The Diablo Advocate
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from Leroy R. Hagey Jr. Lcdr (53-55)

The Diablo Emblem

In the fall of 1954, the skipper of the Diablo, Lt. Ralph Jackson, felt we needed an emblem. Word was put out to the crew to submit ideas. The wardrobe chose three of these and had them drawn up by an artist. When complete, the crew was given the chance to vote on which one they would like to have. Two had a fish motif and one, to my surprise, was basically my submission. I had drawn a devil standing on a torpedo, whereas the final rendition had the devil carrying the torpedo.
Money was taken from the slush fund, of which I was the keeper, and used to buy an emblem for each crew member. I still have my original emblem.


 The Diablo (SS-479) and Tabberer (DE-418) Meet

     The weather was clear, the seas were light on Long Island Sound, New York, on November 9, 1954.  The Diablo had spent the day working with the destroyer escort Tabberer.  They were trying to locate us, and we were trying to evade them.  Just another routine day for a submarine based at New London, Connecticut.

      At  1600 hours, we were preparing to surface.  I was an Engineman First Class in charge of the auxiliary gang.  My duty station was the air manifold in the control room.  My primary job on surfacing was to open valves to blow air out of the tanks.  By reducing the amount of water in the tanks, the sub would be lightened and brought to the surface.

      We were having a routine surfacing, approaching periscope depth, when there was a severe jolt, and the Diablo was rolled on its port side.  The captain, Lt. Ralph F. Jackson, was in the conning tower, and the diving alarm was sounded.  All of a sudden, we were losing depth very fast, as the chief had opened the vents to the ballast tanks, which was his responsibility on diving.  The extra water in the conning tower (which we didn’t know about) made the sub heavier, and we dropped faster.  Long Island Sound is not very deep, and we were quickly reaching the bottom, which could make our condition much worse.  The diving officer, Ltg. John Minnigerode, who had recently qualified as a submarine officer, gave the command to blow the Safety Tank.  This is a tank only used in emergency, and when the order was given, I was ready, and the descent was stopped.  Word came over the headphones from the conning tower top open the conning tower drain.  That is a pipe between the conning tower and the pump room.  The pump room is located beneath the control room.  I dropped down and opened the valve to drain the conning tower.  At the same time, the drain pump was started on the pump room bilges.

     Next, the word was given to surface.  On command, I blew the Bow Buoyancy Tank to give an up angle, then, the forward and aft ballast tanks.  This was done cautiously, as we were already light from blowing the Safety Tank.

     Our superstructure above the conning tower was a bent-over mess, and close by was the Tabberer, dead in the water.  At the time, we were surfacing, the DE abruptly changed course and infringed on our restricted area.  At the moment of contact, it was 90 degrees from us, and we struck it squarely in the forward engine room and, subsequently, the forward fire room.  Their forward motion is what rolled us over, and fortunately, as we rolled the sub was dislodged from the DE.  Captain Jackson had the diving alarm sounded, keeping the Diablo a distance from the damaged Tabberer.

     We returned to our base at New London, having received no injuries to the crew and Lt. Jackson was completely exonerated of any wrongdoing. 

     For a firsthand report on the damage to the Tabberer, look under Collision on the website:



from:  Dan F. Lawrence

  I was on the Diablo when we went into drydock in Charleston so I have fond memories of that area. I took a leave while there to go to the Syracuse, New York area as my wife was due to have our first child. I also played shortstop on The Diablo's fast-pitch softball team and we won just about everything that summer. I could tell hundreds of stories about my time on The Diablo. All with a happy ending. Even when we dove and left our 2nd class cook topside for swimming lessons. We circled around at flank speed, (standard procedure with 25 degree rudder angle) and I was in my skivies (#1 swimmer in our duty section) prepared to dive in to get him. Lt. Hunter gave me his wallet and he went in to get him.
The 2nd class cook had a Mae West jacket on. One side of it failed to inflate and one of the two one-cell flashlights didn't work. We later went through all those jackets aboard and found several problems. I was on duty that night. The officer who had the deck forgot to count the extra man who came up to relieve a lookout. That Officer was a mathematical genius and could multiply four digit numbers in his head but didn't count all three men before we dove. He was transferred to a surface ship when we hit port. We dove (pulling the vents on the first blast of the diving alarm) to avoid a plane that was coming in to sink us (night practice). That plane was radioed and told to drop flares as we had a man overboard.
I got topside as we surfaced and the entire sky was lit up by flares. Luckily our quartermaster (Harris) forgot to turn off the 7MC to the bridge. The cook had jumped down to the deck, pushed the 7MC and yelled "Ya left me up, ya left me up!" That scream sent chills up my spine!

