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 www.usscod.org
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].
Mission: To preserve and interpret USS Cod for future generations of Americans.
May 10, 1944 USS Cod delivers her biggest blow to the enemy when she slips into the midst of a 35-ship convoy at dawn near Manila Harbor. Firing all forward tubes at several rows of cargo ships, CO James Dempsey spins his periscope aft to see the IJN DD Karukya crossing his stern in preparation to attack. Seconds later Cod's stern fish blast the DD in half, sending 134 men to their death. Before he can lower his scope Dempsey sees a smoke marker hit the water just feet from Cod's position, dropped from a plane overhead. Diving deep and running for 15 minutes at maximum speed (losing a quarter of its battery life) Cod narrowly avoids a massive barrage of depth charges and aerial bombs. Sonar hears multiple ships breaking up in the convoy as other escorts race in for the kill. For the next 15 hours Cod must play cat and mouse with the enemy to survive as the air slowly becomes foul and the battery runs down. Then just before sunset she surfaces in the middle of a nearby rainstorm and makes her escape. Recently Dempsey's family shared letters from the CO of Karukya written to his American adversary in 1965. The Japanese CO survived the sinking and had spent the post war years visiting the families of his crew to offer his condolences.
Bread is the staff of life... even more so aboard a sub. And it was baked in the galley ovens on the mid watch (12 to 4 am) by the cook's. The aroma of baking bread is fondly remembered by most submariners. Cod's galley holds bins of flour, sugar, salt as well as a Hobart A-120 mixer for bread making. In the vintage picture Cod's cook George Sacco is in the galley baking bread (dough can be seen rising in pans under his elbow). Once baked, bread had to cool, but where? One of the eight bench seats in the mess, located nearest the AB hatch, features air holes that allowed the hot, moist bread to cool without molding. But George was a commercial baker before the war and his bread production exceeded the capacity of the bench. His solution was to convert a general locker beside the scullery into an additional bread locker by the addiction of a screened vent in the door. To bring that story to life we've cleaned out the bench bread locker and stocked it with prop bread. Our tour guides will have a new aspect of sub life to share with our visitors when they hopefully show up in June.
We've been testing various mask and social distancing strategies aboard USS Cod Submarine Memorial during the pandemic. And being Cod we tend to try to do the very best in everything, but maybe we've gone a bit farther than necessary. Cod COB Darrel Flint asked for a report on how the testing went, but all the helmeted crewman could say was “Are you a turtle?" We're hoping to be open by June 1 if the governor sees fit...
The governor demands we stay closed for the time being so we're using our visitor-free time to complete some restoration and maintenance work below decks. Cod COB Darrel Flint tackled painting the electrical cubicle in maneuvering, a job that's impossible to do if visitors are touring. Topside, volunteer Pat Kellogg is tending our flower beds so the grounds will be colorful when the public is allowed to venture out of quarantine. We hope to be open for tours by mid May.
75 years ago today death came to USS Cod twice in 24 hours as she patrolled the north end of the Formosa Straight. Seaman Andrew Gordon Johnson of Staten Island, NY was washed overboard at night with shipmate Quartermaster Larry Foley while they were responding to a torpedo fire in the after room. The burning torpedo came within seconds of exploding before it was ejected overboard while lookouts searched the dark waters for the men. Sadly after more than six hours searching, and nearly being bombed by a friendly plane, only Foley could be rescued. Unable to swim, Johnson was kept afloat by Foley for hours until exhaustion separated them and Johnson drowned. Later the next day death returned to the sub again when a Japanese prisoner aboard Cod, Petty Officer Arema, died from wounds he sustained when depthcharges aboard his own ship exploded after Cod torpedoed it. Among his personal effects was a picture of him with his mother and brother. Two mothers would suffer the ultimate loss on opposite sides of the world. In 2018, two days after we decided to install a memorial bench to honor Johnson, his family contacted us for the first time, out of the blue. Tell me that's a coincidence! Sadly the Wuhan pandemic dashed our hopes of formally honoring the loss of these two mothers today... but here we can cause to remember our lost shipmate and two mother's agony.
With a break in the snow and cold we got to work on prepping Cod for an avalanche of visitors on May 1, our opening day... (we can always hope)! Volunteer Mike Patena installed new PVC water line on the dock with help from Dave and Darrel. The improved water lines will last longer and will support our outdoor handwashing sinks. Inside the ticket booth hand sanitizer and disposable gloves are stocked for use come the opening day crowds.
Muskogee War Memorial Park - Home of the USS Batfish
Saturation levels have been high over the past several weeks and it almost seems a week cannot go by without a storm or two hitting. Let's say that we will do anything for the Batfish, but we would prefer not to play in the flood again!
