a 501(c)3 Ocean Outreach Project
Honoring the men their memory and their mission
USS Grunion (SS-216) was a Gato-class submarine that was sunk at Kiska, Alaska, during World War II. She was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for the grunion.
Her keel was laid down by the Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut on 1 March 1941. She was launched on 22 December 1941, (sponsored by Mrs. Stanford C. Hooper, wife of Rear Admiral Hooper), and commissioned on 11 April 1942 with Lieutenant Commander (Lt. Cmdr.) Mannert L. Abele, USNA class of 1926 in command.
After shakedown out of New London, the Grunion sailed for the Pacific on 24 May. A week later, as she transited the Caribbean Sea for Panama, she rescued 16 survivors of the USAT Jack, which had been torpedoed by the German submarine U-558, and conducted a fruitless search for 13 other survivors presumed to be in the vicinity. Arriving at Coco Solo on 3 June, the Grunion landed the survivors and continued on to Pearl Harbor, arriving on 20 June.
Departing Hawaii on 30 June after ten days of intensive training, the Grunion touched Midway Island before heading toward the Aleutian Islands for her first war patrol. Her first report, made as she patrolled north of Kiska Island, stated she had been attacked by a Japanese destroyer and had fired torpedoes at her with inconclusive results. She operated off Kiska throughout July and sank two enemy patrol boats as she waited for enemy shipping. On 30 July, the submarine reported intensive antisubmarine activity and was ordered back to Dutch Harbor.
The Grunion was never heard from again. Air searches off Kiska were fruitless, and on 5 October the Grunion was reported overdue from patrol and assumed lost with all hands. Her name was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 2 November 1942. Captured Japanese records show no antisubmarine attacks in the Kiska area, and the fate of Grunion remained a mystery for 65 years, until the discovery in the Bering Sea in August 2007 of a wreck believed to be her. In October 2008, the U.S. Navy verified that the wreck is the Grunion.
The Grunion received one battle star for her World War II service.