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Bandera Courier
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2013-01-24

Salute to USS Pintado

Doug White

Wow! There I was, looking through more old photos from the late 90s. I came across this interesting looking one. So here is some history about the USS Pintado.
Two ships of the United States Navy have borne the name. The name is in honor of the "pintado," a large mackerel-like fish whose elongated spots suggested the Spanish word meaning "painted." They are found along the Florida coast and in the West Indies.
The first US Navy submarine by that name was SS-387 a balano-class submarine. The balano-class was a successful design used during Word War II.
It was laid down by the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine, on 7 May 1943. It was launched only four months later, 15 September 1943!
It was powered by four diesel engines which powered electric generators and electric motors drove the shafts. Awesome!
She departed Portsmouth 17 Feb 44 for torpedo trials training and anti-submarine warfare tactics and experiments. She sailed for the Pacific 31 March, transited the Panama Canal, and arrived at Pearl Harbor 23 April 1944!
In June she was just south of Honshu when all of a sudden a smoking B-29 bomber, by the name of "City of Galveston," crossed her bow at approximately 2,000 feet and dropped a dozen parachutes, crashed into the sea and exploded. In less than an hour the submarine had rescued the entire crew!
On her sixth and final war patrol, she took station off Tokyo Bay until hearing that the hostilities had ended on 15 August. She returned to Pearl Harbor, then later reached San Francisco and remained there until being decommissioned 6 March 1946. She was sold for scrap to Zidell Explorations, Inc., Portland, Oregon 20 Jan 69.
During the war, Pintado was credited with sinking 13 ships of 98,600 tons, and damaging two additional vessels, one a 28,000 ton aircraft carrier!
Now, for the local connection! Her conning tower is on display at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, just up the road a bit from Bandera.
The second USS Pintado (SSN-672) was a sturgeon-class submarine, commissioned in 1971 and decomissioned on 26 Feb 98.
I hope you enjoyed this week's article.