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The Sinking, Rescue And Raising Of The USS Squalus, The Sargo-Class Submarine Of The US Navy That Sank Off The New Hampshire Coast During Test Dives On May 23, 1939, As Seen And Heard In Two Classic Documentaries And Two Period Radio Broadcasts: 1) SURVIVAL!: SUBMARINE SQUALUS, Documentary Hosted By James Whitmore (Black/White, 1964, 23 Minutes); 2) HEROES: JOHN "MIKE" MIHALOWSKI, An Episode Of The HEROES TV Documentary Series On One Of The Four Medal Of Honor Recipients Who Dived To The Rescue Of The Crew Of The USS Squalus (Color, 1989, 23 Minutes); 3) NBC RADIO NEWS SPECIAL COVERAGE: THE RESCUE MISSION OF THE USS SQUALUS 19390524, Live NBC Radio Special Remote Coverage From The Navy Yard At Portsmouth, New Hampshire Of The Efforts To Rescue The Crew Of The Squalus (Audio Only, 4 Minutes); And 4) MUTUAL RADIO NEWS FLASH: U.S.S. SQUALUS CREW MEMBERS RESCUED 19390524, A Live Broadcast From Portsmouth, NH Of The First Official News Of The Successful Rescue Of Members Of The Crew (Audio Only, 2 Minutes) -- All Presented In The Highest DVD Quality MPG Video Format Of 9.1 MBPS As An Archival Quality All Regions Format DVD, MP4 Video Download Or USB Flash Drive! #USSSqualus #SS192 #Disasters #Sinkings #Submarines #MedalOfHonor #USNavy #USN #HistoryOfTheUSN #NavalHistory #AmericanHistory #USHistory #HistoryOfTheUS #DVD #VideoDownload #USBFlashDrive
On May 23, 1939, the U.S. Navy submarine USS Squalus (SS-192) sank off the coast of New Hampshire during a test dive, causing the death of 24 sailors and two civilian technicians. The remaining 32 sailors and one civilian naval architect were rescued the following day. Four enlisted divers, Chief Machinist's Mate William Badders, Chief Boatswain's Mate Orson L. Crandall, Chief Metalsmith James H. McDonald and Chief Torpedoman John Mihalowski, were awarded the Medal of Honor for their work during the rescue and subsequent salvage. On May 12 1939, following a yard overhaul, Squalus began a series of test dives off Portsmouth, New Hampshire. After successfully completing 18 dives, she went down again off the Isles of Shoals on the morning of May 23. Failure of the main induction valve caused the flooding of the aft torpedo room, both engine rooms, and the crew's quarters, drowning 26 men immediately. Quick action by the crew prevented the other compartments from flooding. Squalus bottomed in 243 ft (74 m) of water. Squalus was initially located by her sister ship, Sculpin. The two submarines were able to communicate using a telephone marker buoy until the cable parted. Divers from the submarine rescue ship Falcon began rescue operations under the direction of the salvage and rescue expert Lieutenant Commander Charles B. "Swede" Momsen, using the new McCann Rescue Chamber. The Senior Medical Officer for the operations was Dr. Charles Wesley Shilling. Overseen by researcher Albert R. Behnke, the divers used recently developed heliox diving schedules and successfully avoided the cognitive impairment symptoms associated with such deep dives, thereby confirming Behnke's theory of nitrogen narcosis. The divers were able to rescue all 33 surviving crew members from the sunken submarine. The navy authorities felt it important to raise her as she incorporated a succession of new design features. With a thorough investigation of why she sank, more confidence could be placed in the new construction, or alteration of existing designs could be undertaken when cheapest and most efficient to do so. Furthermore, given similar previous accidents in Sturgeon and Snapper (indeed, in S-5, as far back as 1920), it was necessary to determine a cause. The salvage of Squalus was commanded by Rear Admiral Cyrus W. Cole, Commander of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, who supervised salvage officer Lieutenant Floyd A. Tusler from the Construction Corps. Tusler's plan was to lift the submarine in three stages to prevent it from rising too quickly, out of control, with one end up, in which case there would be a high likelihood of it sinking again. For 50 days, divers worked to pass cables underneath the submarine and attach pontoons for buoyancy. On July 13, 1939, the stern was raised successfully, but when the men attempted to free the bow from the hard blue clay, the vessel began to rise far too quickly, slipping its cables. Ascending vertically, the submarine broke the surface, and 30 feet (10 m) of the bow reached into the air for not more than ten seconds before she sank once again all the way to the bottom. Momsen said of the mishap, "pontoons were smashed, hoses cut and I might add, hearts were broken." After 20 more days of preparation, with a radically redesigned pontoon and cable arrangement, the next lift was successful, as were two further operations. Squalus was towed into Portsmouth on September 13, and decommissioned on November 15. A total of 628 dives had been made in rescue and salvage operations. Renamed Sailfish on February 9, 1940, she became the first ship of the U.S. Navy named for the sailfish. After reconditioning, repair, and overhaul, she was recommissioned on May 15, 1940 with Lieutenant Commander Morton C. Mumma, Jr. (Annapolis, Class of 1930) in command. With refit completed in mid-September, Sailfish departed Portsmouth on January 16, 1941 and headed for the Pacific. Transiting the Panama Canal, she arrived at Pearl Harbor in early March, after refueling at San Diego. The submarine then sailed west to Manila where she joined the Asiatic Fleet until the attack on Pearl Harbor. During the Pacific War, the captain of the renamed ship issued standing orders if any man on the boat said the word "Squalus", he was to be marooned at the next port of call. This led to crew members referring to their ship as "Squailfish". That went over almost as well; a court martial was threatened for anyone heard using it. The USS Sailfish (SS-192) conducted twelve successful patrols in the Pacific War during World War II, sinking numerous Imperial Japanese vessels.