89 Men Lost

March 26, 1945

USS Trigger (SS 237)

  • Gato Class Submarine
  • Keel laid: February 1, 1941, at Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, CA
  • Launched: October 22, 1941
  • Commissioned: January 30, 1942
  • Displacement: 1,526 tons surfaced; 2,410 tons submerged
  • Length: 311′ 10″
  • Beam: 27′ 4″
  • Operating depth: 300′
  • Complement: 6 officers, 54 enlisted
  • Armament: ten 21″ torpedo tubes, six forward, four aft, 24 torpedoes, one 3″/50 dual purpose deck gun, two .50 cal. machine guns, two .30 cal. machine guns

Trigger (with new skipper Commander David R. Connole) stood out to sea on March 11th to begin her 12th war patrol and headed for the Nansei Shoto area. On March 18th, she attacked a convoy west of the islands, sinking the cargo ship Tsukushi Maru No.3 and damaging another. The attack was reported on March 20th, and the submarine was subsequently ordered to radio as many movements of the convoy as possible to help find a safe passage through a known mined area of the East China Sea. On March 24th, Trigger was ordered to begin patrolling west of the islands the next day, outside the 100 fathom curve, and to steer clear of restricted areas. On March 26th, she was ordered to join a wolf pack called “Earl’s Eliminators” and to acknowledge receipt of the message. A weather report came from the submarine that day but no confirmation of her having received the message. The weather report was Trigger’s last transmission. On April 4th, she was ordered to proceed to Midway Island, but she had not arrived by May 1st and was reported as presumed lost.

Postwar records indicate she torpedoed and sank the repair ship Odate on March 27th. The next day, Japanese planes and ships joined in a two-hour attack on a submarine heard by Silversides, Sea Dog (SS 401), Hackleback (SS 295), and Threadfin (SS 410) in adjacent areas. Threadfin was the only one of these submarines attacked that day, and she reported hearing many depth charges and several heavy explosions east of her after the attack on her ceased. Postwar Japanese records showed a Japanese aircraft detected and bombed a submarine on March 28, 1945. Surface ships were then guided to the spot and delivered an intensive depth charging. After two hours, a large oil slick appeared.

Trigger received 11 battle stars for World War II service and the Presidential Unit Citation for her fifth, sixth, and seventh war patrols. She is credited with sinking 18 ships (tied for seventh on the list of confirmed sinkings by number of ships with Seawolf and Rasher), totaling 86,552 tons (seventh on the list of confirmed sinkings by tonnage), according to the official JANAC accounting postwar.

Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

USS Trigger (SS 237)
Patch(es) were obtained from:
NavSource Online (Submarine Photo Archive).
Originally contributed by Mike Smolinski.
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