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1948

A new captain, a new patch, and a missile explodes on deck during a launch

In 1948, the Cusk was redesignated from SS-348 to SSG-348 to reflect her new missile launching capability.  She continued launching missiles and testing her missile guidance systems, and was joined in the fleet by two other missile submarines, the USS Tunny (SSG-282 ) and the USS Carbonero (SSG-337).  On July 7,1948 during what should have been a routine launch of a Loon, the missile exploded while still on the launch ramp and set fire to the Cusk.  As the smoke cleared, the Cusk was seen going under and witnesses thought that she had been sunk by the explosion.  Fortunately, Captain Fred Clarke had ordered the Cusk to dive when the explosion occurred which doused the flames and saved the boat and her crew.  Pictures below show various stages of the explosion including the smoky aftermath.

Click on any image to see its full size

Click here to see the Cusk crewlist from 1948


Early publicity photo of the world's first missile submarine

     Squadron Five Commander speaks at Captain Fred Clarke's change of command ceremony

Cusk sailor getting an award at the Change of Command ceremonies

The new captain, CDR Fred B Clarke inspects his crew


Offshore near Pt. Mugu, California, all systems go and ready for another launch

First Missile Patch - 1948

Note how the new patch combined the original ship's patch with the Loon Missile.

(Photo courtesy of Tom Roseland)

The Cusk is redesignated SSG-348 in 1948 for her missile capabilities.  A new ship's patch is created which was later modified to add the "SSG" in place of the "SS".

(Photo courtesy of Tom Roseland)

T-0, the Pulse Jet Engine is running and the jet pack is ignited for launch

Missile Explosion - The jet pack explodes destroying the missile and part of the launch assembly

Missile Explosion - the missile can be seen tumbling aft toward the stern

Aftermath of the Explosion - It was thought that the Cusk had been sunk, but the quick thinking Captain Clarke had submerged the Cusk to put out the fire.

Aftermath of the Explosion - It was thought immediately that the Cusk had been sunk by the explosion.  However, but the quick thinking Captain Clarke had submerged the Cusk to put out the fire.

 

Crewmembers who served aboard the Cusk in 1948:

Last Name First & MI City State Rank/Rate Years on Board Eternal Patrol Date Comments
Ancinec Henry Joseph Alpine CA QMC(SS) 47 - 51 25 July 2008  
Boushley, Jr. Charles "Charlie" Mesa AZ EM2(SS) 48 - 52    
Burke Alfred Irving     HMC(SS) 47 - 51    
Chunn Kenneth E Cypress CA CS1(SS) 48 & 58 - 62    
Clark Frederic B     CDR 47 - 49   2nd Captain of the Cusk
Comperini Robert D Appleton WI EN3(SS) 48 - 51    
Dexter Robert Royal West Topsham VT ENC(SS) 48 - 51 18 December 1991  
Draper, Jr. Edward Commodore "Ed" Port Orchard WA EN2(SS) 47 - 51 11 August 1994  
Finlan Harold Joseph     ENC(SS) 47 - 50    
Fisher Walter Curtis Norfolk VA EN1(SS) 46 - 48 13 November 1990 Plankowner
Fraga Frank Zamarron Roanoke TX EMC(SS) 47 - 52 & 61 - 63 5 June 2007 Chief of the Boat on his second tour aboard Cusk
Gamer, Jr. Louis E Glastonbury CT SN(SS) 48 - 51    
George Charles Harrison Baton Rouge LA QM3(SS) 48    
Gilbert Ted C     FN(SS) 48 - 52    
Gilfillan William Mystic CT EM1(SS) 47 - 48 9 May 1992  
Girard Lawrence A     RMC(SS) 46 - 49   Plankowner
Gordon       TM3(SS) 48 Date Unknown  
Graham Herbert William     RM1(SS) 46 - 53 Date Unknown Plankowner
Hakin David L Springfield OR RM3(SS) 48 - 51 Date Unknown  
Haycraft Geoffrey David Albuquerque NM ENC(SS) 48 - 49 2 July 1990  
Haynes, Jr Harold William Oceanside CA QM2(SS) 46 - 48 26 August 2016 Plankowner
Helgesen, Jr Harry Martin El Cajon CA EMC(SS) 48    
Hollenberger Robert Vint Southbridge MA EN1(SS) 48 - 49 2 June 2009  
Hord Paul O     QM1(SS) 47 - 52 Date Unknown  
Hunt Thomas J     EMFN(SS) 48 - 51    
Jenkins Irvin H     CS1(SS) 46 - 48   Plankowner
Kennedy Robert E San Diego CA EN1(SS) 46 - 50   Plankowner
Kennedy Walter Shawnee KS RDSN(SS) 47 - 48 2015  
Knapp Gerald Grand Rapids MN RM1(SS) 63 - 64    