We greatly appreciate our Batfish Amateur Radio Club for getting together and helping us provide some measures to give us a fighting chance in the event of a flood before the Batfish is stabilized.
COVID has caused a delay in the process, but we are hopefully that FEMA funding will come through soon! Until then though, we have a few extra lines up and some extra clamps to give us the edge!
We are still accepting donations to help us do projects like this and more! If you can donate we could greatly appreciate it!
If you cannot, a share is good!
#honorthebrave #lovethesub #BATFISHARC
Addendum to the previous post: here is a close up of the knife cuts in the steel counter edge that provided clues as to the length of the replica cutting board surface in Cod's galley. The other pictures illustrate the deep fryer, the Hobart A120 mixer and the coffeemaker. No. 10 cans from institutional food service companies (they haven't changed their labels much in 60+ years) and prop foods complete the restoration. But beware, prop food is like a man's toupee... it's a silly joke if not done right!
Restoration of a WWII ship can be like a crime scene investigation. One of Cod's cooks once mentioned that the forward counter had a fitted wood cutting board work surface. I knew the depth the replacement cutting board should be, but not how long it extended along the counter. Our cook, George Sacco, couldn't recall how long it extended either. But during our phone conversation he suggested I look for knife cut marks on the counter edge to determine where it ended. When I got to the sub I quickly discovered knife cuts in the stainless steel edge that I had never noticed before! Apparently junior cooks had to be warned not to cut against the steel edge to preserve the knife blade! It stopped just short of the can opener ... as did the knife cuts.
US submarine officers enjoyed a standard of comfort unparalleled in the world in a fleet sub of WWII. The boats provided three stewardmates who served food prepared in the galley from a small but well equipped pantry to the ward room. The only thing made in the pantry was coffee and toast. In addition to their own head and shower officers enjoyed their own bunks with bed service provided by the stewards. Wardroom amenities included an RBO entertainment radio and phonograph along with two additional bunks if the number of officers exceeded the stateroom capacity. Staterooms provided sinks and drawers and some include writing desks. The wardroom table was the center of the officers' off-duty hours, providing white linen meal service, a green gaming felt for card games and a vinyl cover for general paperwork and other uses. The ships ironing board could be laid across it to serve as a makeshift operating table.
Here doggie doggie...
Or deptharge dogs to be precise. Inspected Cod today with several other crew and took the opportunity to get images of the wartime hold-downs known as depthcharge dogs (clamps) that prevented the hatches from lifting off their seats during an explosion. We use one of the hatch cleats on each hatch for our lockout system. One dog is still in place in the AER trunk, hanging loose below its attachment point on the inside of the hatch. The two dogs on the CT upper hatch are shown locked in place and hanging loose. They have stowage cleats on the CT overhead when not in place on the hatch.
The typical US fleet submarine of WWII was always being improved as wartime experience revealed problems in the overall excellent design of the boats. One weakness discovered involved the hatches. The explosive force of enemy depthcharges was accompanied by a similarly powerful suction force that could lift a tightly dogged hatch off its flange, resulting in flooding. The answer was to add additional hold-down connection rods to the inside of the hatches that anchored to the inner walls of the trunks. These were called depthcharge dogs. The hatch anchor points are painted green and located at 11 and 1 o'clock in this picture of our escape trunk hatch. To increase survival in really bad deptharge attacks a second flage was added to the bottom of the access trunks that permitted the attachment of a second hatch to prevent flooding in the event the main hatch was badly damaged. The lower hatch, called a doubler plate, had a hatch that was just big enough for a crewman to squeeze through. It could be removed when the boat was not in the war zone. The doubler for our after engine room trunk is stowed on the after bulkhead. The conning tower and escape trunk didn't need doublers because they had lower hatches, but they received the dogs. The torpedo loading hatches couldn't accommodate secondary hatches so instead they had eight dogs added to the circumference of their hatches to resist suction force.
And now for a bit of funny history from 1993: We got a call from Domino's Pizza to ask if they could use Cod as a backdrop to launch a line of sub sandwiches. For the honor of having a presser at a National Historic Landmark sub the company agreed to donate $1,000 and two box top promotion coupons on local pizza boxes. The day arrived along with corporate big wigs, 100 sub sandwiches and a giant check for a grand. We invited the Coast Guard base next door for some free chow and to provide a crowd. What didn't show up was the media. Something big happened in town that day and pulled the reporters away. The sandwiches got served to hungry coasties and the franchise owner presented the big check to our director Dr. John Fakan. What didn't happen was the presentation of a real bank check! But hey, its Domino's, they're good for it... right?