When we got the cook down into the control room, sitting with a blanket around him, he was shaking quite badly. I lit a cigarette and tried to get it into his mouth but he was shaking so much I couldn't get him to hold it in his mouth. Very cold water and what he had just gone through would probably shake up anyone. And those were the good old days!

Dan served 51-53 on the Diablo




 G.F. Rester, LCDR USNR (Ret)

US Submarines in WWII were extremely successful, after overcoming initial problems with torpedoes. They sank 5.3 million tons of Japanese naval and commercial shipping—over 1300 ships. In 1944 alone they sank 31 destroyers, 10 cruisers, 7 aircraft carriers, and one battleship. This record is far larger than that achieved by Naval surface ships or Naval and Army Air Force in the Pacific. USN breaking of the Japanese codes aided greatly in submarines’ ability to find the targets to destroy.

This success did not come without a heavy price. When the war started with the bombing by the Japanese in December 1941, we had 67 submarines built before 1926 and not capable of carrying the war to the western Pacific. In addition, we had 41 boats built between 1926 and 1941. We built 215 during WWII. Of all of these, we lost 52 boats and 3617 men to a watery grave. The submarine force lost a larger percentage of personnel than any other branch of the Navy.

My high School class of 1940 graduated about 100 males, three of whom ended up on WWII submarines. My best friend was aboard the WAHOO when she was sunk with all hands by Japanese depth charges. When I entered the Naval Academy in Annapolis in the summer of 1941, just months before Pearl Harbor was bombed, I became interested in sailing, and ended up skippering a 44’Luders yawl—experience which was later valuable in ship handling and much later as a hobby for life. As graduation approached in 1944, I requested submarine duty and was one of 125 graduates to be assigned to that branch. Following a month of aviation familiarization and some leave, I reported to the USS PIKE, a school boat at SubBase New London. A shipmate aboard was Ensign George Ellis, now retired Rear Admiral, whom some of you remember cruising with us several years ago. Submarine School followed, graduating just before Christmas in 1944. First duty was the commissioning of the USS DIABLO in Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine. Believe me, a Louisiana boy wearing cotton khaki work uniforms on the docks January-April 1945, I have never been colder!

DIABLO was commissioned in late March, and we were loading stores when Pres. Roosevelt died. A shakedown in the Atlantic off Portsmouth saw us returning to port covered with topside ice. At that time a Nazi U-boat was operating off Portland, Maine and sank a US merchant ship about 30 miles away. But we weren’t ready for the battle yet as our training as crew had thus far been in simulators. It got real when we had training periods off New London, Key West, Balboa, CZ, and Pearl Harbor. Our training was intense. It included many emergency drills per day, such as crash dives, aimed at being completely submerged within 30 seconds of sounding the diving alarm. This meant getting 3 lookouts, the JOOD and the OOD down the hatch and getting the hatch closed before water reached the bridge deck. We made real torpedo attacks against live targets, using exercise torpedoes set to pass under the keel of the targets. One attack off Pearl Harbor resulted in hitting the destroyer target when the fish ran shallow. This resulted in a huge dent in the destroyer’s side.

Off Balboa we had a trim dive one day when I happened to be in the pump room, beneath the control room. I heard water rushing into the bilge and called up to the captain, "You’d better surface, Skipper. The pump room is flooding." He did and a quick check revealed that, on rig for dive, the petty officer responsible had failed to close the safety tank inboard vent valve. Part of our training off Panama included the dropping of a live depth charge nearby, but not too near, to acquaint us neophytes aboard with the sound and fury.

