USS Cod Submarine Memorial

USS Cod Submarine Memorial


Our funeral tribute to HRH the Duke of Edinburgh went off like clockwork today thanks to our crew. Honoring this major benefactor of historic ship preservation was a unique way to kick off our 2021 season and attracted excellent media attention and many visitors to USS Cod. Our three-volley tribute capped off a reading of the last six lines of John Masefield's poem 'Sea Fever' which captures the importance of preserving our ships.
Just wondering how soon until Cod goes for her drydocking? Should be a big media event!
Changing of the guard at the Cleveland naval reserve center in the summer of 1959. USS Gar (SS 206) was the first sub training boat in town beginning in 1947. With so many extra fleet subs on hand the Navy periodically upgraded the trainers with more modern boats, hence a pre-war Gar class was replaced with a late-war Gato (Cod) in 1959. Sadly Gar and Tambor (stationed in Detroit) were towed to Ashtabula and scrapped. In 1971 Cod was herself slated to be replaced by USS Sea Owl (Guppy Balao), but the reserve program was terminated that year. Our organization began a five-year-long process of obtaining custody of Cod as a memorial ship. Now 62 years later we look at these almost mint subs and cry at the lost opportunity for another memorial boat or at least irreplaceable parts for Cod. The two veterans were moored together at Cod's current dock for a month or so before Gar was taken to the breakers.
One of the fun things about the off season aboard Cod (we're only open on Saturdays until May) is providing opportunities for folks who can't be in town on weekends to see our sub. This was the case with Brayden and his mom from Minnesota. They're in town visiting the Cleveland Clinic and Brayden discovered Cod was in the harbor. Being a great mom she called to see if something could be arranged. It just so happened that we were doing some work aboard Cod on Tuesday afternoon so we made it happen. Now we have a two new friends up north!
Saturday brought sunshine if not warm breezes and with it a busy day aboard Cod. We hosted a tour by cub scouts as well as a field trip by members of the Chicago Base USSVI from Illinois, who were joined by members of the local sub vet chapter. The fine weather and activity attracted a steady flow of other visitors who made for a very profitable first day of the 2021 season. Let's hope it continues.
The time has come for us to take the major restoration step of replacing the 9x9-inch tiles that cover the decks in Cod's crew living compartments with sheet flooring. In Navy service these decks were covered with dark green linoleum. In the early 1960s the linoleum was replaced by tile, but its brittle nature meant that every winter tiles would crack and chip. In 1988, without knowing what originally was on the decks, we simply installed all new tiles. But after 33 years of chipping and cracking, and with knowledge of what originally covered the decks, we are moving forward with Operation Rubber! We're going to use dark green sheet rubber flooring in place of Linoleum because it wears far longer. We're blessed to have two sheets of the original linoleum aboard, virtually untouched since 1942. These two squares were used as a writing surface in the two battery cell voltage test panels. Now we must match the color as closely as possible with the new rubber! In the mean time our decks will be a hodgepodge of cracked tile and vinyl runners. We're going to do the installation inhouse so it will take a while to complete.
Recently obtained the image on the left from a Cod veteran who was aboard in 1951 showing a friend in the crew's mess. Took the image on the right 70 years later of a current crewman in the same spot. If maritime preservation is done right you don't notice many, if any, differences in the background.
My father was an electronic technician on the USS COD in the early 50's
USS Cod was saved from the scrap yard by a diverse group of people. Some gave money while others gave of their talent. While each has a unique story to tell, none can compare with Carl Lillis, Cod's first PR director and a trustee. Born in Windsor, Canada he joined the CRAF in WWII and went to Britain to serve as tail gunner in the big Lancaster bombers. Carl said that the bomber crews were all Canadian and the ground crews were Brits. When he asked why he was told that all the Brits had already been shot down! Carl was the sole survivor of his aircraft when it exploded over Bavaria in January 1945 on a night mission. He survived only because he had an experimental gun mount that replaced the Perspex bubble with trap doors that allowed the gun mount to slide out into the open air. Apparently the shine of the plastic was a hindrance to seeing aircraft in the dark. The pilot told everyone to put on their parachutes because they smelled gasoline in the aircraft. Lillis' chute was clipped to the bulkhead beside him. Just as he had it halfway on the plane exploded and he was blown through the spring-loaded doors into the night sky. Tumbling in the darkness he managed to put the chute fully on and open it. He landed in a snow storm minus a boot. His Maewest and some parachute cord made a suitable temporary shoe. He was taken prisoner by a burger meister a day or two lafter and spent the remaining months of the war being shuttled around Germany locked in train cars with other POWs. He said they were constantly under attack by the USAAF by day and the RAF/RCAF by night. I asked him what he did under attack by friendly forces. He replied that when the air raid sirens when off the men would begin cheering and taunting the Germans scrambling for shelter. After the war he moved to Cleveland and started an advertising firm. Seeing Cod in peril, he joined the fight to save the sub. Carl passed away in 1986. This is a picture of the standard tailgunner installation on a Lancaster... one that would have doomed Carl to the same fate as the other heroes aboard his plane.
The Lang-Sherman ice cream maker -- engineered for use aboard fleet subs in WWII... because it took more than atomic bombs and radar to win the war! ♥️ Early ice cream makers purchased by submarine mess officers proved to be both extremely popular with the crews and very unreliable. The Navy took note of both factors and contracted with the Philadelphia-based food service appliance manufacturer to come up with a custom machine capable of coming down a submarine hatch and produce enough soft-serve ice cream to feed the crew. A liquid mix was poured into the refrigerated bowl and out came the dessert. Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors were available but no matter the flavor selection, the outcome always had a tiny hint of hydraulic fluid. But nobody ever complained. Cod's machine was restored to operation in AD 2000 by local trade school students. The machines were installed inside the crew's berthing compartment, outside the door to the mess. The lack of such machines aboard the old S-class subs led their crews to derisively call those serving aboard the big luxurious fleet subs "ice cream sailors!"
"Attention all hands! There will be a tea party for princesses in the wardroom at 1400 hours... that is all." OK, not really ... but we've had plenty of tea parties in the ward room to explain life aboard submarines to youngsters. Our hands-on approach to the wardroom has worked well over the decades with exception of a few bites in the prop apples. We look forward to seeing more folks of all ages aboard once the weather warms up.

