USS Cod Submarine Memorial

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].

Mission: To preserve and interpret USS Cod for future generations of Americans.


Our sunny weekend was very profitable for Cod. We opened the boat Saturday afternoon to the steady stream of visitors, both two four-legged varieties, who were out enjoying the unusually warm weather. Shipmates Peter Donnatuci and Bill Synk gave personal tours to several groups while others took self-guided tours. The Cleveland mounted police were a hit with crew and visitors alike. While the air outside hit 56 deg. the temperature in the boat remained below 45 deg.

Much important information on fleet subs was recorded in compartment bill holders or on plaques near the related piece of equipment, including this plaque mounted near the after tubes that reminded torpedomen of how much impulse air pressure was needed to fire weapons from Cod's after tubes for a given depth and speed. The resin plaque relates to a specific period in submarine history (1944-54) since it only mentions torpedo Marks 14, 16, 23, 28 and mine Mark 27. The ASW Mark 27 torpedo isn't listed because it was a swim out weapon that didn't use impulse air to leave the tube.

The WW II fleet subs weren't the largest subs anyone built but they were big boats. And like all pre-nuclear subs, they spent virtually all of their time on the surface, diving to avoid enemy detection and attack. Since they were cruising through the waves 95% of the time their hulls were optimized for surface efficiency with long slender superstructures and decks reasonably elevated to keep gun crews from being washed overboard. Cod sits about five feet higher in the water than if she were combat loaded and carrying her 252 battery cells. Gato superstructures were wider than the later classes which sought to save construction time and materials.

Woe to those WWII fleet subs that suffered failures of their main and backup gyrocompasses, perhaps due to depth charge damage. Until they could be repaired to once again indicate north without referencing the earth's magnetic field, the sub had to rely on magnetic compasses installed near the two helms. Blueprints specified the Bendix (Pioneer Eclipse) Model 1829, but the few images available show the Model 1835 (here mounted aboard Cod). They are identical to the 1829 with the exception of two goose egg-sized compensator balls to further cancel the magnetic influence of the pressure hull. Originally designed for use in tanks, the compasses were difficult to trim and maintain. Accuracy was "better than nothing, but only slightly" in the words of those who maintained their accuracy. Most sub compasses went home with decom crews but thanks to Ebay they are returning.

We closed the 2020 USS Cod Home and Garden Show display tonight after a very successful run of nine days. A lot of effort goes into Cod's booth, from graphic design to to assembling Grid Wall frames and laying carpet. It also requires hauling it all out to the IX Center along with display torpedoes and depth charges and hauling it back to our storage facility on Monday. For nine days we had a miniature submarine museum on
a busy street of merchants. A big thank you to everyone involved. Booth staff talked to hundreds of interested fans and folks who were shocked to hear about a submarine on their doorstep. Our donations were very generous as well. We even met the family of a Dutch submarine crewman rescued by Cod when O-19 grounded in enemy waters! We made many new friends who will help make our 2020 season our best yet!

The Cod display at the 2020 Home and Garden Show is a big hit with the public as always. Working with a smaller booth this year (#1331) is a challenge but we're adapting. Today we had the help of USSVI Cod Base member Jim Minnich who was very popular with visitors. Our morning 'chief of the booth' John Allison looks smart in his embroidered Cod jacket and is a great Cod ambassador. A big thank you to everyone who sighed up for booth duty and to our trusty booth set-up team! The show runs daily until Feb. 9th.

Our sincere thanks to the Cleveland Fire Department and especially to the crew of Tower One ladder truck who came to our aid after high winds impaled our flag on the pole, preventing us from hauling it down to replace it. Being a National Historic Landmark, we can't dishonor Old Glory. The Tower One crew had to act quickly because although this was a training opportunity for them, they are always on call to safeguard our neighbors.
Once the torn flag came down we asked their captain, a Marine Corps veteran, to do the honors of hauling the new flag topside. #ClevelandFire

US subs entered the war with a secret and highly valuable device called a bathythermograph that records on an X-Y graph scratch trace a sub's depth and corresponding water temperature on a card coated with lamp black. In the late 1930s US scientists discovered that layers of water at various depths could be several degrees warmer or colder than water above or below. Navy sub hunters soon realized their SONARS had great difficulty penetrating these "thermoclines." Knowing if and where a thermocline existed provided a great advantage for our subs subjected to enemy SONAR attacks. Hiding beneath a thermocline also trapped noise generated by the sub. Looking for a thermocline was a common task before an attack. The system consisted of a temperature and depth probe in a housing on the side of the conning tower and the recording box in the port side of the control room. The paper cards were marked with location data and retained for later evaluation ashore.