On our passage from Panama to Pearl Harbor we escorted a Navy transport. We were equipped with special sonar to detect an incoming torpedo from an enemy submarine. In the middle of one night, when I was off watch and asleep, the OD suddenly dove the submarine, which was the tactic to make an incoming torpedo miss ahead, by suddenly slowing our submarine. We were never 100% sure that there was a torpedo but if there was, it missed!

Our intense training off Pearl Harbor was coming to an end when we had a night exercise to recover some pilots in a rubber raft. They transmitted a signal with a hand-cranked transmitter and we found them in the dark with a Direction Finder Receiver. They were so eager to climb aboard that they neglected to bring the painter along and the raft drifted away due to a brisk wind. One pilot had left his pants on the raft with his wallet in them. The skipper maneuvered the submarine for a good half-hour trying to intercept the raft but each time we got close, the wind would blow it away. As the designated swimmer for the submarine, I was on the foredeck with the deck crew and had a light line over my shoulder. I got tired of standing around, dove over the side, swam to the raft and had the crew pull the raft and me in with the line. The captain was not too happy about my doing this without permission but it solved the problem and he didn’t chew me out too vigorously!

We completed our training at Pearl as a lean, mean machine and departed on our first patrol. Halfway out the atomic bombs had both been dropped and Japan decided that they had had enough. The veterans aboard with several earlier patrols on other submarines were overjoyed, but you can bet your life that we junior officers were awfully disappointed that we didn’t have a chance to sink any ships. Targets by then were few and far between anyway, as 1944 had seen the Japanese Navy and merchant marine pretty well destroyed. But you can see that our training period was not without excitement. We did get official credit for a patrol.

EPILOGUE: Following three months in Staten Island, enjoying leave and changing most of the crew, we departed in early January for Panama in company with the rest of our submarine squadron. A cruiser heading for the Delaware Bay for decommissioning at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard cut into our formation and hit the first submarine in the port column, fortunately not sinking it. As OD of the last sub in the starboard column, I called for our sleeping skipper and left formation, standing by well clear of the action and confusion.

I stayed in the Navy until December 1947 and joined the Reserve. I was called back in for Korea and served aboard USS LIONFISH and USS REDFIN, where I served as third in command. LIONFISH is now part of the navy museum in Fall River, Mass. Along with the battleship MASSACHUSETTS, the destroyer KENNEDY and a PT boat.

In 1974 I rejoined the Navy as a civilian engineer, working with the Navy’s strategic missile submarine program. I retired from Navy civil service in October 1985 and hold the retired rank of Lt. Commander in the Naval Reserve.


    I happened on The Diablo site while surfing the net. I had entered the name of my brother-in-law and was thrilled to find it here.
He is listed on the 1951-1952 roster, Gaulrapp, Edward F.  CSC L. "Dutch",as he was called, was a Pearl Harbor Survivor and retired from the USN in 1958 as a Chief Petty Officer and retired again after 20 years with The USPS. He is still alive and kicking, praise the Lord. His two sons are joining him in DC this coming weekend for the WWII Memorial Dedication. He was, as a child, one of my heroes and that respect continues today. He still attend sub re-unions when his health permits.
             I hope you or another crew member will find this enlightening. Also, I want to thank you and salute you for your commitment and service to our country.  John Veer
                                                      Ed is 3rd from left in this Memorial Day Picture

My father, Dudley D. Dietrick, who served on the USS Diablo 1944 - 1945 is living and well in Baltimore, MD.  I just sent for a cap for him to wear to the WWII Memorial Dedication Ceremony in May.  He will be excited to see your website, but unfortunately he is not on the internet so I'll have to show it to him the next time he comes over.

I was aboard when the DIABLO made that transit for Pearl. (1945)  Plank owners: CDR. Gordon Matheson -- died several years ago in Sunbury, PA, LCDR. H. J. Greene (exec) -- died in the past 3 or 4 years, LCDR. Thomas R. Trent (engineer) -- Died as you reported, LT. Gabe McKinney (Torps & Gunnery) -- was 38 when I was 21, LT. Ernest J. Mihalji (1st Lt.) Died in Pittsburgh 3 or 4 years ago, LTJG. Darwin W. Heath (Comm) -- had severe stroke many years (ago) (dead?), ENS. Norman Braggar (Asst. engr.) reported to have died several years ago ENS. G. F. Rester (now LCDR. USNR (Ret) me -- now 80 years old, in a retirement facility, but in reasonable health for my age.

