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USS Sealion (SS-195), a Sargo-class submarine, was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the sea lion, any of several large, eared seal native to the Pacific.

Her keel was laid down on 20 June 1938 by the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticutmarker. She was launched on 25 May 1939 sponsored by Mrs. Claude C. Bloch, and commissioned on 27 November 1939, Lieutenant J. K. Morrison Jr. in command.

Service History

Following shakedown, Sealion, assigned to Submarine Division 17 (SubDiv 17), prepared for overseas deployment. In the spring of 1940, she sailed, with her division for the Philippine Islandsmarker, arriving at Cavitemarker in the fall to commence operations as a unit of the Asiatic Fleet. Into October 1941, she ranged from Luzonmarker into the Sulu Archipelagomarker, then, with another submarine of her division, now SubDiv 202, she prepared for a regular overhaul at the Cavite Navy Yardmarker. By 8 December, her yard period had begun; and, two days later, she took two direct hits in the Japanese air raid which demolished the navy yard.

The first bomb struck the after end of her conning tower and exploded outside the hull, over the control room. The second smashed through a main ballast tank and the pressure hull to explode in the after engine room, killing the four men then working there. In addition, one crewman died while a POW.

Sealion flooded immediately and settled down by the stern with 40% of her main deck underwater and a 15 degree list to starboard. The destruction of the navy yard made repairs impossible, and she was ordered destroyed. All salvageable equipment was taken off, depth charges were placed inside, and on 25 December, the explosives were set off to prevent her from being made useful to the enemy.


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