Author Topic: Hello to everyone Fact finding for a GATO class submarine  (Read 17384 times)

Offline Materene

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Hello to everyone Fact finding for a GATO class submarine
« on: February 28, 2011, 11:39:09 PM »
Hi all, I am trying to identify the Boat my father Frank William Materene served aboard during WWll.  His rating was Radio Operator, here is a cruise photo of his Boat notice that is him with the radio headset on, there is no sail number I suppose due to wartime removal or it was blackened out.  I have no information other than this photo and his personal photo same period.  If I knew this Boat name I could of course find everything I wanted to know, I do have some papers coming from the NavyLog that will allow his records to be forwarded to me.  Looking at particular photos of the SS Cobia I found what I believe to be him, although not 100% sure being his son and looking a lot like him I have a gut instinct that those two photos with the x on the person is indeed my father.  I will not know until I have access to his service records but if anyone out there had a loved one serving on the cobia and has any information I would appreciate the sharing.  Also can anyone identify this Boat in the cruise photo, it is one of only a few that has this sail and conning tower configuration. 

Thanks
Tom Materene








Offline Lance Dean

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Re: Hello to everyone Fact finding for a GATO class submarine
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2011, 09:25:15 AM »
Welcome to the forum, Tom.  Did you say that you are in the process of acquiring your father's service records?

Offline Materene

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Re: Hello to everyone Fact finding for a GATO class submarine
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2011, 12:44:03 PM »
That is correct, I will receive the request forms in the next few days.  The last time I actually saw my Father was around 52 or 53 so I don't know what his assignment may have been then, he was still in uniform.  The only way to learn any information is the records.  I am just about sure that the Cobia was the Boat in the picture, a volunteer historian with NavyLog has the photo and will try and identify it for certain.  Since my Father's name was not on the crew list that is being given it makes it even harder to determine.  I know this list is not full and many were not added, it may also be that he did not join the Boat until after it reached the Pacific base.  Those two black and whites with the x on them are what really stands out, I have one other photo of him in winter dress with the black cap and I only have to find it.  I was raised by my Grandmother and her husband so after my Fathers death I had a complete family and never knew the how where or why's.  My Grandmother's husband Walter Anderson served in the 36th Texas Division and served as an infantryman with his unit attached to Pattons armored forces, he landed in France in aug and went all the way to Germany until the end of the war. 

One thing that stands out in this large photo of the boat is the fact there are no deck or anti aircraft guns forward, I do not see a deck gun turned to port as they usually were for crew pictures.  The radar mast is not blacked out although the sail number is, very strange!.  This possibly may have been made prior or after refitting after the war.   Out of 71 GATO Class Boats only a handful had a sail and conning tower configuration like the one shown, that helps somewhat but a number sure would have been great  :)

Offline Karen D.

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Re: Hello to everyone Fact finding for a GATO class submarine
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2011, 03:18:31 PM »
Welcome Tom!

I'm sorrry to tell you that the top photo is not Cobia.  :(  I did a quick search in our databases, but there were no matches for your father's name. If it turns out that he was a Cobia crew memeber we can always try a more in depth search. I wish I had better news for you. Good luck in your research though! I hope you find the answers you are looking for.

Karen
USS Cobia Curator

Offline Materene

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Re: Hello to everyone Fact finding for a GATO class submarine
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2011, 03:54:42 PM »
Thank you, I know he was not on the commissioning roster or original roster, I don't think those rosters that are shown are official rosters but rather what crew posted and from memory through the years.  I believe he may have been assigned after the Boat arrived in the Pacific, so he may well have been on another sub before then.  I'll have to wait for records to know, and those pictures in black and white are my Father taken on the deck of the Cobia.
I don't see an RM rating on that crew list so that also leads me to believe the list is not complete.  Soon as I see the records I'll update and the ID of the Boat above.  As of now I have not looked for any record of him being in the Korea theater but I think I should do that since the time line of his service was within that.  Thanks again

Offline Darrin

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Re: Hello to everyone Fact finding for a GATO class submarine
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2011, 05:31:36 PM »
Tom,

if you look closely you will see the aft gun is trained to Starboard and if you look closely in the second to the bottom picture you will see the gun locking mount laying on the deck in front of the CO, I also would agree that the person with the X on them is the same person just with a beard.

