Keel laid by Portsmouth Naval Shipyard: 2 Nov '43
Launched: 28 March '44
Sponsor: Mrs. Robert N. Robertson
Commissioned: 13 Jun '44, LtCdr Roy C. Klinker, CO
Decommissioned: 15 Oct '52
Re-commissioned 5 Jun '53
Decommissioned & Struck from Navy List: 14 Dec '70
Sold to Turkey: 14 Dec '70, renamed BURAK REIS (S335)
The Sea Fox was a BALAO Class boat and was one of 123 of this class built. This was the largest of any class of submarine built by the United States at that time. BALAO class boats were 311 ft. long and displaced 1825 tons. They had an operating range of 11,800 miles and atop surface speed of 20 knots. The Sea Fox had six torpedo tubes forward and four aft.
The Sea Fox conducted four WWII patrols and accounted for two ships sunk (8,000 tons) and one damaged (4,000 tons). During her four war patrols she rescued eleven aviators. She was under the command of LCDR Roy C. Klinker for all of her WWII patrols. In February of 1945,while undergoing refit at Guam, five of her crewmembers were killed in a Japanese ambush.
The following is a compressed history of the Sea Fox. Two months after commissioning, she departed New London for Hawaii and duty in SubDiv 282. After arriving at Pearl Harbor, she departed in October for her first war patrol. This patrol was conducted in the area of the Bonin Islands. It was during this patrol that she damaged one freighter and sunk another.
After a refit at Majuro, she departed in December '44 for her second patrol. She returned to Nansei Shoto as part of TG 17.19 with the USS Blueback (SS326) and USS Puffer (SS268). One aviator was rescued. In February '45 she returned to Guam for a refit. It was during this refit that she lost five members of her crew to a Japanese ambush.
In March '45, she departed for her third patrol in the South China Sea and Formosa area. It was during this patrol that, according to her records, she damaged another freighter, however former crewmembers reported that the target sunk. This was never officially confirmed. It was also on this patrol that the Sea Fox, operating with the USS Queenfish (SS393), that the Awa Mare was sunk by the Queenfish. This so-called "mercy ship" was reportedly caring only "prisoner of war materials." The Sea Fox was ordered to pick up survivors and proof of any cargo. No survivors were found, however bales of sheet rubber were located and some taken aboard as proof of the type of material that was actually on the Awa Maru.
The Sea Fox arrived in Pearl Harbor on 6 May '45 for another refit. A month later she deployed for her fourth war patrol. She was assigned to lifeguard duty during this 53-day patrol and she rescued nine aviators near Marcus Island and tenth in the Nanpo Shoto. She went to Midway on 29 July for refit. At about this same time the war ended and the Sea Fox sailed for Pearl Harbor.
Although the crew expected to be sent home since they had completed four war patrols, she was assigned to postwar duty with SubRon 5 in the Philippines. Based at Subic Bay she operated in the Philippine Sea until January '46 when she departed for the United States. She arrived in San Francisco in February and following an overhaul, she returned to Pearl Harbor to rejoin SubDiv 52. During the remainder of '46 she was deployed three times to the Central Pacific, the the Western Pacific in the winter of '48 and in the fall of '49. In January of 1950, she was a unit of SubDiv 12 and six months later, hostilities broke out in Korea. Training exercises for the Sea Fox increased at this point.
On 2 Sept. '51, the Sea Fox sailed west. A six-month tour in the Western Pacific followed during which she supported the United Nations' efforts in Korea by providing services to the ASW training group and by patrolling in the northern Sea of Japan. In March of '51, she returned to Pearl Harbor to resume local operations and to prepare for her Guppy IIA conversion.
On 15 Oct '51 at Mare Island, the Sea Fox was decommissioned. She was re-commissioned on 5 June '53 with her new Guppy IIA look. In August she returned to Pearl Harbor and resumed training operations, special operations, and western pacific deployments as a unit of SubDiv 71. On 1 July '55, she was reassigned to SubDiv 33 in San Diego and became the flagship of the division on 1 August and resumed local operations. A year later she sailed west for another six month tour with the 7th fleet and from then until 1969 she continued to rotate between training operations out of San Diego and duty with the 7th Fleet in the western Pacific. She supported operations in Vietnam from 1964 on.
On 21 Dec '68, she returned to San Diego from her WestPac deployment and continued local operations, overhaul, and training exercises. in 1969 she was sent to the shipyard to receive her new sail and completed her service to her country by making her tenth WestPac deployment in 1970
On 14 Dec '70, the USS Sea Fox (SS402), was decommissioned and struck from the Navy List and sold to Turkey. The Sea Fox became the BURAK REIS (S335) and continued to operate under the Turkish until 1996 when, according to what records can be located, she was once again stricken from a country's Naval fleet. Records located do not indicate a final fate for the Sea Fox, however efforts are continuing to obtain a final determination of her fate.
