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The USS Cusk made history as the first missile submarine of the "Silent Service" on February 12, 1947.  On that date, she successfully launched a Navy "Loon" missile near Point Mugu, California. Thus, the Cusk became the forerunner of all ballistic and cruise missile carrying submarines.  The next month, the Cusk again made history when she launched another Loon and then submerged and tracked it for 105 miles.

Welcome to the homepage of the USS Cusk (SS-348, SSG-348, SS-348 and AGSS-348).  In her 24 & 1/2 years of service, the Cusk served in three wars, made submarine and US Navy history many times, and never failed to complete a single mission.  Those of us who sailed this great ship are very proud to be a part of her history.


1945 to 1947 1947 to 1954 1954 to 1969

"In each submarine there are men who, in the hour of emergency or peril at sea, can turn to each other.  These men are ultimately responsible to themselves

and each other for all aspects of operation of their submarine.  They are the crew.  They are the ship." - The Submariner's Creed (Excerpt)

The "Fall 2016 Cusk Newsletter is now available in .pdf format at this link. 

Or click on the "Newsletter" link on the left to access all of them.


These are crewmembers who departed on Eternal Patrol within the past six months.  Departures from the past three years are listed at the bottom of this page,

and all other Eternal Patrol information, obituaries and pictures may be found on the "Eternal Patrol" page.

William Hale Gignac, EN2(SS)

1958 to 1959

7 October 2016

William Houston "Bill" Weaver, CS2(SS)

1956 to 1958

10 September 2016

Harold William Haynes, Jr., QM2(SS), USS Cusk Plankowner

1946 to 1948

26 August 2016

David P Hirt, QM3(SS)

1951 to 1953

22 August 2016

Joseph H Lowenhardt, EM2(SS)

1960 to 1963

7 August 2016

Art Thomsen, FTSN(SS)

1959 to 1960

13 July 2016

Bill Vincent, EN2(SS)

1955 to 1957

27 June 2016

"Of all the branches of men in the forces there is none which shows more devotion and faces grimmer perils than the submariners."  - Sir Winston Churchill

Cusk Makes National News!

Parade Magazine article about the Cusk

 January 11, 1953 - the article was about the Navy's new long range weapon system.  Few imagined that this would be the birth of today's Trident ballistic, and Tomahawk cruise missile submarine weapon systems.

Visit the "1953" page for more recordings and footage

"Down the Ways"

The USS Cusk is launched, July 28, 1945

The Cusk slides down the ways at Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut

Visit the "1945" page for more pictures & information

USS Cusk's artifacts, pictures and history...

On permanent display...

Actual Cusk artifacts, pictures and historical

data may be viewed firsthand in a permanent

display case located in the "Brevard Veteran's

Memorial Center and Military Museum" on

Merritt Island, Florida. 

Click here to visit the Museum's Website

Remembering Yoko

Some 1967 memory jarring pictures of Yokosuka, Japan

Two skimmers walk past the "Brass Rail", a popular kicker bar in Yokosuka.

(Pictures courtesy of Rick Greer)

Anyone have a picture of the "Starlight Bar"?

Visit the "1967" page for more pictures & information


Remember White Beach?

The club on the hill?

The old wooden pier?

Those strange rock formations?

Click here on "Okinawa" to see more pictures

USS Cusk Service Medals

The USS Cusk was one of only four submarines to earn the Republic of Vietnam Unit Citation for Meritorious Gallantry.  This medal was awarded to the crew of the Cusk during one of her most daring surveillance and reconnaissance missions.  This mission was conducted both on "Yankee Station" and outside Vietnamese territorial waters.

Republic of Vietnam

Meritorious Unit Citation for Gallantry

Visit the "Cusk Patches" page for more information

Cusk Sinks the USS Constellation

During an exercise off the coast of Long Beach, California, the Cusk penetrated a screen of three U.S. Frigates, anti-submarine helicopters, and anti-submarine P3 Orion aircraft to "sink" the USS Constellation, CVA-64 as she emerged from Long Beach.

