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The USS Cusk made history as the U.S. Navy's first missile submarine on February 12, 1947.  On that date, she successfully launched a Navy "Loon" missile near Point Mugu, California. Thus, the Cusk became the forerunner of all ballistic and cruise missile carrying submarines.  The next month, the Cusk again made Naval history when she launched another Loon and then submerged and tracked it for 105 miles this also becoming the U.S. Navy's first guided missile submarine.

Welcome to the homepage of the USS Cusk (SS/SSG-348).  In her 24 & 1/2 years of service, the Cusk served in three wars, made submarine and US Navy history many times, and never failed to complete a single mission.  Those of us who sailed this great ship are very proud to be a part of her history.

The 2019 Cusk Reunion in Little Rock, Arkansas was WONDERFUL!.  Click here for 2019 Reunion pictures & info.

USS CUSK (SS/SSG-348)  U.S. Navy's First Missile Submarine & First Guided Missile Submarine

1945 to 1947 1947 to 1954 1954 to 1969

"In each submarine there are men who, in the hour of emergency or peril at sea, can turn to each other.  These men are ultimately responsible to themselves

and each other for all aspects of operation of their submarine.  They are the crew.  They are the ship." - The Submariner's Creed (Excerpt)

The "Summer 2019 Cusk Reunion Newsletter" (Reunion Edition) is now available in .pdf format - Click here.

Click here to access all Cusk Newsletters.

...and check out this great submarine website =>

"Of all the branches of men in the forces there is none which shows more devotion and faces grimmer perils than the submariners."  - Sir Winston Churchill

Click on any picture to see its larger size:

Memory Lane

Some sweet memories of Cusk's Ports of Call

Two sailors walk past the "Brass Rail" kicker bar in Yokosuka.(Picture courtesy of Rick Greer)


Visit Memory Lane page for more pictures & information

Sights & Sounds of the Cusk

Listen to actual audio recordings of the Cusk and her crew in action:


Watch a YouTube video of the Cusk crew assembling and launching a missile, and then submerging.

Dive! Dive!  Hear the roar of air escaping the ballast tanks, the ladder clanging as the lookouts rush down off the Bridge, and then the silence as the Conn hatch is closed and the OOD reports, "Last man down, Sir."

Make your depth one-five-zero feet The Cusk has just submerged and leveled off at 65 feet.  The Conn officer gives the order to do deeper.

Set Condition Baker - Prepare the ship for one of her most dangerous maneuvers - coming to periscope depth.

Surface, Surface, Surface! - Listen to the thunder of the High Pressure Air Banks pushing air out of the Cusk's ballast tanks.  Then as she breaks the surface, the Low Pressure Blower roars to life.

Visit Sights and Sounds page for more sound clips

Awards & Patches

The USS Cusk was one of only four submarines to earn this ribbon.  Because the missions were so classified, the crew was not informed of the award until it was discovered by accident almost forty years later.  The award was for two of her most daring missions conducted in North Vietnam and nearby hostile waters.

Republic of Vietnam

Meritorious Unit Citation for Gallantry

Visit Cusk Patches page for more pictures and information


LT-1 "Loon Missile"

Pictures and history of former Nazi terror weapon that facilitated the birth of the Cusk's missile history.  This missile was captured after World War II, replicated by the U.S. Navy, fitted with a guidance system, and then launched by the Cusk on February 12, 1947.

Visit the Loon Missile page for more pictures & information


USS Cusk Museum Display


Located in the Brevard Veteran's Memorial and Museum on Merritt Island, Florida, this permanent display contains a scale replica of the Cusk from her missile period and many other items from the Cusk including her Deep Depth Gauge, numerous patches, pins, lighters, news articles, letters, pictures, etc.

Click Cusk Display for a full size picture of the display

Inside the Cusk

See the Cusk's interior compartments from bow to stern

Looking forward from the aft end of the Control Room.  The Radio Room is on the left and the High Pressure Air Manifold and Low Pressure Blower above that on the right.

(Picture courtesy of Eric Copt)

Visit Compartments for more pictures & information

Outside the Cusk

See the Cusk's exterior from various points of view and years

Picture is looking down and aft on the port side from the front of the Sail. 