Darrin

Offline Materene

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Re: Hello to everyone Fact finding for a GATO class submarine
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2011, 10:21:47 PM »
Thanks for the input Darrin, it is very puzzling that Boat photo, it was given to my Grandmother with the other personal photos one posted here, and it was around 52 or 53 no later.  The photo was always taken care of and now it is beginning to show a little wear.  Since I have no children there will be no one to pass it on to so it would be so nice to actually find the boat name and possibly some historical home for it where the picture could be preserved for history.
One thing that has been hard to find is actual crew list for these boats, the GATOs were large in numbers but with 20 so lost it narrowed it down somewhat and I've been looking at sail configurations, only problem with that is I don't know for sure that it is a GATO, it might well be the later class after the GATO.  Amazing so many different designs, can you identify that radar on the deck and mast, the rectangular ones.  I saw a whip radio antena on one of the boats that came after the GATOs and it was identical so I get confused more and more each time I look at these boats.

Offline Lance Dean

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Re: Hello to everyone Fact finding for a GATO class submarine
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2011, 11:55:04 PM »
It looks like your dad is wearing a Presidential Unit Citation ribbon with star.  So I guess he made a patrol that received that award.  Maybe this will narrow your search some.  :)

Offline MWALLEN

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Re: Hello to everyone Fact finding for a GATO class submarine
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2011, 12:47:51 AM »
Tom,

Based on the photo, it looks like it has the 1943 bridge modification.  Also, with the anchor on the starboard side, it isn't a Portsmouth boat, which leaves EB or Manitowoc...and according to the info below, the sub in the photo was an EB submarine.  Here is some info:

"Submarines built by EB or Manitowoc, WI, which also used the EB plans, had a slightly raised superstructure above the pressure hull tank tops as means of flood and draining the superstructure. The boats built by government yards or using government plans had a series of holes cut into the sides of the superstructure, which helped for a faster flood, and drain of the superstructure. Also another feature between the two types of boats are the position of the anchors. AS designed the boats were to have anchors mounted on both sides of the bow, but this was changed that only one anchor will be carried. The EB boats had the anchor on the starboard side while others had a port side anchor."

I think this would rule out the COBIA.

~ From: The Floating Drydock's Gato & Balao Class Submarine of World War Two Plan eBook

Mark
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke

Offline Materene

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Re: Hello to everyone Fact finding for a GATO class submarine
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2011, 01:20:08 AM »
Thanks to everyone for the help, Lance I too saw that ribbon and looked at the awards for Navy but they were of course in color so it was hard to really distinguish which was which.

This anchor information gives me some good advice it will certainly help narrow the search.  There are several GATOs that had no pictures so on goes the search.  I'm hoping this historian that helps NavyLog will have some luck, he may have a much more complete source and photos.

The only thing that is intriguing are the two photos that actually show my Father aboard the Cobia, there just is no doubt that those pictures are not him.   I'm sure crew did serve on different Boats time to time and we'll know when I get the records.   If I failed to mention it that is my Father standing on deck with the headset so once again I know that Boat what ever the name was his Boat also.  He was still on active duty when the Korean War was going on so I'm sure he has a rich history and probably was at Point Loma, when he and my Mother were married they lived in San Diego and my Mom never left until a few years ago and even now she is still living in California around Hemet.  She remarried two times more and I have two half sisters, and my Brother is also a Materene.  All three were born at Bal Boa Naval hospital.

Offline Darrin

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Re: Hello to everyone Fact finding for a GATO class submarine
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2011, 02:47:24 AM »
Tom,

I have asked some of the best submariner's in the world to help you find out what boat this is and to track down when your father was onboard, right now they have checked the available databases for WWII submarine veterans associations and the current submarine association records and they could not find his name.