Connie Down

A U.S. Navy helicopter can be seen through the Cusk's #1 periscope as it dips a sonar buoy in the water and searches in vain for the Cusk.  In the background, a Navy frigate, the USS William H. Standley, DLG-32, is blasting away with its SQS-25 sonar while trying to find the Cusk.  Minutes later, an attack approach was made on the USS Constellation (CV-64), a solution was obtained, the Cusk simulated firing a spread of torpedoes, and then launched a symbolic flare and "Black Smoke" from the Cusk's After Torpedo Room.  A brief message was also broadcast over the UQC-8 underwater telephone advising the task force that their screen had been penetrated, and the USS Constellation had been sunk.  (Boy, was the Admiral pissed about that!)

Click here on "Constellation" to see more pictures

Home at Last

Cusk returns home from her last patrol

March, 1969, the "Reserve Pier" in San Diego - the Cusk is returning from her last Cold War and Vietnam War patrols.  The flag in the foreground is the in-port flag flying from the stern of either the USS Perch (SS-313) or the USS Razorback (SS-394), both of which were docked at the pier.  A Navy band played as friends and families waited on the pier.

Visit the "1969" page for more pictures & information


Stripped and Mothballed at Hunter's Point April 30, 1971 - Cusk is first boat on left.  To the right of Cusk are the USS Rock (SS-274), USS Bashaw (SS-241), USS Spinax (SSR-489), USS Pomodon (SS-486), USS Medregal (SS-480), and USS Diodon (SS-349)


All past Cusk Newsletters are available for printing and reading:  CLICK HERE for the "Newsletter" PAGE

I saw the submariners, the way they stood aloof and silent, watching their pigboat with loving eyes.  They are alone in the Navy. 

SubFlot1 News - 1968

Visit the "1968" page for more pictures & information


During a launch attempt on July 7, 1948, a Loon Missile exploded on deck.  When the smoke cleared, the Cusk had disappeared leaving witnesses on nearby Navy ships thinking that the Cusk had been sunk by the explosion.  Fortunately, the quick thinking Captain Fred Clarke had submerged the Cusk immediately to put out the fire and save the boat.

Visit the "1948" page for more pictures & information


Where it all began...

Most people do not know that "Karaoke" was actually invented by USS Cusk crew members during a ship's party at Port Hueneme, California in 1956.  They are shown here singing Perry Como's "Hot Diggity".  The Cusk sailor sitting down smoking a cigarette is Clarence "Ed" Brenke.  He's holding up the words to the song on poster board.

Visit the "1956" page for more pictures & information

USS Cusk Museum Display


A scale replica of the Cusk complete with missile launcher and hanger is on permanent display along with the Cusk's depth gauge, and numerous patches, pins, lighters, news articles, letters, pictures, etc.



"The Flying Missile"

This movie was made about the USS Cusk in 1950 starring Glenn Ford and Viveca Lindfors.  Ford plays the fictitious Commander Talbot, a submarine captain who was determined to show that missiles could be launched from submarines. 

This movie uses actual film footage from some of he Cusk's early missile launches, as well as footage of launches from the USS Tunny (SS-282) and the USS Carbonero (SS-337).  These missile launches took place off-shore of the Point Mugu, California test site where the Cusk also made her famous first launch.


Visit the "1950" page for more information

 Sea Stories

What's the difference between a Fairy Tale and a Sea Story?

Easy - A Fairy Tale begins with, "Once upon a time...".  A Sea Story begins with, "This is no sh*%..."

AIR POWER - Norm Carkeek tells how the Cusk fanned the air with her screws.

What Grandpa did during the Cold War - Some great stories, reminiscing, and Cusk history by Billy Hrbacek

BUNK BAGS - Unique to submarines, these all purpose nylon bags were priceless.

