Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

Naval History Division â Washington

USS Perch II (SS-313)

(SS-313: dp. 1,525 (surf.), 2,424 (subm.); 1. 311'9"; b. 27'3"; dr. 15'3"; s. 20 k.

(surf.), 9 k. (subm.); cpl. 66; a. 1 5", 1 40mm, 10 21" tt.; cl. Balao)

The second Perch (SS-313) was laid down 5 January 1943 by the Electric Boat Co.,

Groton, Conn.; launched 12 September 1943; sponsored by Mrs. David A. Hart; and

commissioned 7 January 1944, Lt. Comdr. Blish C. Hills in command.

After shakedown she departed 19 February 1944 for Key West, Fla., where she

gave services to the Fleet Sound School. She then sailed for Pearl Harbor, arriving

3 April.

On 29 April she departed Pearl Harbor with Peto for Midway where Picuda joined

them. The South China Sea was the hunting ground for the wolf pack. Early in the

morning of 24 May, a medium tanker was contacted and damaged by four torpedo

hits. The counterattack by a lone escort prevented further observation of the

damage inflicted and knocked out both high pressure air compressors by flooding of

the pump room. Perch headed for the Marshall Islands, arriving Majuro 4 June.

On 27 June Perch began her second war patrol, this time off Surigao Strait in the

Philippines. She sank a 100-ton Japanese trawler with gunfire before returning to

Pearl Harbor 26 August.

Perch departed Pearl Harbor on her third war patrol 19 September. At Midway she

joined submarines Croaker and Escolar and the three set out for the confined

waters of the East China and Yellow Seas. Perch unsuccessfully attacked one

heavily escorted transport, and performed lifeguard duty supporting B-29 raids on

Honshu. Perch then headed for Saipan to refuel enroute to Brisbane, Australia, for

duty with Submarines, Southwest Pacific Fleet.

The fourth war patrol began 19 December from Brisbane. First Perch patrolled off

Hainan, China; next off Singapore; and finally in Balabae Straits off Borneo. She

sighted no enemy ships, and the patrol ended at Fremantle, Western Australia, 15

February 1945.

On 12 March Perch departed Fremantle carrying with her eleven Australian

specialists trained in commando warfare. On the first night of the mission, in the

Makassar Straits, above Balikpapan, Borneo, she landed four of the party who were

to make a reconnaissance of the beach and surrounding territory. Coming in close

ashore two nights later to disembark the remainder of the party, Perch encountered

a 300-ton coastal freighter that threatened to cut off her return to open water. Perch

engaged with gunfire and with the second hit the freighter burst into towering flames

and sank. Perch returned to Fremantle, Western Australia, completing her fifth war

patrol.

On 15 April Perch departed Fremantle on her sixth war patrol and journeyed to the

Java Sea to hunt out the enemy. When she encountered a convoy of two ships, an

alert Japanese escort discovered Perch and subjected her to a severe two-hour

depth charging which caused considerable damage throughout the boat. She then

sailed to the China coast to patrol off Hainan before returning to Pearl Harbor 5

June.

On 11 July Perch departed Pearl Harbor and after fueling at Saipan, proceeded

north for duty in the "Lifeguard League" off Japan. On 13 August she rescued a

Navy Corsair pilot from the water two miles offshore, bombarded fishing vessels and

buildings on the beach, and retired to sea. A few hours later the same day, she

picked up another pilot from the same fighter squadron five miles offshore. Two

days later Japan capitulated and Perch returned to Pearl Harbor 30 August.

Perch departed Pearl Harbor and set course for the Golden Gate, arriving Hunter's

Point 8 September. She decommissioned and was placed in reserve in January

1947. On 19 January 1948 Perch was redesignated as a submarine transport

(SSP-313), and was placed in an active status, attached to the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Perch recommissioned at Mare Island Naval Shipyard 20 May 1948, Lt. Comdr. O.

H. Payne in command. Through 1949, the ship participated in various troop and

cargo carrying exercises. On 31 January 1950 Perch was reclassified an ASSP. In

September 1950 Perch transported a force of British Commandos in a raid on the

northeast coast of Korea west of Tanchon. The target, a train tunnel on the

north-south supply line, was destroyed, with the loss of one man who was buried at

sea. The commanding officer, Lt. Comdr. R. D. Quinn, became the only submarine

commanding officer to receive a combat award during the Korean conflict when he

was awarded the Bronze Star for this action.

From August 1951 to March 1952, Perch underwent overhaul at Mare Island. From

1952 to 1954, Perch trained, making "reconnaissance runs" and "raids" on several

Alaskan and Hawaiian islands. In January 1955 Perch made a cruise to WestPac

conducting a "reconnaissance and raid" on Iwo Jima and observed other islands in

the Bonin Chain. Periods between Far Eastern cruises, Perch performed type

training and inter-type amphibious exercises in the San Diego area.

Perch, reclassified as an APSS on 24 October 1956, departed San Diego 5

November for a reconnaissance exercise in the Panama Canal Area, returning to

San Diego 11 December. In late 1957 she made a reconnaissance voyage from

San Diego to Hawaii and Alaska, and spent most of 1958 and 1959 in amphibious

training exercises in the San Diego area with marines and Underwater Demolition

Teams.

In December 1959 Perch departed San Diego, decommissioned on 31 March 1960,

and entered the Mare Island Group of the Pacific Reserve Fleet at Vallejo, Calif.

Perch recommissioned 11 November 1961, Lt. Comdr. C.H. Hedgepeth in

command, trained on the West Coast and Hawaii through 1962 and arrived at her

new homeport, Subic Bay, Philippine Islands in March 1963. Her operations

consisted of training Marine, Special Forces, and UDT personnel in reconnaissance

and also in providing training services to allied countries. In May and June 1964

Perch traveled to Mindoro and trained with British commando forces. July and

August were spent in Hong Kong, Pohong Bay, Korea (with R.O.K. Special Forces),

Yokosuka and Okinawa.

March and April 1965, saw Perch participating in exercise "Jungle Drum III" by

landing 75 Marine Corps reconnaissance personnel on the Malay Peninsula from

the Gulf of Siam. Perch conducted search and rescue operations in the Vietnam

combat zone during August and September. She made two amphibious landings on

the coast of South Vietnam during November and December as part of operation

"Dagger Thrust."

During January Perch landed UDT personnel for beach survey work in South

Vietnam as part of operation "Double Eagle." She then provided services at

Legaspi, P.I. to train Filipino and American UDT personnel. Between local training

operations in the Subic Bay area, Perch worked with Chinese Special Forces at

Kaoshing, Taiwan, and with Army Special Forces at Keelung, Taiwan.

In July Perch participated in operation "Deck House II" on the coast of South

Vietnam. Again in August, Perch conducted several independent beach surveys with

UDT personnel along the coast of South Vietnam. For operation "Deck House IV" in

September, Perch landed UDT personnel on five successive nights for preinvasion

beach reconnaissance. On 7 October 1966, Perch headed for Pearl Harbor via

Hong Kong, Palau Islands, Guam, and Midway Island. She operated in Hawaiian

waters until 1967 when she became Naval Reserve Training submarine at San

Diego. On 22 August 1968 Perch's classification was changed from APSS-313 to

LPSS-313. Into 1970 she continues to serve reservists at San Diego.

Perch received four battle stars for World War II service and one battle star for

Korean War service. Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey

(patrick