Do NOT give up hope, I have seen these guys do so incredible stuff... Give us a few days and keep the faith

Darrin

Offline Materene

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Re: Hello to everyone Fact finding for a GATO class submarine
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2011, 09:21:02 AM »
I know what you mean, I've come up empty on crew list also.   Really not surprised that list aren't complete although I think the Navy was much better in documentation and organization than the other branches.  Being ex Army I can say because of the vast number of people assigned to different units, Div,Bn etc there is not much closeness with members who happened to serve the same units.  You can go to re unions and not even know anyone there.  Luckily I am still in touch with members I flew with in the war but prior to that I have no contact with any of those guys.  One funny thing is I was a Nike Hercules Missile crewman prior to going overseas and my little unknown base out in the prairies of Dallas Fort Worth has a long list of guys that were there with me.  The base was dismantled over 40 years ago but the launch area is still intact and they also rebuilt the living and radar section using the original slabs that our buildings were on.  Can't get an answer from the locals of what they now use it for, they are using the original guard shack at the main gate!  It must be a Government agency to have a guard shack and what do they need a guard shack for out in the cotton fields of Texas  ???

Offline Karen D.

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Re: Hello to everyone Fact finding for a GATO class submarine
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2011, 11:26:38 AM »
Did your father by chance like or play baseball? The bottom photo is Cobia's baseball team. The third photo was taken in Subic Bay, Philippines, in 1944. I don't know if any of this helps, but its all I could find.

Offline Materene

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Re: Hello to everyone Fact finding for a GATO class submarine
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2011, 07:06:32 PM »
Karen, I have no idea but I think just about everyone his age was playing baseball when they were able to do it, no internet back then  :).  Unlike WWII we vietnam vets had Beer and USO shows two or three times a week, actually we had a complete club with anything to drink, only problem was the cokes were very hard to come by and if you didn't mind a whiskey and root beer then you were hard core.  This weekend I'm going to try and find that other photo of him that was taken in San Diego, I think it was San Diego?

I'm sure there were one or two years between those deck photos and his portrait photo, I don't mind being wrong about the two pictures but if someone told me to find my Father I am still leaning toward those two.  If that is in fact him there is some lost information and history that would be nice to share.  We'll all know for sure if I can get those service records which I see no reason I can't unless they were also destroyed in that fire in the early 70's.  Most of those records that perished were Army records.  When I find out what Boat that is in the cruise I plan on finding the closest historical site for the boat and donate the original photo so that it may always be available to family members and new generations of family of the men that served on it.  I'm pushing 63 now and worked hard all day so tonight I plan on looking at more photos but not stay up late like I usually do, some of those GATOs I have not seen their photos,  for some reason they aren't available or just don't exist.  It would be very nice if that photo should turn out to be one that has no photo for it's website information base.


Off topic, here are my unit websites for any that care to visit,  we have a lot of good photos and great history so stop in and say hello.  Also note the HAL(3) url, I flew beside a lot of these guys and sort of a un Navy member, you might find their history interesting and maybe don't even know the Navy had it's own Helicopter gunship squadron, a bunch of great guys, stop in and say hello to them also.

http://www.oldsite.336ahc.com/336_ahc_site_map.htm

http://www.121avn.org/

http://www.seawolf.org/index.asp
« Last Edit: March 03, 2011, 07:36:31 PM by Materene »

Offline BrokenArrowtiger

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Re: Hello to everyone Fact finding for a GATO class submarine
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2011, 11:04:41 PM »
So i did some reasrch on this and i beleive i might know ur fathers ship. Its Iether the Trigger or the barb those were the only 2 boats that were gato class and  had the presidential unit of citiation But the trigger Sunk in 1945 only one live crewman and the conning tower configuration was changed in 1944 so ur dad would have only been on the ship for about 1 patrol? The barb one of the most successful subs of the entire war has the same conning tower configuration as whats in the picture. Sadley theirs not a website to tell much about her crew list so i cant confirm it.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2011, 11:34:46 PM by BrokenArrowtiger »
I am a fan of the batfish and the U-505 i have been interested in world war 2 since i was little my dad and his father and my dads fathers mother served in wars i am interested in the Submarine war of world war 2 and someday i want to be a marine archaeologist and or a world war 2 historian