Maurice J "Dusty" Knight

  Portland OR SA(SS) 48 - 50 1 April 2016 Retired as CWO and then spent 6 years in the Army.
Kunkel  Leo Paul Jacksonville FL MOMM2(SS) 45 - 48 & 52 - 58 18 February 2015 Plankowner
Leo L     ETC(SS) 47 - 48    
Little, IV Tommie M     EN2(SS) 48 - 50    
Mahin Jack Burton Carmichael CA EN1(SS) 46 - 50 2 January 2005 Plankowner
Merrill, Jr Arthur Q Visalia CA EMFN(SS) 48 - 50 6 January 2015  
Murray, Jr Earl A     SO3(SS) 46 - 52 Date Unknown Plankowner
Newhouse Donald L     SN(SS) 48 - 50    
Nuttleman Fred Vernon Rogers AR TMC(SS) 46 - 49 13 February 2010 Plankowner
O'Neill, Jr William F Baltimore MD YN1(SS) 48 - 50 24 July 1992  
Page, Jr Harold M Tucson AZ QM3(SS) 48 - 50 21 February 2015  
Parker Velton Kaneohe HI SD1(SS) 48    
Patterson, Jr Hugh Fair Oaks CA EM3(SS) 46 - 48 28 November 2002 Plankowner
Phoenix David A "Dave" Woodstock CT MM2(SS) 46 - 49   Plankowner, Retired as Captain
Pierce, Jr Thomas Franklin "Tommy"     TM1(SS) 48 - 49 20 April 1978  
Pinkoff Jerome David San Lorenzo CA CS2(SS) 47 - 48 8 January 2000  
Prather Robert E     SN(SS) 48 - 50    
Quigley Joseph     RM3(SS) 48 - 50 30 March 1998  
Ragland Paul F     SD2(SS) 48 - 50    
Rawding William Burt "Scottie" Bedford MA SN(SS) 46 - 49   Plankowner
Sanders Richard William San Diego CA EN1(SS) 47 - 51 31 July 2003  
Saunders Paul Golden "Swish" Dunnellon FL GMGC(SS) 46 - 51 Date Unknown Plankowner, Chief of the Boat, One of the most decorated enlisted men in the US Navy
Schwartz Harold Ray "Hal" Groton CT TM1(SS) 46 - 50 19 February 2006 Plankowner
Senior Harry B Orange Park FL SDC(SS) 46 - 52   Plankowner
Smith Eugene Edgar "Smitty" Vallejo CA EMC(SS) 48 - 52 29 June 1980  
Smith

Leroy Ralph

Long Beach CA TM3(SS) 46 - 51 7 November 2003 Plankowner
Stafford Gordon O San Antonio TX TM3(SS) 48 - 49 28 June 2012  
Stewart Gregory G     SA(SS) 48 - 50    
Summers Paul E. "Pete"     CDR 46 - 48 28 August 1993 Plankowner, 1st Captain
Turnidge William D "Wild Bill" Bloomington IL FN(SS) 48 - 50 1 December 1993  
Waldeck Robert Martin "Bob" Groton CT EM1(SS) 47 - 50 15 July 2007  
Walker Charles W Marydel MD FC3(SS) 46 - 50 2 June 2010 Plankowner
Wanner Vance R Houston TX LT 45 - 48 12 May 1977 Plankowner
Webster Douglas Alan     FCC(SS) 47 - 52 5 August 1988  
Westline John Gust     EN3(SS) 47 - 48    
Weyenberg Richard J "Dick" Kimberly WI FN(SS) 48 - 52 20 September 2003  
Wilcome Thomas F     SN(SS) 48 - 50    
Wilkinson Eugene P "Dennis" Del Mar CA LCDR 47 - 48 11 July 2013 Executive Officer
Young George Reese     EMC(SS) 47 - 48    
Zellmer Ernest J Satellite Beach FL LT 46 - 48   Plankowner, 1st Engineering Officer

If you have any information, pictures, history, or crewmember names/information from the Cusk in 1948 (or any year), please contact the Cusk Webmaster.  Thanks!


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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. 

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This page was last updated: 11/17/16