Historic U.S. Submarine Torsk
By James Donahue
The USS Torsk, a relic of World War II, remains moored today in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor as
part of the Maryland Submarine Memorial. Visitors can’t miss this sub because of the ferocious-looking teeth painted
on her bow.
The Torsk was launched late in the war but saw action in the Pacific off the Coast of Japan. On its
first patrol in early 1945 it joined a fleet of three other submarines serving as a lifeguard for the B-29 bombers then raiding
On the second patrol in July and August, 1945, Torsk rescued seven Japanese seamen after their ship
was sunk by US aircraft. On August 14, the day before the war ended, Torsk had the distinction of firing a torpedo and sinking
a small Japanese coast defense vessel, the last ship sunk in the war.
After the war the Torsk remained in service as a training ship. In 1957 the vessel participated in
NATO exercises with submarines of the British Navy. And in 1959 Torsk participated in ceremonies at the opening of the St.
Lawrence Seaway. The sub made an inland cruse through the Great Lakes to Milwaukee, Chicago and Buffalo.
During the Lebanon Crisis in 1960, Torsk operated as a unit of the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean
Sea for which she was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation. Then she participated in the 1962 naval blockade of Cuba during
the Russian/Cuban missile crisis.
Torsk made several cruises to European ports and continued operating as a training vessel. By the
time it was decommissioned in 1968, Torsk held yet another distinction. This submarine made 11,884 dives, possibly the most
of any submarine in U.S. fleet history. This was because it was a training vessel most of its time afloat.