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the REQUIN has enjoyed a storied and interesting life not only as an active submarine in the US Navy, but also as a museum piece. Neglected in Tampa, Florida in the late 1980s, she was rescued by the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, where the submarine serves as a focal point in science education and as a significant part of Pittsburgh's landscape.

REQUIN's commissioning wardroomUSS REQUIN was commissioned on April 28, 1945 at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in New Hampshire. One of the 80 Tench-class hulls planned, REQUIN was one of 25 actually built and one of only two surviving examples. Externally, REQUIN was similar to her sister submarines of the Gato and Balao classes, except for the squared-off forefoot. Internally, however, was where many of the changes from the earlier two classes of fleet submarines were incorporated. In the beginning, REQUIN carried the normal armament for a fleet sub. Equipped with six torpedo tubes forward and four aft, REQUIN could initially carry a total of 24 torpedoes (ten torpedoes in the tubes, 6 forward and 4 aft, plus 14 reloads). On deck, perhaps because her first skipper was one of the most decorated submarine commanders, Commander Slade D. Cutter, REQUIN carried heavier armament than usual. In addition to the two 5 inch/25 caliber deck guns (one forward and one aft of the conning tower), REQUIN also carried two 40 mm rapid fire cannons, which were mounted on the forward and aft cigarette decks on the conning tower. As an experiment, REQUIN also carried two 24-tube 5-inch rocket launchers, which were to have been used in an offshore bombardment capacity for the supposed invasion of the Japanese home islands.

REQUIN entering Pearl HarborREQUIN, though, would not get to use her weapons in anger. After completing a period of training off Panama in June of 1945, REQUIN made her way from the Canal Zone to Pearl Harbor, where she began preparations for her first war patrol. In port on August 15, 1945, the crew of REQUIN received word that World War II was over, just three days before she was to leave on her first war patrol. After taking part in ceremonies marking the end of the war, REQUIN received orders to return to the United States and become part of the Atlantic Fleet. Arriving in Staten Island in late September 1945, REQUIN began what would be "a dull and boring assignment", in the words of Slade Cutter, which lasted almost one year, essentially becoming a target for sonar school ships.

REQUIN's crew in Baltimore, October 1945 REQUIN's conning tower with insignia
REQUIN pulling into Key West

Three photos from early in REQUIN's career:

The photo at top left shows REQUIN's crew getting ready to march down Pratt Street (I think) in Baltimore, during the Navy Day Parade in October, 1945.

The top right photo shows a view of REQUIN's conning tower, with the crew insignia on the side.

The photo at left shows REQUIN pulling into Key West...sometime in 1946. (Courtesy of Don Belden)

In October 1946, Commander George Street, a Medal of Honor winner during the war, took over as REQUIN's commanding officer. With this change in command, REQUIN would also receive a new assignment, one in which she would operate for the next 12 to 13 years.

© 2018 by Jim Mandelblatt - Questions? Comments?? Email