(Picture courtesy of Dennis Schultz)

Visit Outside for more pictures & information

Life at Sea

Pictures and historical information about life on and under the Pacific Ocean


 After several days at sea, few things were more welcome than hear the Cusk's engines slow and the announcement over the 1MC that it was time for a dip in the Pacific.


The 2018 Cusk Reunion will be held in Richland, Washington from 2 to 6 April.  More details are available on the Reunions page.

2012 Reunion group picture at the Naval Undersea Museum in Bremerton, Washington

1990    1992    1994    1996   1998

2000    2002    2003    2004    2005

2006    2007    2008    2009    2010

2012   2014   2016   2018

Visit Reunions for more pictures & information


Newsletters from across the years, including those published by various crewmembers when the Cusk was in service, and years later during the reunion years.

Visit the Newsletters page for more

Sea Stories

Some humorous, but all 'generally" true stories from Cusk crewmembers.

What's the difference between a Fairy Tale and a Sea Story?

A Fairy Tale begins with, "Once upon a time...". 

A Sea Story begins with, "This is no sh*%..."

AIR POWER - Norm Carkeek tells how the Cusk fanned the air with her screws.

What Grandpa did during the Cold War - Some great stories, reminiscing, and Cusk history by Billy Hrbacek

BUNK BAGS - Unique to submarines, these all purpose nylon bags were priceless.

THE SUB THAT SANK A TRAIN - The only ground operation against the Japanese motherland during WWII was carried out by crewmembers from the USS Barb including one who would later be COB on the Cusk.

THE PUPPY - Sam Lyons tells what to do with a puppy at sea when it's got to go.

PAINT JOB - Ken Van Hoy's innovative way to paint the deck in record time.

Eternal Patrol

Names, pictures and obituaries (where available) of former USS Cusk crewmembers who have departed on Eternal Patrol

"All submariners are brothers - We just haven't met yet!" - USSVI Chaplain

Visit Eternal Patrol for more pictures & information

Hollywood Movie about the Cusk

The historical accomplishments of the USS Cusk are portrayed in a Hollywood movie.  Actual scenes of launches by the Cusk and USS Carbonero are incorporated in the movie.

Visit Flying Missile for more pictures & information

The Cusk's Service Years

The following sections detail the Cusk's history and crewmembers on a year by year basis, from the laying of her keel in 1944 to decommissioning in 1969.


The USS Cusk is born as the keel is laid 25 May 1944

The location is the South Yard at Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut

Visit 1944 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.


The USS Cusk is launched "Down the Ways", July 28, 1945

The Cusk slides down the ways at Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut

Visit 1945 for more ppictures, information & crewmember names.



The Cusk is commissioned on February 5

Admiral Chester Nimitz congratulates the Cusk's first Captain, CDR Paul Summers


Visit 1946 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.


The USS Cusk becomes the Navy's first missile submarine with the launch of a Loon LT-1, 12 February 1947

The Cusk slides down the ways at Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut

Visit 1947 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.

How long will it take the average sailor to become a submariner?   The average sailor will never become a submariner.


SubRonFive - 30 December 1949, Ballast Point Submarine Base, San Diego, California

Visit 1949 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.


During a launch attempt on 7 July 1948, a Loon Missile exploded on deck just prior to launch.  When the smoke cleared, the Cusk had disappeared leaving witnesses on nearby Navy ships thinking that the Cusk had been sunk by the explosion.  Fortunately, the quick thinking Captain Fred Clarke had submerged the Cusk immediately to put out the fire and save the boat.

Visit 1948 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.



Visit 1950 for more pictures, information and crewmember names, or Visit Flying Missile for more pictures & information about the movie.


T-0 as the Cusk launches another missile on 1 October 1951

Visit 1951 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.


Clay Gatlin earns his Dolphins and is given the traditional congratulatory throw overboard by the crew.

Visit 1952 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.

I admired the PT boys.  And I often wondered how the aviators had the courage to go out day after day and I forgave their boasting.  But the submariners! In the entire fleet they stand apart!” - James Michener


 11 January 1953, the Cusk is featured in a Parade Magazine article about the Navy's new missile weapon system.

Visit 1953 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.


Underway near San Diego in July

Visit 1954 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.



The USS Cusk visits Dutch Harbor, Alaska

Visit 1955 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.


"Karaoke"  Where it all began...