From 1944 to 1970, the USS Sea Fox (SS402) provided "Silent Service" to her country in one World War, Korea, Vietnam, and numerous "surveillance" patrols during the "Cold War." Following her service to the United States Navy, she continued from 1970 until 1996 to provide service for Turkey. This is a total of 52 years of Silent Service. Like so many of our United States Submarines, a lot was asked, and like her crews, even more was given.
After years of searching for information about the Sea Fox following her decomissioning by the Turkish Navy, the fate of the Sea Fox has finally been determined. On 18 June '99, an email was received from the Webmaster of one of the Turkish Navy sites. (This site is linked on the links page) According to the information received, the Sea Fox/BURAKREIS was not scrapped following decomissioning. She is now assigned to the Golcuk Submarine Base in Turkey, where she serves as a "charging boat" for other Guppy submarines of the Turkish Navy. In addition some of her parts were "uininstalled" to keep other Guppy boats active "and in so doing she was like giving her blood to make her sisters alive." The emails is further quoted: "As far as we know the proud SEAFOX/BURAKREIS will remain to do so at least another 3 years." This means that the Sea Fox will have been "in service" to a submarine fleet for a total of 58 years! It is very interesting to note that the individual who provided this information earned his dolphins on board the SEAFOX/BURAKREIS and she was his first submarine assignment. Following her period as a "Charging Boat" she was transferred to the yards, sold, and in 2003 was cut up and sold for scrap. A sad end for a grand lady!
A brief account of her accomplishments following the war indicates a wide range of abilities and dedication from those who served aboard her. She conducted eleven WestPac druises during her career, which included duty with the United Nations Forces in Korea and service in Vietnam.
In addition to the Sea Fox conducted several "surviellance" patrols during her WestPac cruises. In August of 1950, her crew won dthe "Iron Man" trophy for athletic competition. From 1 Sep '53 to 1 Sep '54, she set a modern day record (at that time) for steaming--cruised 37,977 miles, 5576 hours underway, longest dive of 158 hours 36 minutes, and submerged time of 1478 hours and 44 minutes. She also was awarded the Battle Efficiency "E" in 1964, '65, and '66. She won the Fire Control Award in 1964.
Although commissioned as a Fleet Boat, she underwent two major convesions during her career. On 13 June '53 she was re-commissioned as a Guppy IIA. Between 1953 and 1970, she underwent many changes in equipment which further increased her operational capabilities. In 1966, she received her new "Northern Sail", once again changing her overall appearance.
A brief amount of space should be devoted to the Guppy IIA conversions. During the "Cold War" the
submarines were called on to provide many and varied operations which required more operating range and capabilities. Numerous submarines on both coasts conducted these operations and this continued until the SSN/SSBNs took over and the diesel boats were slowly sold, decommisisoned, and scrapped. There were sixteeen fleet boats that were converted to Guppy IIAs. The USS Entemedor (SS340), USS Hardhead (SS365), USS Jallao (SS368), USS Menhaden (SS377), USS Picuda (SS382), USS Bang (SS385, USS Pomfret (SS391), USS Razorback (SS394), USS Ronquil (SS396), USS Sea Fox (SS402), USS Threadfin (SS410), USS Stickleback (SS415). These were all BALAO class. Trench class boats converted to Guppy IIAs were the USS Thornback (SS418), USS Tirante (SS420), USS Trutta (SS421), and the USS Quillback (SS424).
Some of the major changes resulting from the conversion were; change in overall length, removal of one main engine, adding Greater Underwater Propulsion Power (GUPPY) which enabled the boats to run on engines while submerged. Sargo II batteries were installed, the sail and bow were streamlined, and superstructure and equipment updated and rearranged.
This history information was taken, in part, from SUBNET material, from the "Dictionary of American Fighting Ships," Navy Department, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy History Division, Wash. D.C. and U.S. Naval Submarine Force Information Book '98, J. Christley, and "The Sea Fox Story" compiled and edited by Lt. Dan Smith, Engineering Officer, USS Sea Fox (SS402) during WWII. Information about the Sea Fox in the Turkish Navy was provided by the Webmaster of the Turkish Navy site PREVEZE.
