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USS Lionfish (SS-298)
USS Lionfish
USS Lionfish
Career (United States)
Name: Lionfish
Namesake: Lionfish
Yard number: 553
Laid down: 15 December 1942
Launched: 7 November 1943
Sponsored by: Mrs. Harold C. Train
Commissioned: 1 November 1944
Decommissioned: 16 January 1946
Recommissioned: 31 January 1951
Decommissioned: 15 December 1953
Struck: 20 December 1971
Status: Museum ship at Battleship Cove, Fall River, Massachusetts since 30 August 1972
General characteristics
Class and type: Balao-class submarine
  • 1,526 long tons (1,550 t) surfaced
  • 2,424 long tons (2,463 t) submerged
Length: 311 ft 6 in (94.95 m)
Beam: 27 ft 3 in (8.31 m)
Draft: 16 ft 10 in (5.13 m) maximum
  • 20.25 knots (37.50 km/h; 23.30 mph) surfaced
  • 8.75 knots (16.21 km/h; 10.07 mph) submerged
Range: 11,000 nmi (20,000 km; 13,000 mi) surfaced at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
  • 48 hours at 2 knots (3.7 km/h; 2.3 mph) submerged
  • 75 days on patrol
Test depth: 400 ft (120 m)
Complement: 10 officers, 70–71 enlisted
  • 10 × 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes
    • 6 forward, 4 aft
    • 24 torpedoes
  • 1 × 5-inch (127 mm) / 25 caliber deck gun
  • Bofors 40 mm and Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
USS Lionfish (SS-298)
Location Fall River, Massachusetts
Built 1943
NRHP reference No. 76002270
Significant dates
Added to NRHP 30 September 1976
Designated NHL 14 January 1986

USS Lionfish (SS-298), a Balao-class submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy named for the lionfish, a scorpaenid fish native to the Pacific and an invasive species found around the Caribbean. She was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986, and is now on display at Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts.


Lionfish was laid down on 15 December 1942; launched on 7 November 1943, sponsored by Mrs. May Philipps Train wife of Rear Admiral Harold C. Train; and commissioned on 1 November 1944. Her first captain was Lieutenant Commander Edward D. Spruance, son of World War II admiral Raymond Spruance.

World War II

After completing her shakedown cruise off New England, she began her first war patrol in Japanese waters on 1 April 1945. Ten days later, she avoided two torpedoes fired by a Japanese submarine. On 1 May Lionfish destroyed a Japanese schooner with her deck guns. After a rendezvous with the submarine USS Ray, she transported B-29 survivors to Saipan and then made her way to Midway Island for replenishment.

On 2 June she started her second war patrol, and on 10 July fired torpedoes at a surfaced Japanese submarine, after which Lionfish's crew heard explosions and observed smoke through their periscope (the Submarine I-162 was undamaged). She subsequently fired on two more Japanese submarines. Lionfish ended her second and last war patrol performing lifeguard duty (the rescue of downed fliers) off the coast of Japan. When World War II ended on 15 August she headed for San Francisco and was decommissioned at Mare Island Navy Yard on 16 January 1946.

Post World War II

Lionfish was recommissioned on 31 January 1951, and headed for the East Coast for training cruises. After participating in NATO exercises and a Mediterranean cruise, she returned to the East Coast and was decommissioned at the Boston Navy Yard on 15 December 1953.

In 1960, the submarine was placed in service, but not recommissioned, as a reserve training submarine at Providence, Rhode Island.

Museum ship

USS Lionfish Fall River 07172019
The USS Lionfish as it appeared on 17 July 2019

In 1971, she was stricken from the Navy Register. In 1973, she began permanent display as a memorial at Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts, where she is one of the museum's most popular exhibits.

As Lionfish was never converted to a GUPPY configuration, she is one of the very few preserved American World War II-era submarines in her "as built" configuration. Because of this remarkable state of preservation, she was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986.


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