Saturday we honored our crew with the annual banquet and award program. Not every Cod crew member could attend but those that did enjoyed great fellowship and good food thanks to our hosts, Brennan's Party Center! After presentation of Cod crew jackets to several crew members, Eric Paul was the winner of the mystery door prize, consisting of a ceramic motorcycle boot, smiley face socks (what else would you wear under cycle boots?), and a gift card for dinner at Outback Steakhouse. The annual banquet is the start of our busy 2020 year aboard USS Cod. Next up -- the Home and Garden Show, starting this Friday and running through Feb. 9. Look for us in Booth 1331!

The fleet submarine door -- they divide the pressure hull into eight compartments. The fleet boat has sufficient reserve buoyancy that it could surface with one of them completely flooded. Because designers couldn't predict which side of the door the pressure would impinge, the doors dog or lock against both sides simultaneously. There are eight studs around the door frame. When locking, the cam lobes turn backwards against these studs, pressing the door against the door frame as well as against the stud mounts. When the spinner is fully engaged the door is locked against both sides, protecting against flooding from either direction. Doors were dogged when the collision alarm sounded, as well as fire, flooding and other situations.

I just received the sad news that Shipkeeper Tim Conroy (TM3-SS) passed away tonight. Tim became a USS Cod shipkeeper about 10 years ago and was a past commander of the USSVI Cod Base. He was a TM3(SS) aboard USS Tusk Tim was fighting cancer this year but he kept it under wraps. But as the summer came to a close it was obvious he was losing weight and energy. Tim attended a USSVI Cod Base meeting at the airport next door held on one of our last fall Saturday tour days. After the meeting Tim came over to the boat to chat with the shipkeeper on duty. Just as he was about to leave a group of visitors appeared. After they paid their admission Tim began chatting them up as only Tim could do... as I walked towards the ticket booth (hot coffee beckoned) Tim saw me coming and asked if he could take the folks through the boat (as if he had to ask). I said "take it away Tim!" and off he went with a glimmer in his eyes that made an impression on my memory. I was busy with my own tour, but I was aware of Tim's progress through the boat (always firing THREE blasts of the diving klaxon in the control room). A while later his group was departing down the gangway and Tim didn't linger as he usually did. Perhaps his energy was spent giving the tour. That may have been his last visit to the Cod... giving a tour and entertaining our visitors in his unique way. Can't ask for a better parting. Rest your oars, Tim.

And Tim, thanks for all those McDonalds breakfast sandwiches you bough by the bagful over the years... they were always appreciated! Here is a picture of Tim (sandwich in hand) with shipmate Evan during the day we replaced our mooring lines.

Cod's officer's head on the forward torpedo room... a long-overdue restoration: the manual pump handle (the silver length of pipe on the right side of the bowl). The manual pump socket at the bottom of the handle was empty for the last 45+ years despite looking at it almost daily (proving you can look and still not see!) A quick trip to Home Depot and Cod is a bit more restored. The manual pump serves to remove waste in the event air pressure to blow waste overboard isn't available or undesirable. Later classes of fleet boats would use gravity flushing heads in the forward room and move these air expulsion heads aft. Subs had both, side by side, in the crews heads, in the event one type could not be used to provide working toilets under any circumstance.

Why I love this job reason number 342: you never know who's going to show up out of the blue. In this case 55 young amish men, women and children on a social mixer tour a few years ago. When one of their preplanned stops fell through they decided they wanted to tour the submarine they passed on the way. Here are more than 25 of them in Cod's forward torpedo room. They asked excellent questions and we were honored to host them.

Here's wishing everyone smooth sailing in 2020, from the crew of USS Cod!

Not Cod but our Manitowoc-built Balao class sister Jallao on a marine railway post war. This excellent color image illustrates some important aspects of the fleet boat design common to all classes. The large rudder and stern planes (with yardbird for scale) afforded excellent maneuverability. The five-blade props are a cold war era indicator since WWII boats carried four-blade wheels (pre-war subs had three-blade props). EBCo and their Manitowoc twins eliminated the stern tube shutters since streamlining for running in reverse was not important. Thr aperture in the black hull area to the left is the flare ejector muzzle port (blanked aboard Cod), Our rudder is buried halfway in silt. Note the zinc anodes near the bronze propellers. Light gage steel near the spinning bronze props generated serious galvanic corrosion potential.

Merry Christmas and happy hannukah to our shipmates around the world... from the crew of USS Cod. And a heartfelt salute to the men and women on guard around the globe protecting us!