Unknown to many, "Karaoke" was actually invented by USS Cusk crew members during a ship's party at Port Hueneme, California in 1956.  They are shown here singing Perry Como's "Hot Diggity".  The Cusk sailor sitting down with the cigarette is Clarence "Ed" Brenke.  He's holding up the words to the song on poster board.

Visit 1956 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.


Underway out of home port of Pearl Harbor


Visit 1957 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.


The USS Cusk visits Dutch Harbor and Kodiak, Alaska

Visit 1958 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.



Engine Room showdown - Paul Perry, Billy Nix and Idel Foster clowning around for the photo op.

Visit 1959 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.


Visit 1960 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.

I saw the submariners, the way they stood aloof and silent, watching their pigboat with loving eyes.  They are alone in the Navy. 


Cusk crewmember families get to experience some time at sea and what it's like to dive on a submarine during a Dependent's Cruise.

Visit 1961 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.


Publicity photo of the Cusk and the latest fighter jets, F

Visit 1962 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.


(Photo courtesy of Herman Stickland)

Cusk is shown submerging off the coast of Oahu, 1963.

Visit 1963 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.


Looking forward in the Control Room near the High Pressure Air Manifold

Visit 1964 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.


Eric Copt mans the port "Sticks" in Maneuvering

Visit 1965 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.


Nested at the Ballast Point Submarine Base in San Diego

Visit 1966 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.


"Swim Call" Ahead of schedule, we stop for a swim about halfway between Pearl Harbor and Yokosuka, Japan.

Visit 1967 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.



Christmas Eve - On recon patrol on Yankee Station off the coast of North Vietnam

Visit 1968 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.

Togetherness is an overworked term, but in no other branch of our military service is it given such full meaning as in the so-called “Silent Service.”  - Dr. Joyce Brothers


Last patrol


At left, March, 1969, the "Reserve Pier" in San Diego - the Cusk returns from her last Cold War and Vietnam War patrols.  A Navy band plays on the pier as friends and families wait to greet their loved ones after an eight month absence.  In the center picture, LCDR Tom Arnold (left) assumes command as the Cusk's last Captain from CDR Albert "Sam" Houston.  On the right, Jerry Johnson and another Cusk sailor take down the Cusk's in-port flag for the last time during decommissioning ceremonies.

Visit 1969 for more pictures, information & crewmember names.


Stripped and Mothballed at Hunter's Point April 30, 1971 - Cusk is first boat on left.  To the right are the USS Rock (SS-274), Bashaw (SS-241), Spinax (SSR-489), Pomodon (SS-486), Medregal (SS-480), and Diodon (SS-349).  The Cusk was scrapped the following year.


Ours is a brotherhood  of volunteers, and we wear our Dolphins with enormous pride.  They are well earned, not given.  The privilege of wearing them verifies hard earned proof to our Captain and crewmembers that we can save our ship and our shipmates, under any circumstance and from any compartment.  We are "Brothers of the Phin".  A brotherhood not of membership, but of a sacred trust.

In Memoriam...Cusk sailors recently departed on Eternal Patrol

"I can imagine a no more rewarding career, and any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: 'I served in the United States Navy' " - John F Kennedy


Years on Board Cusk

Departure Date

Jerry Mitchell, EMFN(SS)


January 8

Gerald W "Jerry" Knapp, RM1(SS)

1963 to 1964

February 28

Harvey Canter, ICSN(SS)


March 14

George Arnold Tweter, EMC(SS)


April 21

Jerry Frank Bauer, LT


May 17

William J O'Halloran, ET1(SS)

1951 to 1952

July 3

William A "Bill" Szymanski, EN1(SS)

1967 to 1968

July 6

William R "Bill" Sylar, EM1(SS)

1956 to 1959

July 19

Velton Parker, SD3(SS)


August 12

Emmanuel L Alcantara, SD3(SS)

1959 to 1961

November 13

Roy Willis, EN3(SS)

1964 to 1966

November 17

Reagan S "Ray" Ratliff, FTG2(SS)

1963 to 1966

December 13

James "Jim" Branske, TN3(SS)

1966 to 1969

December 23


Years on Board Cusk

Departure Date

Edward Clinton Terney, YNC(SS)

1963 to 1964

January 16

Rufino P Ibarra, SK2(SS)


February 11

Louis Edward Gamer, SN(SS)