USS Cod Submarine Memorial is a restored WW II Gato class sub that honors the men and women of the US Armed Forces. Cod is open for public tours daily from May 1 to Sept. 30 and on Saturdays in October and November.

Visit The Memorial is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit in the State of Ohio

The USS Cod Submarine Memorial is a WWII submarine and National Historic Landmark located in Cleveland’s North Coast Harbor. She is maintained and operated as a memorial to the more than 3900 submariners who lost their lives during the history of the United States Navy Submarine Force. The public is invited to visit the boat from 10am-5pm daily between May 1 and September 30 each year. School field trips and group tours are encouraged and can be arranged by telephone at 216-566-8770, or via e-mail at [email protected].

Temporarily closed

Photos from USS Cod Submarine Memorial's post 05/04/2021

Two views of two conning towers taken 62 years apart aboard USS Gar (left) and USS Cod. There is little difference in size between the Gar class tower and the late Gato visible in these pictures but the arrangement of equipment is different (no two subs had identical conning tower arrangements). The newly arrived radars in Gar had to be squeezed into the 8-ft diameter (17-ft long) chamber. Placement was largely up to shipyard expediency and the preferences of the captain. In this image Gar's SJ surface search radar displays (both an A-scope and PPI) are mounted on the port side center... just forward of the TDC and below the torpedo firing switch boxes (in the same location aboard both subs). Gar's scopes remained cable-hoist her entire life while Cod got the hydraulic upgrade in 1944. Gar is missing the safety rail around the hatch to the control room and didn't get the air conditioning booster unit above the helm. Motor order telegraph placement is identical but like many other subs in WWII, Gar's crew painted the forward end of the tower black in an effort to reduce light reflections up the bridge hatch when surfaced at night. What other differences or similarities can you spot? The Gar image was taken when she arrived in Ashtabula, Ohio in 1959 to begin scraping alongside USS Tambor.

Photos from USS Cod Submarine Memorial's post 05/01/2021

Details, details... Traffic was slow yesterday so I wandered the boat taking close-ups of things that I like and that I wanted to share...

