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USS PAMPANITO (SS-383)


THE SIXTH WAR PATROL

FEBRUARY 25 - APRIL 24, 1945
Pampanito headed out on her sixth patrol on the afternoon of February 25, 1945 and resumed patrol off the Malaysian Peninsula. On February 27 she sent out a message to Sealion II (SS-315, and Mingo (SS-216) to rendezvous. On the morning of March 2, Summers, commander of the new wolfpack, met the other two subs and gave orders for the next two days. The submarines patrolled in parallel lanes with Lt. Commander Charles F. Putman in Sealion to the west, and Lt. Commander John R. Madison in Mingo to the east.

The pack hunted in vain over the next several days, sighting only a properly marked hospital ship (which was, of course, allowed to pass), and a group of six sailing ships, which was avoided. They also picked up two U.S. subs, Pintado (SS-387) and Sea Robin (SS-407), with whom Pampanito rendezvoused on March 11. Sea Robin had 34 sacks of long overdue mail for delivery. Christmas had finally caught up with Pampanito. This was an unexpected treat, even though some of the Christmas cookies had gotten a little moldy.

The next week was again characterized by a complete lack of targets until, on March 18 there was a contact on the SJ radar at a range of eight miles. The target was traveling fast, 22 knots, and was zig-zagging wildly. Summers closed to investigate but could not catch up. The target was thought to be a destroyer. As a result of missing the contact, Summers regrouped the patrol lanes of the pack to a staggered configuration. Sealion reported that she had sunk the unescorted tanker Samui, on the morning of the 17th.

On the night of March 23, the wolf-pack was joined by a fourth member, USS Caiman (SS-323). Pampanito rendezvoused with the new member of the pack a few miles east of the small island of Pulau Redang, and Lt. Commander William Bush, Perspective Commanding Officer (PCO) aboard Pampanito, was transferred to her. Two days later the control of the pack was turned over to Bush in Caiman. Pampanito headed north to patrol alone until new orders were received. On March 28, Pampanito headed for Pearl Harbor. Enroute, heavy seas and high northeast winds were encountered. On March 31, she exchanged recognition signals with USS Snook (SS-279), which was lost with all hands a few days later. The cause of Snook's loss is unknown. The storm tapered off as Pampanito arrived in Saipan on April 5th for fuel.

On the way to Hawaii, Pampanito joined a wolf pack called "Bennet's Blazers," made up of USS Sea Owl (SS-405), USS Piranha (SS-389), USS Puffer (SS-268), and USS Thresher (SS-200). She hunted with them for a week before continuing to Pearl Harbor. She arrived there on April 24. The captain and crew were congratulated on a safe return from "a hard and boring patrol." Pampanito was ordered to San Francisco for a much needed navy yard overhaul at Hunter's Point. Administrative Commander R. S. Benson wished them "a pleasant patrol" in San Francisco.

At Hunter's Point, Pampanito underwent a major refit and drydocking during June and July. Her main four-inch deck gun, which she had carried forward of the conning tower on all six patrols, was replaced with a five-inch gun aft. She was fitted out with twin forty-millimeter guns, one on each gun deck, and a double twenty millimeter gun on the forward main deck. A sonar dome was installed, as was a newly developed SV type radar.

Pampanito left Hunter's Point and was headed for Pearl Harbor and the seventh patrol under the command of Commander Donald A. Scherer. On August 15, they received news that Japan had surrendered. Pampanito returned to the Bay Area where she has been ever since.

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