June '44-Aug '45 = Roy C. Klinker
Aug '45-Apr '46 = Howard A. Thompson
Apr '46-Nov '47 = Robert E. Dornin
Nov '47 - Jul '49 = James G Glaes
Jul '49 - Jul '50 = Bricker M. Ganyard
Jul '50 - Oct '52 = Ira Dye
Oct '52 - Jun '53 = Guppy IIA Conversion
Jun '53 - Apr '55 = George S. Bennett
Apr '55 - May '57 = Lewis H. Neeb
May '57 - Apr '59 = James H. Cronander
Apr '59 - Apr '61 = Alfred F. Kennedy
Apr '61 - Jun '63 = John N. Howard
Jun '63 - Jun '65 = Robert E. Vaughn
Jun '65 - Jun '67 = Norman F. Stein
Jun '67 - Jul '69 = Harold M. Richardson
Jul '69 - Dec '70 = Walter H. Stammer, Jr
Chiefs of the Boat (COBs)
1944-1945 = Ted L. Goodhue
1945-1945 = Linwood Respess
1945 -1946 = Clyde Reece
1946-1947 = George Sutter
1948-1948 = ______ Gato
1949- ??? = Unknown
1952-1953 = Gene R. Dick
1953-1954 = Willis Matson II
1954-1956 = Fred Nuttlemann
1956-1957 = Sam Seaton
1957-1958 = Pappy Walker
1958-1960 = Jack Anderson
1960-1962 = Jim Mason
1962-1963 = Bill Scott
1964 -1964= Dave Davis
1964-1965 - Frank Ryan
1965-1967 = James Morris
1968-1969 = Bud Ross
1969- Decom = Bill Zilar
June 13, 1944 Commissioned at Portsmouth Navy Yard.
Aug. 10, 1944 Departed New London, CT for war zone.
Sept. 11, 1944 Arrived at Pearl Harbor.
Oct. 4, 1944 Departed for 1st war patrol in the Bonin Islands and
Nansei Shoto areas.
Oct. 26, 1944 First Sinking - 4,000 tons.
Nov. 8, 1944 Second Sinking - 4,000 tons (One Torpedo circled and
came back at Sea Fox--crashed dived and it passed overhead.
Nov. 24, 1944 Arrived Majuro for refit.
Dec. 20, 1944 Departed for 2nd war patrol in Nansei Shoto area.
Dec. 27, 1944 Rescued one aviator.
Feb. 5, 1945 Arrived Guam for refit: 5 crew members killed in ambush.
Mar. 8, 1945 Left for 3rd war patrol in the China Sea and Formosa
Apr. 1, 1945 Damaged freighter - 4,000 tons.
May 6, 1945 Arrived Pearl Harbor for refit.
Jun. 7, 1945 Departed for 4th war patrol in Marcus Islands and
Hanpo Shoto areas.
Jun. 20, 1945 Rescued nine aviators
Jul. 15, 1945 Rescued one aviator.
Jul. 29, 1945 Arrived Midway for refit.
Aug. 15, 1945 War over - left for Pearl Harbor.
Sep. 6, 1945 Left Pearl Harbor on first West Pac cruise.
Sep. 26, 1945 Arrived Subic Bay for 1st deployment.
Feb 2, 1946 Arrived San Francisco for 3 month overhaul.
1949 - 1952 Made 2 six month deployments and saw action in Korea.
Aug 11, 1950 Won "Iron Man" trophy for athletic competition.
Iwo Jima Operation; 14-16 Mar 45. 1 Engagement Star.
Okinawa Gunto Operatoin; 7 Mar 45-21 Jun 45; one engagement star.
3rd Fleet Operations Against Japan; 10-19 Jul 45. four engagement stars.
Submarine war patrols (Pacific); 4 Oct-24 Nov 44.
For service 9 Jan-5b Mar 48, 11-30 Oct 49; entitled to wear Clasp A for service in Asia.
For service 26-29 Nov 49, 9 Jan-5 Mar 48,; Quomey/Matsu 1958.
For service 11 Sep 51 - 18 Feb 52.
For service in Vietnam 25-30 May 64 and 2 Jul - 2 Sep 64.
For service 31 Jul - 28 Aug 65 ; 1970
Conducted four war patrols during WWII. Rescued 11 Army flyers.
Awarded 4 battle stars in WWII and 4 campaign stars for Viet Nam service.
Earned Battle "E" awards:
25 May 64-30 May 64
2 Jul 64 - 2 Sep 64
31 Jul 65 - 23 Aug 65
Oct. 1952 Decommissioned for Guppy conversion.
Jun. 13, 1953 Recommissioned with new Guppy look.
Sep. 1, 1953-Sep 1, 1954 Established new steaming record for that time period.
1956 to 1958 Made five 6 month West Pac cruises.
Oct 1960 Embarked on extended cruise to the FarEast.
Sep. 1962 Departed for 6 month deployment.
March 1964 Began post-war deployment in West Pac.
1964 Awarded Battle Efficiency "E" and Fire Control Awards
1965 Received second consecutive Battle Efficiency "E" and earned VM Defemse Medal
Jul. 1966 Awarded 3rd consecutive Battle Efficiency E
Feb. 1967 Began post-war deployment in West Pac.
Jun. 6, 1968 Left for West Pac deployment.
1969 Refitted with Northern Sail
1970 Departed for final West Pac deployment.
Dec 14, 1970 Decommissioned and turned over to Turkey as BURAK REIS (S335)
1970-1996 Service in Turkish Submarine Force
1996 Stricken from Turkish Navy & Scrapped.
52 Years of "Silent Service" to two countries.
here to add text.
A Chronology of Important Events
Medal chart researched by Joel Greenberg (69-70)