Man The Guns Poster

Sea Robin departed Pearl Harbor on 26 Nov. in the company of USS Guardfish to rendezvous with USS Sea Dog 400 miles southwest of Midway. On the way to meet up with Sea Dog she conducted training drills with Guardfish and on 1 Dec. met with Sea Dog, and together set a course for Saipan, arriving there on 8 Dec.

After some minor repairs, Sea Robin joined Guardfish and Sea Dog to form a coordinated attack group under the operation control of Commander V.L. Lowrance, USN Commanding Officer of Sea Dog. They were assigned to a patrol area in the South China Sea, southeast of Hainan.

On the evening of 22 December, while in the process of converting #4 FBT, one crewmember of the Sea Robin was washed overboard and lost. The war patrol report contained the following:


December 22

Slowed to 8 knots and headed into slight swell. There were no white caps. Sent 3 auxiliarymen on deck with proper tools and wearing life belts. Two auxiliarymen were in the superstructure and one was tending on the deck. At 2325 Received freak cross- sea which swept across deck aft, about one foot deep. Quartermaster saw man go overboard to port. Man was lying flat on deck when he went over the side and it is believed that he was injured by striking his head on 5-inch gun or deck. He made no outcry and did not struggle. Immediately went to man-overboard stations, cut in Dead Reckoning Tracer (DRT), and maneuvered ship to recover man. Man lost was GRIFFIN, Thomas Wilson, 842-34-39, MoMM2c, V-6, USNR. GRIFFIN was an excellent swimmer and had life belt. Put eight lookouts on watch and with alternate calling and listening and use of DRT searched area for seven hours during darkness. A two mile area about the point was searched.

USS Guardfish also assisted in the search for the lost seaman. Together they conducted an extensive ten-mile square area search, twice diving to avoid approaching enemy aircraft, until the search was abandoned at 1115 on 23 December.

Contact with the enemy was made on 27 December, when Sea Robin encountered an AK and an escort while patrolling submerged. The escort made sound contact with Sea Robin, though no counterattack was initiated. This action, however forced Sea Robin deep and contact with the AK was lost.

Another attack on the enemy was spoiled, when on 2 January a convoy proceeded inshore behind Tinhosa Island in a rainsquall. The following day air coverage for the convoy held Sea Robin down so that it could not get into a position to attack.

Sea Robin’s first attack took place on 6 January, when two night surface radar approaches were made on a convoy in conjunction with Sea Dog. Twelve torpedoes were fired and two hits were observed on an unidentified target, which it is believed, sank. Escort activity prevented further attack on the convoy.

Sea Robin conducted lifeguard duties from 13 – 16 January, after which Sea Robin received orders from ComSubPac to proceed to Fremantle, Australia for refit and departed the patrol area on 16 January arriving in Fremantle on 29 January.

The duration of Sea Robin’s first war patrol was 64 days and she traveled a total of 14,947 miles. Sea Robin was awarded the Submarine Combat Insignia for her first patrol and was credited with the sinking of a 4000-ton AK (unidentified).