75 Years Ago: Cmdr. Howard W. Gilmore and USS Growler (SS-215)

uss growler battle flag

Battle flag of Growler depicts the enemy ships she had sunk as well as her eleven war patrols, with the gold star indicating she was on eternal patrol. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph UA 80.01.01)

Sorry I’m a few days late with this. 75 years ago on 7 February 1943, Lt. Cmdr. Howard W. Gilmore sacrificed his life for his men after Growler rammed the Japanese patrol vessel Hayasaki. After the Japanese sailors opened up with machine guns, killing two of Growler’s crew and wounding Cmdr. Gilmore, the skipper ordered his XO, Lt. Cmdr. Arnold Schade to “Take her down.” Lt. Cmdr. Gilmore received the Medal of Honor posthumously, becoming the first of seven U.S. submarine skippers awarded the medal for actions “Above and beyond the call of duty” in WWII.

fred freema drawing

Drawing by Fred Freeman, 1949, depicting Cmdr. Howard W. Gilmore giving his last order: “Take her down,” after Growler had collided with a Japanese patrol boat on 7 February 1943. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph NH 53787)

Here is a link to Growler’s ship history: USS Growler (SS-215) DANFS entry