THE SUB THAT SANK A TRAIN - The only ground operation against the Japanese motherland during WWII was carried out by crewmembers from the USS Barb including one who would later be COB on the Cusk.

THE PUPPY - Sam Lyons tells what to do with a puppy at sea when it's got to go.

PAINT JOB - Ken Van Hoy's innovative way to paint the deck in record time.

(Photo courtesy of Herman Stickland)

Cusk is shown submerging off the coast of Oahu, 1963.

Visit "1963"  for more recordings & footage

USS Cusk in 1963 coming out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  The USS Remora (SS-487) and another unidentified submarine can be seen in the background.

(Picture size is 4629 x 3923 or 3.72 MB)


This picture was taken May 5, 1953 as the Cusk fired an exercise torpedo at the USS McDermott, DD-677.  A small arrow can be seen on the left center of the picture showing the location of the nose of the torpedo - clearly, a solid hit amidships had this been a warshot torpedo fired at an enemy ship.

Visit the "1953" page for more pictures & information

USS Cusk in 1968 near Point Loma Sub Base  (Picture size is 5714 x 3912 or 4.38 MB)

Togetherness is an overworked term, but in no other branch of our military service is it given such full meaning as in the so-called “Silent Service.”  - Dr. Joyce Brothers

These are samples from the new Audio and Video Section.  More media and formats coming soon.


These are actual audio recordings of the Cusk and her crew in action while on "Yankee Station" in January, 1969

Watch the Cusk Loon Launch Video, Pt. Mugu, 1952 (Windows Format Only)


1.  COMEX Dive: What you are hearing...The Officer of the Deck is relieved by the Executive Officer, LCDR Tommy Sawyer as he assumes the Conn and orders the ship submerged as soon as the OD is ready.  As he hangs up the 7MC microphone, the claxon sounds and you can immediately hear the roar of the air coming out of the ballast tanks as the vents are opened.  At the same time you can hear the clatter of the lookouts feet hitting the ladder as they take two or three steps down and then jump the rest of the way and then go down the Control Room ladder.  At the same time, the Quartermaster, Lee Krabill is calling out how many men are coming down from the Bridge and as the OD, John Troutman comes down, he closes the hatch and reports to the Conn Officer that the last man has come down.  At the same time the Quartermaster can be heard climbing the ladder, dogging the hatch and reporting it secured to the Conn Officer.




2. Going to Periscope Depth -  The Cusk has just come up to 100' depth in preparation for surfacing.  Accordingly, "Condition Baker", a safety precaution where all internal bulkhead openings are closed and dogged, has been set throughout the ship and the Cusk is ready to ascend to periscope depth (64').  Sonar reports, "...gunfire in the distance." (The Cusk is on Yankee Station just off the coast of North Vietnam.) which the Conn Officer Lt. Troutman acknowledges and then gives the command, "Six four feet smartly, shut the lower hatch!", another safety precaution to isolate the Conning Tower from the rest of the ship.  These safety precautions are required because the ascent from 100' to periscope depth is one of the most dangerous actions a submarine can take because of the possibility of coming up underneath, or in front of a surface ship.




3.  Surface, Surface, Surface! - The Cusk is now at periscope depth and the Conn Officer has just verified through the periscope that no surface craft near.  Once he verifies that the surface is clear, he orders the lower hatch to the Control Room closed and instructs the helmsman to pass the word on the 1MC, "Surface, Surface, Surface!"  In the background, you can hear the helmsman follow his orders which is immediately followed by a loud thumping sound as the high pressure air valves to the ballast tanks are quickly pounded open by the auxillaryman.  A loud roar can then be heard as the air rushes into the ballast tanks.  The extra loud sound you hear next is the rushing air being amplified by the UKC-8 Underwater Telephone speaker, which the Conn Officer immediately turns down.  Over the 7MC in the background, the Diving Officer can be heard announcing the ship's depth as she ascends to the surface.  Continuing to look through the periscope, the Conn Officer verifies that, "...okay, the stern is up", as he looks aft, and the next loud noise is the sound of the Low Pressure Blower roaring to life to push the remaining air out of the ballast tanks.   The Cusk is now "on the roof". 




