USS Penguin (ASR-12)

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USS Penguin.gif
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Name: USS Penguin
Builder: Charleston Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co.
Laid down: 9 February 1943, as USS Chetco (AT-99)
Launched: 20 July 1943
Commissioned: 29 May 1944
Decommissioned: June 1947
Renamed: USS Penguin, 23 September 1943
Reclassified: ASR–12, 23 September 1943
Recommissioned: 3 April 1952
Decommissioned: 29 June 1970
  • De profundis
  • ("From the depths")
General characteristics
Class and type:Penguin class submarine rescue ship
Displacement: 1,740 long tons (1,768 t) full load
Length: 205 ft (62 m)
Beam: 39 ft 3 in (11.96 m)
Draft: 15 ft 6 in (4.72 m)
Speed: 16 knots (18 mph; 30 km/h)
Complement: 91

The third USS Penguin (ASR–12) was a submarine rescue ship in the United States Navy during World War II. She was the lead ship of a class of three vessels (Penguin, Bluebird, and Skylark) all originally laid down as fleet ocean tugs before being converted to rescue ships before completion.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

The second USS Bluebird (ASR-19) was a Penguin-class submarine rescue ship in the United States Navy.


Penguin was laid down as Chetco (AT-99) by the Charleston Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Charleston, South Carolina, 9 February 1943; launched 20 July 1943; sponsored by Mrs. H. S. Dickinson; renamed and reclassified USS Penguin (ASR–12), 23 September 1943; and commissioned 29 May 1944, Lt. Comdr. G. W. Albin, Jr., in command.

Charleston, South Carolina City in the United States

Charleston is the oldest and largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina, the county seat of Charleston County, and the principal city in the Charleston–North Charleston–Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city lies just south of the geographical midpoint of South Carolina's coastline and is located on Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean formed by the confluence of the Ashley, Cooper, and Wando rivers. Charleston had an estimated population of 134,875 in 2017. The estimated population of the Charleston metropolitan area, comprising Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties, was 761,155 residents in 2016, the third-largest in the state and the 78th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States.

North Atlantic operations

Penguin, a submarine rescue and salvage vessel reported for duty with SubRon 1, at New London, Connecticut, 9 June 1944. Based there after shakedown training, she served as a target and torpedo recovery ship for Allied submarines training in the area; performed towing assignments; participated in the planting and sweeping of experimental mine fields; and conducted salvage operations. Included in the latter were operations on a sunken U-boat near Block Island between April and June 1945.

Submarine Watercraft capable of independent operation underwater

A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation underwater. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability. The term most commonly refers to a large, crewed vessel. It is also sometimes used historically or colloquially to refer to remotely operated vehicles and robots, as well as medium-sized or smaller vessels, such as the midget submarine and the wet sub. The noun submarine evolved as a shortened form of submarine boat; by naval tradition, submarines are usually referred to as "boats" rather than as "ships", regardless of their size.

New London, Connecticut City in New London, Connecticut

New London is a seaport city and a port of entry on the northeast coast of the United States, located at the mouth of the Thames River in New London County, Connecticut. It was one of the world's three busiest whaling ports for several decades beginning in the early 19th century, along with Nantucket and New Bedford, Massachusetts. The wealth that whaling brought into the city furnished the capital to fund much of the city's present architecture. The city subsequently became home to other shipping and manufacturing industries, but it has gradually lost most of its industrial heart.

U-boat German submarine of the First or Second World War

U-boat is an anglicised version of the German word U-Boot[ˈuːboːt](listen), a shortening of Unterseeboot, literally "underseaboat." While the German term refers to any submarine, the English one refers specifically to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in the First and Second World Wars. Although at times they were efficient fleet weapons against enemy naval warships, they were most effectively used in an economic warfare role and enforcing a naval blockade against enemy shipping. The primary targets of the U-boat campaigns in both wars were the merchant convoys bringing supplies from Canada and other parts of the British Empire, and from the United States to the United Kingdom and to the Soviet Union and the Allied territories in the Mediterranean. German submarines also destroyed Brazilian merchant ships during World War II, causing Brazil to declare war on the Axis powers in 1944.

Shifting to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for the period 5 July–7 September, Penguin served as a target vessel and a rescue and salvage ship for submarines undergoing sea trials, then returned to New London, and, for the remainder of the year alternated between those two submarine bases. Permanently attached to New London with the new year, 1946, she remained there until November when she participated in cold weather operations off Newfoundland.

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNS), often called the Portsmouth Navy Yard, is a United States Navy shipyard located in Kittery on the southern boundary of Maine near the city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. PNS is tasked with the overhaul, repair, and modernization of US Navy submarines. The facility is sometimes confused with the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia.

New Hampshire State of the United States of America

New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. New Hampshire is the 5th smallest by area and the 10th least populous of the 50 states. Concord is the state capital, while Manchester is the largest city in the state. It has no general sales tax, nor is personal income taxed at either the state or local level. The New Hampshire primary is the first primary in the U.S. presidential election cycle. Its license plates carry the state motto, "Live Free or Die". The state's nickname, "The Granite State", refers to its extensive granite formations and quarries.

Dominion of Newfoundland UK possession in North America between 1907 and 1949

Newfoundland was a British dominion from 1907 to 1949. The dominion, situated in northeastern North America along the Atlantic coast, comprised the island of Newfoundland as well as Labrador on the continental mainland. Before attaining dominion status, Newfoundland was a British colony, self-governing from 1855.


On her return to New London she continued her duties as rescue and salvage ship, target and torpedo recovery vessel, and escort and towing vessel. In June 1947 she joined the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, decommissioning, at New London, 4 September.

Reactivation for Atlantic operations

Penguin, berthed at New London for four and a half years, recommissioned 3 April 1952. On 28 April, she reported for duty with the Atlantic Fleet's Submarine Forces, and on 23 July, arrived at Key West, her new homeport. For the next nine years, with only occasional interruptions for submarine exercises or salvage operations in the Caribbean, and, in August 1954, off Newfoundland, she carried out her mission in the Key West area for SubRon 12. During that period, however, she established a new record for ships of her class by "rescuing", during training operations, personnel from a submarine 349' below the surface, 24 February 1955.

Key West City in Florida, United States

Key West is an island and city in the Straits of Florida on the North American continent. The city lies at the southernmost end of U.S. Route 1, the longest north-south road in the United States. Key West is the southernmost city in the contiguous United States and the westernmost island connected by highway in the Florida Keys. The island is about 4 miles (6.4 km) long and 1 mile (1.6 km) wide, with a total land mass of 4.2 square miles (11 km2). Duval Street, its main street, is 1.1 miles (1.8 km) in length in its 14-block-long crossing from the Gulf of Mexico to the Straits of Florida and the Atlantic Ocean. Key West is about 95 miles (153 km) north of Cuba at their closest points.

Caribbean region to the center-east of America composed of many islands and of coastal regions of continental countries surrounding the Caribbean Sea

The Caribbean is a region of The Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands and the surrounding coasts. The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.

In 1961, Penguin entered another first on her record. On 20 March she departed for Rota, Spain, becoming the first ASR to be deployed to the Sixth Fleet. Since that time she has continued salvage operations, primarily on downed aircraft, and weapons evaluation tests; provided target and torpedo recovery services; and performed towing services for the Atlantic Fleet and, in 1963, 1964, 1967 and 1969, for the 6th Fleet. While with the latter she has also served as flagship for that fleet's submarine force. Fortunately, however, into 1970, she had not been called on to conduct rescue operations for an actual submarine disaster.

See also

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This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships .The entry can be found here.