Weeks went by and nothing appeared in the mail, despite diplomatic calls to the franchise owner. Then one day the secretary asked us not to call anymore... My boss, ever the nice guy, asked me to play the bad cop. Mess with my sub and you get a full spread of torpedoes. I called corporate and asked for the president's fax number. His secretary asked why. I told her I wanted him to see the press release I had written to national media explaining how a memorial to dead sailors was being cheated out of a donation. The CEO got on the line a moment later. A real check was soon in the mail. We even got the coupons although late in our season (very poor performance). Within a year the sandwich line was discontinued and we learned never to accept just a big check.
Cod's forward escape trunk access steps as they are for visitor access and as it would be if not modified. Even the handrails our test subject is using wouldn't be there. The Navy cut away the deck plate surrounding the hatch some time in the 1960s. We replicated the missing plate for movie and documentary filming. Having that deck section in place during regular visitation would be a major head-banging obstacle for boat access. Our orginal access system is shared by USS Razorback in Arkansas.
With the lock down extension now to the end of April we begin to be directly impacted by the Wuhan Virus through the loss of our April Saturdays. However we truly regret the terrible damage being inflicted on our sister ships that are open year-round with large crews on payroll. But when we think of the role our ships were built to serve... and consider the sacrifices made by their wartime crews and those who constructed these magnificent ships, our hearts and souls are steadied if not steeled... we can deal with anything!
One positive aspect of this bad situation is that the staffs of ships across the globe are reaching out to each other. Thanks to Facebook we can all enjoy short visits to each others vessels and get to meet our distant counterparts who bring them to life. Perhaps when the museum ships get underway again, we'll all be that much closer to each other. Our small contribution today are these pictures of Cod's forward torpedo room, taken yesterday. We'll move aft through the boat in coming days. As always we invite comments and questions. Keep a zero bubble!
SUBMARINE TRIVIA CHALLENGE: Two examples of red dark adaptation light fixtures located throughout USS Cod's interior. My question is why is the word "BLUE" cast into the metal fixture? Cod crew who know why are asked to sit on their fingers and let our shipmates ashore tackle the challenge.
Ok my esteemed fellow sub history nerds (in Britain we'd be called boffins)... what is this?
OK... I'm going to declare Eddie Stopko the winner of this Virus Challenge! He gave a short but basically accurate answer to the question below. The major change in torpedo tubes after the war was the necessity to fire electronically programmed torpedoes, including the later mods of the venerable Mk. 14, that had multi-pin cable connections. These cable umbilicals linked to connections on the doors! The old solid bronze doors had to be replaced with new doors that had the cable interface built in. The modernization of scores of fleet subs necessitated that hundreds of doors be procured. As a cost-saving move the Navy simply ordered equal numbers of right and left-opening doors without numbers. Tubes (at least in EBCo Gatos) were numbered on their outside (facing inboard) anyway!
I'm bored with quarantine so I have a submarine quiz for real sub history nerds. The first person with the correct answer gets a Cod souvenir... Cod and her fleet sub sisters in their unmodified state (Drum, Cobia, Silversides) have torpedo tube numbers on their doors(1-10). But Cold War fleet sub torpedo tube doors don't have numbers... WHY NOT?
Cod's North Coast Harbor berth is a bit lonely these days due to increasingly stringent closures. Seeing the boat from Barge 225 provides a great view of the Gato class superstructure and its sweeping curves that follow the profile of the ballast tanks for much of the hull length. Later classes had narrowed decks to save time and materials.
Members of Cod's feathered gun crew scan the harbor for possible targets this afternoon as Cleveland and our submarine faced a deepening viral crisis. Luckily we're not open officially until May 1 and our pre-opening Saturdays are a month away. We will hopefully be in a better place by then. We're planning on getting the boat clean and ready for opening day as much as possible... life just handed us a basket of lemons ... But being the Cod, we're going to make the best damn pitcher of lemonade from those lemons!!! Who's with me?
Chris Dickey (right) is our latest Cod jacket recipient. Chris is an electrical engineering grad from Case who joined the crew only recently but was instrumental in the recent installation of the new electrical power cable system aboard Cod. Chris received his jacket from Cod president Paul Farace.
Cod crewmen Cay Fellows (left) and Evan Cerne-Iannone inspect a prop from the fleet sub USS Pompon, displayed on the Potomac River waterfront in Alexandria, Va. today. Evan is in DC to conduct some research at the National Archives and possibly to get copies of Cod's track charts. Clay is now on the preservation staff of Mt. Vernon National Historic Landmark -- George Washington's home. A former Navy torpedo depot on the riverbank is now a tourist attraction and displays some of its former wares.
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