4.  Crack the Hatch! - The Cusk is on the surface and the Low Pressure Blower can be heard roaring in the background.  Having verified that the ship is holding steady on the surface, the Conn Officer orders the Quartermaster to, "Crack the hatch." that leads to the Bridge.  The release of air can be heard as the Quartermaster verifies that, "The hatch is cracked."  Next the Conn Officer gives command to, "Open it and up."  The bridge hatch can be hard clanging open as both men climb up the ladder to the Bridge.  The Conn Officer next uses the 7MC speaker system as he gives the command, "Control, Bridge, Officer of the Deck and Lookouts up, give the ship a normal blow." which Control acknowledges.  About the same time, the lower hatch to the Control Room clangs open and a huge rush of internal air can be heard escaping the boat. 





I admired the PT boys.  And I often wondered how the aviators had the courage to go out day after day and I forgave their boasting.

But the submariners! In the entire fleet they stand apart!” - James Michener

FREE!   USS Cusk Dive Ringtone.  Click here for your copy

In the beginning...

     In the beginning was the word, and the word was God and all else was darkness and void and without form.  So God created the heavens and the earth.  He created the sun and the moon and the stars, so that their light might pierce the darkness.  And the earth, God divided between the land and the sea, and these He filled with many assorted creatures.

     And from the slime, in a land called Lympstone, God made dark, salty creatures that inhabited the seashore.  He called them Marines, He dressed them accordingly, in bright colors so that their betters may more easily find them in the holes and burrows that they'd scoured out of the ground.

     And God said, "Whilst at their appointed labors they will devour worms, maggots, C and K rations and all creatures that creep or crawl".  The flighty creatures of the air, He called Airdales, and these He clothed in uniforms which were ruffled, perfumed, and pretty.  He gave them great floating cities with flat roofs in which to live, where they gathered and formed huge multitudes.  They carried out heathen rites and ceremonies by day and by night upon the roof amidst thunderous noise.  They were given God's blue sky and their existence was on the backs of others.

     And the surface creatures of the sea, God called Skimmers, who supported the Airdales and with a twinkle in His eye and a sense of humor only He could have, He gave them all gedunks, polluted with much stickywater, to drink.  God gave them big grey "targets" to go to sea in.  He gave them many splendid uniforms to wear.  And He gave them all the world's exotic and wonderful places to visit.  He gave them pen and paper so that they could write home every week, and He gave them ropeyarn Sunday at sea and a laundry so they could clean and polish their splendid uniforms.  (When you are God it is very easy to get carried away with your own great and wondrous benevolence) .

     And on the seventh day, as you know, God rested from his labors.  And on the eighth day at 0755, just before Colors, God looked down upon the earth and He was not a happy man.  God knew He had not quite achieved perfection, so He thought about his labors, and in His infinite wisdom, He created a divine creature, His masterpiece, and this He called a Submariner.  A child of heaven.

     And these Submariners, whom God created in His own image, and to whom He gave his most cherished gift, great intelligence, were to be of the deep, and to them He gave more of his greatest gifts.  He gave them black steel messengers of death called the "Smoke Boat" class in which to roam the depths of his oceans, and He gave them His arrows and slingshots, the Mark 14 torpedo of burnished brass and black, and the Mark 37 of green, to wage war against the forces of Satan and all evil.

     He heaped great knowledge and understanding upon them, in order that they may more easily win their greatest challenge, to pass their Qualification Test and be skilled in the great works God had charged them with.

     The finest of these men, God called "Diesel Boat Submariners" for they made all happen beyond the understanding of other men.  He gave His Submariners hotels in which to live when they were exhausted and weary from doing God’s will.  He gave them fortitude to consume vast quantities of beer and booze, to sustain them in their arduous tasks, performed in His name.

