I took the opportunity to tour the boat in October 2001. She now sits in Seawolf Park on Pelican Island, Galveston, Texas.
Cavalla (SS-244) was a Gato Class submarine built at Electric Boat Co. in Groton, Conn. and commissioned on 29 February 1944. Even though she came along late in the war, the boat managed to get in six patrols before it ended. Much to the credit of the captain and crew, the first patrol was spectacularly successful and resulted in winning the Presidential Unit Citation. The boat was decommissioned less than a year after war's end and put in reserve. She was re-commissioned in 1951 and then was pulled from service where she went to the yard and was converted to a hunter-killer. It was then that she received the streamlined sail and the bulbous bow that contained passive sonar equipment. Cavalla filled a variety of roles during the rest of her career and was finally decommissioned and stricken from the record in 1969. The boat was taken to where she now rests in 1971 and serves as part of a memorial to submarine sailors lost in action.
During the first patrol, on 17 June 1944, contact was made with a large Japanese task force, Cavalla tracked and continuously reported on it. The result was that they made a significant contribution to the victory at what came to be called the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot. Only two days later, she spotted the Japanese aircraft carrier Shokaku in the process of landing airplanes. Three of the six torpedoes fired found their target and the capital ship was sunk. The new boat thus helped exact revenge for Pearl Harbor by destroying one of the six carriers that carried out the attack.
In a following patrol, Cavalla showed daring by sinking one of two destroyers in a surface action and taking a pounding by the other until she could get away. The boat and crew continued to aggressively pursue and hurt the enemy until the end of the war.
COMMENTS ABOUT THE VISIT :
I took a bunch of photos and planned on putting them on this page. However, I just visited a series of pages in Paul Yarnall's Navsource site covering a visit that he made to Cavalla a few months ago. The fact is, his photos and descriptions are better, so here is a link to those pages: http://www.navsource.org/archives/features/cavalla/cavalla.htm Since I did you the favor of telling you this, please come back and look at the rest of my site when you finish.
In spite of the above, I do have a few exterior shots that offer more information than Paul's. The photos shown below were taken a year and a half ago and show the boat minus the deck and superstructure.
Also, go to the following official website: http://www.cavalla.org/ You will be able to see what can only be called an astounding amount of work, both politically and materially, by a group of people dedicated to the resurrection of this once proud warship. Within a four year period, they saved a seriously deteriorated boat from certain destruction by uncaring bureaucrats and have gone a long way toward bringing her back to a condition worthy of her record.
The group of photos to the left show various aspects of the ship's hull. The old deck and superstructure, which had deteriorated to the point of collapse, had been removed. What you see here is new underlying structure being installed.
This is a rare opportunity to see parts of the actual pressure hull and hatches. Also, you can see much of the induction equipment. The side shot of the bow shows some of the bow plane and capstan drive equipment that is normally covered.