1948 to 1951

February 12

Garrett E "Lightning" Baker, EM1(SS)

1950 - 1955

April 1

James M Bovee, SA(SS)

1946 (Plankowner)

July 8

Richard R Alkire, FT2(SS)


August 31

Donald J Killian, LCDR (Captain)

1966 to 1968

October  5

James Leroy Carpenter, TM3(SS)

1953 to 1956

November 1

Austin Jack Smith, Jr., EM2(SS)

1950 to 1951

November 8

Julius George Shreve, YN1(SS)

1963 to 1966

November 14

Lawrence "Larry" Gallagher, ETR2(SS)

1964 to 1966

November 18

Jimmie R Carnes, EMC(SS)

1960 to 1962

December 17


Years on Board Cusk

Departure Date

Larry D Franklin, LTJG

1961 to 1962

January 14

Richard N Charles, LTJG

1959 to 1960

February 2

Chuck Harner, LT

1960 to 1963

March 1

Richard Rushlow, ET1(SS)

Unknown, possibly 1953

March 4

Robert J Strosser, TM2(SS)

1946 (Plankowner)

March 6

James Gauthier, TMSN(SS)

1958 to 1959

April 13

Mike Keelin, STS2(SS)

1962 to 1965

May 31

Hermenegildo B Ferrer, SD2(SS)

1967 to 1967

June 8

Phillip L Williamson, TM1(SS)

1945 to 1946 (Plankowner)

July 5

Ron Shook, STC(SS)

1959 to 1961

July 12

William P Hrbacek, ETR2(SS)

1959 to 1963

July 17

William J Weisensee, LT

1965 to 1967

August 11

William Lee Hodnett 1950 to 1951 August 27

Ernest J "Zeke" Zellmer, LT

1946 to 1948 (Plankowner)

August 27

Wesley Monroe Shrum, SA(SS)

1945 to 1946

September 21

Jack Richard Trommer, ET2(SS)

1961 to 1963

October 8

Joseph Talago, Jr., LTJG


October 12

Charles Harrison George, QM3(SS)


October 26

Steve "The Codger" Rogers, EM3(SS)

1966 to 1969

Summer 2018

Carl Robert "Mark" Markham, Jr., TM1(SS)

1952 to 1953

November 16

William "Mac" McKenzie, Jr.

1952 to 1953

November 18


Years on Board Cusk

Departure Date

Chuck Harner, LT

1960 to 1963

March 1

Richard Rushlow, ET1(SS)

Unknown, possibly 1953

March 4

Robert J Strosser, TM2(SS)

1946 (Plankowner)

March 6

Mike Keelin, STS2(SS)

1962 to 1965

May 31

Phillip L Williamson, TM1(SS)

1945 to 1946 (Plankowner)

July 5

Ron Shook, STC(SS)

1959 to 1961

July 12

Theodore W Beals, QM2(SS)

1950 to 1951

October 3

James H Spivey, EN2(SS)

1960 to 1962

October 13

John J Tracey, TM2(SS)

1952 to 1954

November 11

Bertrice G Dollar, SA


December 30


Years on Board Cusk

Departure Date

Edward "Ed" Heral

1963 to 1964

January 20

William "Bill" Munson, EN3(SS)


March 4

Carl Bud Berg, ET1(SS)

1956 to 1957

March 19

Alexander F Nieto, RM3(SS)


March 26

Maurice "Dusty" Knight, SA(SS)

1948 to 1950

April 1

Les Atchison, RM2(SS)

1960 to 1962

April 9

Garold E Prawl, FTCM(SS)


April 26

William N Rowe, RM3(SS)


May 29

Bill Vincent, EN2(SS)

1955 to 1957

June 27

Art Thomsen, FTSN(SS)

1959 to 1960

July 13

Joseph H Lowenhardt, EM2(SS)

1960 to 1963

August 7

David P Hirt, QM3(SS)

1951 to 1953

August 22

Harold William Haynes, Jr., QM2(SS)

1946 to 1948 (Plankowner)

August 26

Arthur "Art" O'Meally, RM1(SS)


October 5

William Hale Gignac, EN2(SS)

1958 to 1959

October 7

Michael King "Mike" Stevenson, ET2(SS)

1961 to 1962

November 22

James F "Jim" Johnson, RMC(SS)

