Existing comment: USS Balao (SS-285)

Battle Flag of USS BALAO [illustration]

Displacement: 1,526 [tons](surfaced), 2,414 (submerged)
Length: 311' 9"
Draft: 16' 10"
Speed: 20.25 k. (surfaced), 8.75 k. (submerged)
Complement: 6 officers and 60 enlisted men
Armament: 10 21" torpedo tubes, 1 4" gun, 2 20mm. A.A. guns
Class: BALAO

USS BALAO's keel was laid by the Portsmouth (NH) Navy Yard on 26 June 1942. She was launched 27 October 1942 (sponsored by Mrs. Theodore C. Aylward) and commissioned on 4 February 1943, LCDR Richard H. Crane commanding.

BALAO's combat operations spanned the period from 25 July 1943 to 27 27 August 1945. She carried out 10 war patrols, during the course of which she was credited with sinking seven Japanese ships, totaling in excess of 32,000 tons, as well as 1,100 tons of small craft sunk by gunfire. BALAO earned nine battle stars for her World War II service. Her battle flag was designed by a Disney artist at the request of Motor Machinist Mate 3rd Class William G. Hartley in 1945.

BALAO returned to the United States in 1946, ultimately arriving at New London, Connecticut, where she was decommissioned on 28 August 1946 and placed in reserve.

Recommissioned on 4 March 1952, she was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet and based at Key West, Florida. There, she served primarily as a training ship for antisubmarine units and the Special Development Force in the Key West and Guantanamo Bay operating areas. She was decommissioned on 11 July 1963, and her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 August 1963. Her hull was sunk as a target off the northern coast of Florida on 6 September 1963; however, before this occurred, her conning tower was removed, and it has been restored by the Naval Supply Systems Command for display here on the waterfront of the Washington Navy Yard.
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