I hope your Christmas is blessed with joy and love from friends and family. And just a reminder: Santa wears dolphins and knows how to sink ships filled with bad girls and boys! Merry Christmas, happy hanukkah, and happy new year to all!

William F. Bundy, 1st black enlisted man to rise to sub commander, dies Bundy “mentored many to success, particularly those in the African-American community," said Mike Ritz of Leadership Rhode Island —

The old gal closed her 2019 tour season on a very high note today. Public turnout was moderate in the cold weather but our crew corrected a problem with our bow planes that caused them to freeze in a partially rigged out position last year. Old and missing lubrication in the hinges and drive transmissions was the culprit. Afterwards the crew enjoyed a pizza party in the crews mess. We accomplished plenty of work this year (chronicled here on our page) with much more ahead in 2020. I want to thank each and every member of our crew for making Cod's season so productive and rewarding for our visitors! Merry Christmas to you all!

Deck the deck with baughs of... LED Christmas trees? And slick with chilling rain against the backdrop of the Cleveland skyline... a WWII fleet submarine never looked more festive for the holidays. Hope this season of joy brings you closer to friends and family and reminds us all of our many blessings.

I'm so proud of the Cod crew today for their excellent work in helping stage not only the annual Pearl Harbor commemoration but also serving a post-event luncheon for program participants and crew at Burke Airport next door. Representatives of Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors, the American Legion, VFW and Cod base USSVI, were on hand to help mark this important anniversary.

Our joint Toys for Tots collection drive produced a Santa-sack worth of toys for local needy children ... our salute to the Cod Base, USSVI for organizing the event. We followed the drive with our submarine Christmas tree lighting. I guess it is officially the holiday season! Next up is our Pearl Harbor event next Saturday at 11:30 am.

Saturday, Nov. 30 is Toys for Tots Day at Cod. Bring a new, unwrapped toy and get a free tour of USS Cod (or a ticket for a free tour next season). The toy drive will run from 10 am to 2 pm and is sponsored by the USSVI Cod Base, the USS Cod Submarine Memorial and the U.S. Marine Corps. The Cod will remain open for tours until 5 pm. We will light Cod's Christmas tree on the bow at 2 pm. Bring a toy for an underprivileged child and start the Christmas season right!

The fleet sub of WW II was renowned for crew comfort and personal hygiene was given high priority. Water distilling plants permitted a shower every three days for Cod crew in 1945 and a basin bath daily. Laundry was done by cooks on Wednesday night although collection of condensate water permitted crewmen to wash their clothing as needed. Crewman David Krejci recently returned Cod's crew heads and washroom to the seafoam green of our focus date. The crew shower beyond the washing machine will have to wait until warmer weather in the spring for new paint.

When Cod arrived in Cleveland 60 years ago she was connected to shore power with thick cables capable of powering everything aboard the sub short of her propulsion motors -- more than 1,000 amps of DC current! But the ready made cable was far longer than necessary and had to be coiled under the superstructure before entering the pressure hull through a blank in the after torpedo loading hatch. Once inside the torpedo room still more length of cable had to be double strung across and lashed to bunks before terminating in the sub's shore power connection box. Decades of weather had begun to take a toll on the cable topside while the interior runs restricted use of many torpedo room bunks. Our electrical engineering team surveyed our present and future power requirements and devised a new system using modern cables of the right length. This large multi-faceted project was repeatedly postponed to accomplish other tasks until this weekend when the crew came together and tackled it head-on. The weather was ideal on Sunday as the power was cut on shore and the old cable was disconnected and cut into manageable lengths for recycling. In fact the scrapping of the old cable paid for the new cable! The new cable is much smaller because although it provides sufficient power for systems we currently use or may want to use in the future, it doesnt have to handle the full load of a completely operational submarine. Among the many benefits of the improved power system are increased safety and reliability as well as a cleaner and more functional torpedo room. The work also revealed that the aft torpedo loading tray and hatch had become badly deteriorated over time and will require extensive repairs. But that's life aboard memorial ships: one job's completion reveals another to tackle! Our hearty Bravo Zulu to Al Winkler, Tyler Lasseter, Chris Dickey, Rich Obratil, Mike Patena and Dave Krejci for their hard work on the project!

Big Henry was moved to his winter quarters today with the help of Cod crewmen Rich Obratil and John Allison. Our good friends at Rich's Towing of Middleburg Heights provided the piggyback tow to our storage facility at the old Nike missile site in Bratenahl, Ohio. We can't thank the towing company enough for their generosity! Building 13 (the former nuclear warhead assembly building at the site) will house Big Henry until next spring, once we move some boxes and torpedoes to make room inside for this unique vehicle.

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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

Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
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