Photos from USS Cod Submarine Memorial's post 04/25/2021

We took delivery of ten replacement torpedo tube muzzle door gaskets from a Cleveland company to replace those installed by the Navy while Cod was in service. These expensive rubber rings are critical to ensuring the watertight integrity of the six tubes that are below water level. Our crew installed one on the outer door of tube 2 to develop experience in installation methods and to test their fit. The others will be installed when Cod is in drydock this summer.


USS Cod will fire a deck gun salute and conduct a short tribute on deck at 3 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, April 17 to mark the funeral of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh which will take place in Windsor Castle on Saturday at 3 p.m. BST.

Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II for almost 74 years, was a WWII officer in the Royal Navy and is being honored by maritime preservationists around the world for his long-standing support for historic ship preservation. Prince Philip joined historians in 1953 who were working to save the 1869-vintage British clipper ship Cutty Sark from destruction. By lending his royal title and helping raise money, the Cutty Sark was preserved.

USS Cod is a proud member of an international group of historic ships that have been saved through the financial support of citizens in their home countries. It is fitting that Cod join in the traditional gun salute that is occurring throughout the UK today to mark his passing. The ceremony on USS Cod is open to the public and will include a bagpipe presentation.

USS Cod will fire a deck gun salute and conduct a short tribute on deck at 3 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, April 17 to mark the funeral of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh which will take place in Windsor Castle on Saturday at 3 p.m. BST.

Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II for almost 74 years, was a WWII officer in the Royal Navy and is being honored by maritime preservationists around the world for his long-standing support for historic ship preservation. Prince Philip joined historians in 1953 who were working to save the 1869-vintage British clipper ship Cutty Sark from destruction. By lending his royal title and helping raise money, the Cutty Sark was preserved.

USS Cod is a proud member of an international group of historic ships that have been saved through the financial support of citizens in their home countries. It is fitting that Cod join in the traditional gun salute that is occurring throughout the UK today to mark his passing. The ceremony on USS Cod is open to the public and will include a bagpipe presentation.


We are working on the periscope hydraulic system this weekend and crewman Alex Vertosnik made this time lapse video of his results in lubricating and exercising the scopes in Cod's conning tower. Dont try this in February when the temperature is hovering around 18-deg F. Weekend tempers are now about 80 deg F. Good job Cod crew!

Photos from USS Cod Submarine Memorial's post 04/08/2021

Cod crew is keeping busy this spring before we open for daily tours on May 1. Crewman Dr. Jon Bradrick, recently retired from a distinguished career at the VA hospital, put his medical skills to work by volunteering at a vaccination center at Tri-C Western Campus. BZ to our sawbones who wore his Cod hat at the outdoor vaccination site. Jon says the Cod cap was a big hit with the vets showing up for their shots! We opened our gates last evening to the Cleveland Firefighters Pipe and Drum band so they could record a birthday tribute to one of the two remaining USS Arizona survivors. The vet is turning 100 this week and patriot groups across the nation are recording birthday greetings for him. We did ours two weeks ago. Alex Vertosnik took advantage of 80-deg sunshine by climbing into the shears to grease the scopes. Our maintenance team is putting finishing touches on reorganizing our storage facility at the Nike Missile Site in Bratenhal. How long the newly created vacant space will last is anyone's guess. 😎


The "Operation Seawolf" crew has packed up and moved to their next city for filming. We really enjoyed working with this group of talented professionals and meeting actor Dolph Lundgren was pretty cool too. Some folks have asked just what we did, beyond providing extras to handled the torpedo. Well our main job was to provide a suitable working environment aboard a sub in the middle of a February snow storm. We did our best to keep the critical areas warm enough to work in while protecting the boat from unintended damage. We decided that we would also provide a warm refuge in the crews mess with beverages and snacks for everyone. I'm proud to say that worked out well. Now we're getting ready for the next part of our 2021 season. Our trip to drydock will come when the shipyard completes their important work for their regular clients in April. So until the folks in Erie say "we're ready for you!" we'll see how many visitors are interested in touring Cod. Last year we got about one-fifth of our visitor traffic and indications are that this year will only be slightly better. But we've got a helluva good crew and we're ready for the challenges we will face in the uncharted waters ahead!


How about some nice views of Cod's battle gaff holding Old Glory as she snaps in the chilly winds blowing in off Lake Erie. In port the flag flies at the stern but at sea it is flown from the shears on a gaff mounted on the SD air search radar mast. This flag is being flown as a gift for a deserving patriot.