     He gave them great food, submarine pay and occasionally, subsistence so that they might entertain the Ladies of the "Starlight", "White Hat", and the "Horse and Cow" on Saturday nights and impress the heck out of the creatures He called "Skimmers” and "Jar Heads".

     And at the end of the eighth day, God again looked down upon the earth and saw all was good in His realm.  But God was not happy because, in the course of His mighty labors He had forgotten one thing.  He had not kept a pair of "Dolphins" for Himself.

     But He thought about it and considered it and finally He consoled himself, in the certain knowledge that - - -

"Not Just Anybody Can Be a Submariner!"

- author unknown


"I can imagine a no more rewarding career, and any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:  'I served in the United States Navy' " - John F Kennedy


Submarine History:

California Center for History - Submarine History - Historical information about submarines in California including the ones built at Mare Island and the west coast submarine base at San Pedro.

CNO Submarine Warfare Division - Submarine History - Submarine historical information and pictures from the Chief of Naval Operations "Submarine Warfare Division".

HNSA Submarine War Patrol Reports - Historical Naval Ships Association with links to information to most diesel submarines from "S" class to Fleet boats.

Submarine History Online - An illustrated survey of key events in submarine history including timelines and original concept drawings.

Submarine Research Center, Bangor Washington - A free information site by a small group of retired submariners who in civilian life performed various kinds of research and who have applied this knowledge and ability to collecting and disseminating information about submarines.

UBoat.net - An extremely comprehensive and detailed website about German U-Boats.  Information includes U-Boat commander listings, battles stories, books, history, etc.

US Naval Academy Submarine History - Overview of submarine history with pictures.  Very little on diesel submarines but some links about nukes, boomers, submarine officers, etc.

Wikipedia - Submarine - Wikipedia's "Submarine" page with numerous links to submarine related sites on a worldwide basis.

Submarine Organizations:

Fleetsubmarine.com - a great, highly comprehensive diesel submarine website.

Naval Submarine League - a professional organization for submariners and submarine advocates.

PigBoats.com - Ric Hedman's great site that is a consolidation of a number of differing but related subjects concerning submarines and submarining.

USSVI (United States Submarine Veterans, Inc.) - National organization of submarine veterans that is a comprehensive resource of U.S. submarine information including links to bases, historical data, reunions, boat crews, etc.

Ours is a brotherhood like no other.  It is service that we volunteered for, and we were honored to have the opportunity.  We wear our Dolphins, those sacred fish, with enormous pride.  To have earned the privilege of wearing them means that we have proven to the captain, to the crew, and to ourselves, that we can save the ship and our shipmates, by ourselves, under any circumstance, from any compartment, and under any condition.  We are "Brothers of the Phin", and each knows that a fellow brother is someone with whom we can truly trust with our life.

In Memoriam...Cusk sailors recently departed on Eternal Patrol

"They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep." - Psalm 107


Years on Board

Departure Date

William "Bill" Munson, EN3(SS)


March 4

Carl Bud Berg, ET1(SS)

1956 to 1957

March 19

Alexander F Nieto, RM3(SS)


March 26

Maurice "Dusty" Knight, SA(SS)

1948 to 1950

April 1

Les Atchison, RM2(SS)

1960 to 1962

April 9

Garold E Prawl, FTCM(SS)


April 26

Bill Vincent, EN2(SS)

1955 to 1957

June 27

Art Thomsen, FTSN(SS)

1959 to 1960

July 13

Joseph H Lowenhardt, EM2(SS)

1960 to 1963

August 7

David P Hirt, QM3(SS)

1951 to 1953

August 22

Harold William Haynes, Jr., QM2(SS), USS Cusk Plankowner

1946 to 1948

August 26

William Hale Gignac, EN2(SS)

1958 to 1959

October 7


Years on Board

Departure Date

Arthur Q Merrill, EMFN(SS)

1948 to 1950

January 6

James Franklin "Jim" Hume, TM1(SS)

