A Brief History
On August 29, 1915, US Navy salvage crews raised the submarine, F-4, from the seabed off Honolulu where she had sunk with all hands on March 25, 1915, the first USN sub lost and another in a long list of Naval “Oops Moments.”
Tiny by today’s standards, the F-4 was only 142 feet and 7 inches long with a beam of 15 feet, with a crew of only 21 on the day she sank. Her original name had been USS Skate, although it was changed before her launch.
Interesting trivia regarding her salvage is that Navy diver John Henry Turpin, the first African American to serve as a Master Diver, helped conduct the salvage. Turpin is notable for having survived two separate explosions and sinkings of US Navy ships, USS Maine in 1898 and USS Bennington seven years later! Oddly enough, a later USS Bennington, an aircraft carrier, suffered a tragic explosion in 1954 that killed over 100 men.
Question for students (and subscribers): What is the worst US Navy disaster? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Green, Michael. United States Navy Submarines 1900–2019. Pen & Sword Maritime, 2019.
Polmar, Norman. The Death of the USS Thresher: The Story Behind History’s Deadliest Submarine Disaster. Lyons Press, 2017.
The featured image in this article, a contemporary photograph published in a newspaper of the final retrieval of the submarine after it sank, is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1928, and if not then due to lack of notice or renewal. See this page for further explanation.
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