Yes... we had to go there...🤣!
Thanks Michelle ♥️


We're proud to pass along the news that our shipmate Kyle Wadley will attend OCS in April in pursuit of a Surface Warfare Badge in his Navy career. Kyle is a bright guy who has been a tremendous help aboard Cod in the last two years in a variety of roles and especially as we prepared for our upcoming drydocking. Good luck in the modern Navy Kyle! Fair winds and following seas!


Dead of winter once meant that Cod was locked up and lonely. Not any more! In addition to frequent Admiral's Tours we were honored to host a visit by the Ohio Valley Chief Winter Selectees. The 10 future Navy chiefs were a great group to show Cod off to, since they know port from starboard and much more! Good luck to our chief selectees as they move ahead in their Navy careers!


1953 underway refueling from USS Fulton in the Caribbean. This is our restoration target for Cod: she was 99.5% WWII with a couple of small postwar modifications. Captain Francis Rich is on the bridge (starboard side) to ensure that the operation is a success. Cod was part of a group of Gato boats reactivated to help train NATO anti submarine forces. In this role she was credited with sinking a carrier in LantFlex'52.


We were very proud today to present Alan Winkler with the Museumships Bravo Zulu Challenge Coin award for his 20+ years of volunteer work aboard USS Cod Submarine Memorial. Director Paul Farace (left) presented Alan with the award and challenge coin at the foot of Cod's brow, behind which is parked the 1945 Hanson Torpedo Truck that Alan was was instrumental in restoring. It is the only operating vehicle of it's kind remaining. Cod salutes MuseumShips for their wonderful effort to recognize the importance of volunteers in preserving our maritime history!


Storage facilities are admittedly not as s*xy as a submarine to most folks... but not to us. We're extremely grateful that we are able to use Building 13, the former nuclear warhead maintenance facility at a former Nike missile site in Cleveland, as a place to store our exhibits, equipment, supplies and shop inventory. Built in the mid 1950s by the Army, the building was in need of paint inside and out. We are tackling the interior this winter and will spruce up the exterior next summer. The walls were painted in the last color scheme used by previous tenants. The floor and vehicle door look great in a new coat of haze gray. The main challenge is moving the shelving and inventory around the room to access walls and floor areas to paint. Repairs to door frames and windows will hopefully seal out mice and insects once and for all.


Today's commemoration of the attack on Pearl Harbor, held aboard USS Cod Submarine Memorial, went very well thanks to the participation of the local chapter of the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors and the American Legion Post 572 Honor Guard. A big BZ also goes out to the Cod crew and members of USSVI Cod Base who also supported the brief wreath laying ceremony.


Now that "Hell Under the Sea" is running on NatGeo we can share some of our perspectives of the week-plus shoot aboard Cod. At one point during the filming the script called for a crewman to use a battle lantern while inspecting a sub without power. On Cod we don't keep batteries in our battle lanterns to prevent corrosion. The director said he'd substitute a MagLite (modern flashlight)! Well this is Cod and we couldn't let that happen. Since the film crew was about to take a dinner break I asked Dave Krejci, one of our restoration and maintenance crew, if he could quickly rig a battle lantern to work. He considered the challenges involved, which included the fact that we had no old fashioned dry cells. The modern batteries we did have produced voltages that were greater than the original bulb installed could handle. So some jury rigging was in order, including reworking the switch. While the rest of us chowed down, Dave, with assistance from Cod curator Barrett Sharpnack, worked feverishly to modify a WWII lantern to use modern cells and bulb. Just as the film crew was about to begin shooting the scene the Cod men arrived in the control room with a functional battle lantern. The result of their labor is presented here. Our boat is in great shape thanks to the dedication of her crew! BZ!


A warship thousands of miles behind enemy lines has to stay on station and mechanical breakdowns can't affect the mission. US Navy ships have always been renowned for their outfit of machine tools and highly skilled machinist mates who can produce repair parts that might not already be in ships stores. That also holds true for the WWII fleet sub. Huge by the standards of the day, the Navy had a challenge in squeezing a modest-sized Sebastian company lathe and a variety of tooling for boring and milling into the sub's maneuvering room. According to Aaron Rode, Cod's talented machinist, these lathes are surprisingly versatile in their ability to make a wide range of items. Aaron took on the task of making Cod's lathe ready for its next job: missing tooling was collected and installed on the machine. He placed a segment of phosphor-bronze stock in the chuck with a cutting tool ready to turn out a bushing. It's not the s*xiest restoration aboard our sub, but a wonderful detail that a few keen-eyed visitors will appreciate. Any vet out there who has a story about making a life-saving part on their sub's lathe please share!