1967 to 1968

November 29

Roger Hathaway, EN3(SS)

1960 to 1961

December 11


Years on Board Cusk

Departure Date

Arthur Q Merrill, EMFN(SS)

1948 to 1950

January 6

James Franklin "Jim" Hume, TM1(SS)

1956 to 1960

January 15

James E Walker, EM3(SS) 1946 (Plankowner)

February 2

Leo Kunkel, EN1(SS),

1945 to 1948 and 1952 to 1958 (Plankowner)

February 18

Harold M Page, Jr., QM3(SS)

1948 to 1950

February 21

Clyde Kirk, FT/ST (MOMM)

1945 to 1946 (Plankowner)

February 28

Earl R "Dick" White, SN(SS) 1949 to 1950


Robert C Zimmerman, SM2(SS) 1946 (Plankowner)

July 2

Wendell Bud Reid, MOMM2(SS) 1946 (Plankowner)

August 15

William Walde Von Christierson, LCDR 1964 to 1966

November 15

Roland "Ronnie" J Quick, CS3(SS) 1959 to 1960

November 25

Robert Dominic Comperini, EN3(SS) 1949 to 1952

December 1

Rick Dale "Ptomaine" Greer, CS2(SS) 1965 to1967

December 24

Gerald "Jerry" Spielman, EN1(SS) 1960 to 1966

December 30


Years on Board Cusk

Departure Date

Robert Walter Fellingham, Sr., LT

1960 to 1962

January 7

David C Lawrence STS3(SS) 

1968 to 1969

April 12

James Washington Holmes, Jr., FCS1(SS) 


April 16

Charles Edwin "Scurvy" Brown, CSC(SS)  

1956 to 1957

May 13

Jack Walter Nease, SO1(SS)  

1954 to 1957

June 28

Kevin F Flanagan S1c(SS)  


July 26

Robert A Brown, TMCM(SS)


August 22

Glenn H Rowe, RM2(SS)

1953 to 1957

September 2

J W Hickman, IC2(SS)

1954 to 1957 & 1964

September 5

Robert  J "Little Mo" Geary, EM2(SS)

1959 to 1962

September 14

George Urban Harlow, SO2(SS)  

1949 to 1953

September 16

Ray M Peckenpaugh, EN3(SS)

1950 to 1951

November 4

Craig "Barkel" Pagden, EM2(SS) 

1959 to 1961

December 5

Gary Tucker, MM1(SS) 

1945 to 1949

December 31


Years on Board Cusk

Departure Date

Gerald C Stratton, EN1(SS)

1958 to 1961

February 19

Jacob P Wittman, TM1SS) 

1963 to 1969

February 24

Roy A Hopf, EN3(SS)

1960 to 1961

March 17

Robert Bryan "Hoot" Gibson, Jr., LCDR

1958 to 1962 & 1964 to 1966

March 26

Charles Benjamin Stark, EN3(SS)


April 17

Eugene P "Dennis" Wilkinson, LCDR

1947 to 1948

July 11

William D Karr, ETC(SS) 


July 16

Gary Jay Carr, EMCM(SS) 

1963 to 1969

November 4

Greg Czech, LCDR 

1959 to 1961

December 5

"I have spread the mantle of my nation over the ocean, and will guard her forever.  I am her heritage, and yours.  I am the American Sailor."  - Anon

Sailors!  Rest your oars!

Visit the "Eternal Patrol" section of this webpage for more information, pictures, and obituaries.

"They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep." - Psalm 107

 We welcome your comments, and especially your historical contributions if you have any to share or donate.  If you are a former crewmember, we especially anxious to hear from you so please contact us at your earliest convenience.  Many or your shipmates have been looking for you and an email to the Cusk Webmaster (link below) will put you in touch with them.

Ask a former crewmember about the Cusk and the answer you will most often hear will be, "She was a good boat, probably the best I ever sailed.

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 All information and pictures herein were contributed by, and are the property of crewmembers of the USS Cusk.  It is intended solely for your enjoyment and education, and for preserving the memory and history of this great ship.  If you take anything or make copies, please give proper credit.  Your questions and comments are welcomed, as are any pictorial or historical contributions you might wish to donate or loan. 

Send an email to the USS Cusk webmaster at: USS Cusk Webmaster

This page was last updated: 01/11/19