By 1939, the Navy had lost 851 men in sub accidents and every submarine rescue had failed. But that would change with USS Squalus.

The Squalus (SS-192) was a diesel-electric submarine built at the Portsmouth Navy Yard and commissioned there on March 1, 1939.

USS Squalus had performed well in 18 test dives and there had been no concerns for the 19th dive. Squalus left Portsmouth at 7:30 a.m. on the morning of May 23. It then headed down the Piscataqua River and out four miles past the Isles of Shoals. The commander of the USS Squalus, Lt. Oliver Naquin had four officers, 51 enlisted men, and three civilians from the shipyard out for the sea trials.

Disaster Strikes the USS Squalus

USS Squalus was just off the Isle of Shoals at 08:40 a.m. Naquin had ordered the boat rigged to dive and the crew had gone to their stations. Everything went perfectly a first. The ship went into a steep dive and leveled off at 60 feet. Then over the battle phone, the engine room called out to the bridge, “Take her up!”