ALL HANDS STAND BY TO PROVISION SHIP! The crew of USS Cod Submarine Memorial wishes all our shipmates around the world a happy Thanksgiving. And please remember where you stow the cranberry sauce!


Last year we were helping produce the National Geographic series "Hell Under the Sea." The production company assembled a large cast of reenactors to illustrate a variety of famous WWII submarine incidents. During some of the down time I realized one of the reenactors portraying a steward was literally doing exactly what our WWII steward was photographed doing... passing through the door onto the forward torpedo room. Its not sinking an aircraft carrier but for us in the moment it was fun and a touching tribute to a Cod crewman. Big difference in image quality between a 1945 4x5 press camera with flash and ISO 100 speed film and a Samsung camera phone with ISO 5,000 capture. Check out "Hell Under the Sea" on your NatGeo cable channel.


Visiting sub memorials you may hear about the bunks suspended under the torpedo loading hatches. They're hard to see because most subs had these areas cut open for stairs. They might have been reserved for stewards mates or for for the senior man in either torpedo room. I was told by the old WWII crew that all the extra headroom and nobody stepping on these bunks to get to their rack was the reason they were called the presidential suite or the penthouse. But some boats late in the war had a vent riser redesign that allowed for two suspended racks. These were called the bridal suite or the honeymoon suite. I witnessed one old WWII subvet correct a comrade who mistakenly called Cod's single bunk a honeymoon suite. His stinging reaction was "I don't know what kind of a honeymoon you have with one tiny bunk!" So we follow the details on Cod... we have penthouses or presidential suites. Torsk and her Trench class sisters had bridal suites.


A big salute to the veterans of the USS Cod on veterans day. Your service and sacrifices provided us with incalculable gifts of freedom and liberty. Thank you!


Let's talk about radar on subs in WWII. Thanks to the great crew aboard USS Cobia in Manitowoc, WI we have a functional SJ-5 radar set to look at. It's the oldest operating search radar and according to the volunteer who rebuilt it... also the least power efficient. The fleet subs at war with Japan were outfitted with a surface search set (SJ, or sometimes called Sugar Jake) and the air search SD set. The radars were constantly being updated and Cod is equipped with the late war SJ-5 and SD-5 models. In 1944 an X-band radar, called the ST, was added to a modified search periscope to provide precise range to target. The SJ radar had two display screens next to each other in the conning tower. They are an A scope (a horizontal oscilloscope display allowing for precise target interpretation) and the PPI (Plan Position Indicator) that gave the crew a God's eye view of the situation. This "sweeping arm around the dial" is what we think of when we think of a radar. Like any new technology it took a while to learn to effectively use the data and to keep the sets working in the less than ideal submarine environment. The SD aircraft set was located in the control room, near the radio shack. Its tiny 1.8-inch diameter A-scope display could only indicate whether an air contact was coming toward or away from the sub's dipole antenna, no directional information was possible. IFF circuits could indicate whether the threat was enemy or friendly. The SD dipole could raise and lower like a periscope, giving an added measure of security when surfacing. Maximum range was 40-thousand yards. The SJ range depended on target size but accurate results could easily be obtained at ranges of 20-thousand yards. Very late in the war some new subs were equipped with SV and SS radars that combined increased air and search capabilities and provided the basis for early cold war radar systems. But the SD, SJ and ST sets won the war in the Pacific. Note the U Boats and Japanese subs had no radar.

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Admission charges are: Adults $12; Seniors and Veterans $10; Students (K thru 12) $7; Children under 6 years (must be accompanied by paying adult), military in uniform, and wives and family of active duty submariners are admitted free.



1201 N Marginal Rd
Cleveland, OH

General information

USS Cod is docked on N. Marginal Rd., between East 9th St., and Burke Lakefront Aiport on Cleveland's Northcoast Harbor.

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 10:00 - 17:00
Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday 10:00 - 17:00
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