Upon reaching Pearl in July 1945 we had our final two-week training period. The first A-bomb was dropped a couple of days before we were to depart on patrol. We were sent out per schedule, destination Siaipan for refueling; the second A-bomb was dropped three or four days after our departure from Pearl. After a cease fire was declared we were diverted to Guam, and spent about ten days there alongside the tender, each of us getting a few days at the rest camp (Camp Dealey?). According to official records, we did get credit for a patrol, though not a successful one. We were then sent to Staten Island, arriving in early October. There we lost most of our crew, with the skipper, exec, McKinney and I the only officers remaining until more were transferred from other boats. We were the only four regular Navy officers aboard. (I resigned in Dec. '47, still aboard DIABLO, and then joined the reserve). About Jan 8, 1946, we departed with the rest of Squadron SIX for our new base at Rodman, CZ. I had the deck about midnight when the cruiser cut through our formation off the entrance to Delaware Bay, colliding with the first boat in the port column.
Hope this adds something to your early history of the SS479.
Best regards,
Jerry Rester

NOTE: LCDR Rester is believed to be the last surviving officer from the original crew. We greatly appreciate his addition to our ship's history.

THOMAS ROBERT TRENT 84, of Stuart, Florida, died Saturday, January 10, 2004. Born on June 29,1919 in New York. In 1941, he graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Upon graduation, he began active duty in the Navy, serving in the WWII Pacific Theater and completed seven combat tours aboard the submarines USS Gudgeon, USS Thresher and USS Diablo. He received numerous medals and awards for his efforts, including the Bronze Star for his role in successfully sinking an enemy convoy of four ships and two destroyers within three hours in June 1944. At the end of WWII, Thomas entered the construction industry joining Slattery Contracting Company, Inc., before becoming Founder and President of Boring, Inc., where he designed and registered numerous patents for specialized horizontal boring equipment.

In December 1945 he was the Engineering Officer on Diablo and attained the rank of LCDR.

In February and March of 1959 the Diablo operated with several navies of South American.                              Crew members received certificates for crossing the equator

Sea Stories
One day the Diablo returned after being out on school duty to find most of the other boats were in for the holidays and had taken all the available dog shacks.  After standing a night of very miserable topside watches in the open air, four daring mates decided on a plan of action. 
     Two put on dress uniforms, removed their dolphins and made for a boat a pier down from ours.  Posing as sub school students, they got the topside watch thoroughly engaged in explaining all there was to know about the various systems on deck.  Maneuvering themselves aft as far as they could they had the watch in a position facing the stern.  With perfect timing the other two slipped aboard and carried the dog shack off, down the pier and on to the Diablo.  The two actors able to see the mission completed thanked the watch and made their way back across the gangway.  He saluted them and watched as they walked away.  He then turned around.  He knew something was wrong but did not, at first, seem to realize what it was.  It suddenly dawned on him what was missing and he started looking around the deck.  Not being able to find it he went and stood his watch where the shack had been.
     I had the topside watch on the Diablo at the time and was treated to a very entertaining show and a comfortable place to stand the rest of my watch.
     I often speculated over the years how the watch explained the missing shack.                  

One More Jack Collins Story: Bermuda 1961 moped fun!

Several of us rented mopeds much to our chagrin. A local lady drove her moped right into mine, She knocked me off and I completely lost the skin off two and a half knuckles (see right hand in picture below). One of the other crew had his hand broken in five places. I had forgotten who but I learned at the last reunion, it was Dave Link . We were trying to remember who got hit and flipped over a car. Guess who? Jack described what happened as follows: He hit a car head on was flipped up in the air and entered the car through the sunroof in a standing position. Use your imagination and get a visual on that. Was Jack injured? No as usual not a scratch.  TJC



                                                                            Same fool, same island, 44 years later but no bandages.                 