1956 to 1960

January 15

James E Walker, EM3(SS), USS Cusk Plankowner 1946

February 2

Leo Kunkel, EN1(SS), USS Cusk Plankowner

1945 to 1948 and 1952 to 1958

February 18

Harold M Page, Jr., QM3(SS)

1948 to 1950

February 21

Clyde Kirk, FT/ST (MOMM), USS Cusk Plankowner

1945 to 1946

February 28

Earl R "Dick" White, SN(SS) 1949 to 1950


Robert C Zimmerman, SM2(SS), USS Cusk Plankowner 1946

July 2

Wendell Bud Reid, MOMM2(SS), USS Cusk Plankowner 1946

August 15

William Walde Von Christierson, LCDR 1964 to 1966

November 15

Roland "Ronnie" J Quick, CS3(SS) 1959 to 1960

November 25

Robert Dominic Comperini, EN3(SS) 1949 to 1952

December 1

Rick Dale "Ptomaine" Greer, CS2(SS) 1965 to1967

December 24

Gerald "Jerry" Spielman, EN1(SS) 1960 to 1966

December 30


Robert Walter Fellingham, Sr., LT

1960 to 1962

January 7

David C Lawrence STS3(SS) 

1968 to 1969

April 12

James Washington Holmes, Jr., FCS1(SS) 


April 16

Charles Edwin "Scurvy" Brown, CSC(SS)  

1956 to 1957

May 13

Jack Walter Nease SO1(SS)  

1954 to 1957

June 28

Kevin F Flanagan S1c(SS)  


July 26

Robert A Brown, TMCM(SS)


August 22

Glenn H Rowe, RM2(SS)

1953 to 1957

September 2

J W Hickman, IC2(SS)

1954 to 1957 & 1964

September 5

Robert  J "Little Mo" Geary, EM2(SS)

1959 to 1962

September 14

George Urban Harlow, SO2(SS)  

1949 to 1953

September 16

Ray M Peckenpaugh, EN3(SS)

1950 to 1951

November 4

Craig "Barkel" Pagden, EM2(SS) 

1959 to 1961

December 5

Gary Tucker, MM1(SS) 

1945 to 1949

December 31


Gerald C Stratton, EN1(SS)

1958 to 1961

February 19

Jacob P Wittman, TM1SS) 

1963 to 1969

February 24

Roy A Hopf, EN3(SS)

1960 to 1961

March 17

Robert Bryan "Hoot" Gibson, Jr., LCDR

1958 to 1962 & 1964 to 1966

March 26

Charles Benjamin Stark, EN3(SS)


April 17

Eugene P "Dennis" Wilkinson, LCDR

1947 to 1948

July 11

William D Karr, ETC(SS) 


July 16

Gary Jay Carr, EMCM(SS) 

1963 to 1969

November 4

Greg Czech, LCDR 

1959 to 1961

December 5

"I have spread the mantle of my nation over the ocean, and will guard her forever.  I am her heritage, and yours.  I am the American Sailor."  - Anon

Sailors!  Rest your oars!

Visit the "Eternal Patrol" section of this webpage for more information, pictures, and obituaries.


 We welcome your comments, and especially your historical contributions if you have any to share or donate.  If you are a former crewmember, we especially anxious to hear from you so please contact us at your earliest convenience.  Many or your shipmates have been looking for you and an email to the Cusk Webmaster (link below) will put you in touch with them.

Ask a former crewmember about the Cusk and the answer you will most often hear will be, "She was a good boat, probably the best I ever sailed.

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 All information and pictures herein were contributed by, and are the property of crewmembers of the USS Cusk.  It is intended solely for your enjoyment and education, and for preserving the memory and history of this great ship.  If you take anything or make copies, please give proper credit.  Your questions and comments are welcomed, as are any pictorial or historical contributions you might wish to donate or loan. 

Send an email to the USS Cusk webmaster at: USS Cusk Webmaster

This page was last updated: 05/04/16