In 1961 the Diablo visited Washington DC and Liberty there was good. Three of us were sitting quietly in a local pub when a civilian came in and told us we should go and help one of our shipmates who was about to get the poop (substitute word) beat out of him by two Marines. We got up and looked outside. Jack Collins was having a discussion with the Marines. I remember remarking at the time that they should get the hell away from him before he fell on them. Jack was not the most agile of men and tended to fall on everyone. On the boat it was impossible to pass him in the narrow passageways of the submarine. He always leaned the wrong way. We went back into the pub to finish our beverages. A short time later a commotion was heard outside. We got up to see what was happening. One Marine was running away across the street and Jack was on top of the other one swinging port and starboard  roundhouse punches on the grass strip between the roads. The Armed Forces Patrol arrived and tried to break up the dispute. Jack was not easily distracted and did not hear their words of disapproval.  One leaned over and started tapping Jack on the head with his night stick. At first Jack did not notice but eventually turned to see who was disturbing him. He stopped his good work and the somewhat maimed Marine disappeared.  They led Jack off with no resistance. His section chief who was drinking with us went after them and shortly came back leading Jack by the hand. I have no idea what the chief said to them but it must have been good.                         TJC


Link to the Torsk SS423 Web Site. From there you can connect to numerous other submarine and submarine museum sites. The Torsk (a sister ship of the Diablo) is part of the Baltimore Maritime Museum and many ex sub sailors work to maintain it.                                                      


The  Razorback SS394 has Returned from Turkey. If you are interested in learning more about the project check out these web sites.

Razorback            Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum

Diablo History

1944 to 1949
Launched Dec 1 1944, Commissioned Mar 31, 1945 LCDR Gordon G Matheson in command arrived Pearl Harbor July 21 1945, Sailed for first war patrol August 10, Cease fire changed destination to Guam arrived Aug 22. Returned to Pearl then the East Coast arriving NY NY Oct 11 until Jan 8 1946. Jan 46 to April 46 based in Canal Zone. Joined Cutlass and Conger for exercises around South America, called at Valparaiso in September then Key West and New Orleans in March 1948. Home ported in Norfolk June 1949

1950 to 1955
In '51 she was in Norfolk, VA, then went to Key West, FL.  From there she went to Charleston, SC and while there went on a shakedown cruise after over hall.  The depth gauge didn't function correctly.  She dove too deep and when they tried to transfer a torpedo the track bars wouldn't fit.  They were about a quarter inch too long from being over compressed due to the depth.  I had charged the batteries all night before the boat went out, so I stayed in port and slept in all day missing all the excitement.  From there we went to Groton, CT and became a school boat.--Roy 

1956 to 1959
Alternated between Submarine School and antisubmarine warfare and fleet exercises in the Caribbean and off Bermuda. In early 1959 she cruised thru the canal and operated with South American navies off the coasts of Ecuador, Peru and Chile.

1960 to 1963, School boat duty New London, Philadelphia Shipyard for overhaul May 27 1960 thru Oct 1960.  trips to Halifax, Bermuda, Albany NY, Washington DC. three months in the Med. summer 1961 visited Rota Spain, Malta, Naples, 3 Greek ports Piraeus (Athens), Roades and Corfu as well as Gibraltar.  April 8, 1960 made 9000th dive, May 5, 1961 made 10000th dive LCDR J D Kearney commanding

1963 Converted to snorkel.  February 25, 1963 made 12000th dive LCDR T J Lambertson commanding.

1964 Transferred to Pakistan June 1, renamed Ghazi,  Arrived Karachi September 1964

1971 Lost off the east coast of India with all hands (82) For the full story click  Ghazi
Page 2 Diablo Specs & Stories Return To Home Page
Page 4 2003 Reunion pictures Page 5 Pictures Crew & Ship
Page 6 Pictures of Captains & Plank Owners Page 7  Pictures of Diablo over the Years
Page 8 What ever happened to: Page 9 Pictures most at the Sub Base N L
Page 10 Crew Pictures and Ports Page 11 The Loss of the Diablo/Ghazi
Page 12 Past Reunion Stuff &  pictures Page 13 2001 Reunion Pictures
Page 14 Diablo Pictures and Tench class specs Page 15 Roster  1944-64 by year served
Page 20  2004 Reunion Links to other pages within the site click once on the page number Pictures may take extra time to load if you are using a regular modem