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The R-Boats
Page 1 (R-1 thru R-13) | Page 2 (R-14 thru R-27)



USS R-14 SS 91
USS R-14 SS 91 with the diamond marking.
This shot of the R-14 shows the gun placement. The R-14 is famous for an incident off Hawaii. Searching for the the sea-going tug Conestoga in May 1921, the R-14 ran out of fuel southeast of Hawaii. Sails were made by sewing blankets and mattress covers together forming sails. The submarine arrived in Hilo, Hawaii on May 15 after 5 days under sail.
The R-14 was a Fore River Shipbuilding Co, Quincy, MA built boat.

USS R-14 SS 91
USS R-14 SS 91 off Pearl Harbor circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 in dry dock
USS R-14 SS bow in dry dock circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 in dry dock
USS R-14 in dry dock, Pearl Harbor circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 in dry dock
USS R-14 in dry dock, Pearl Harbor circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 in dry dock
USS R-14 in dry dock, Pearl Harbor circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 in dry dock
USS R-14 in dry dock, Pearl Harbor circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 torpedo tubes
USS R-14 torpedo tubes circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 torpedo tubes
USS R-14 torpedo tubes close up circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 fed trim floods
USS R-14 close up of the Port & Stbd Trim Tank Flood Valves. circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 control room bow & stern planes
USS R-14 control room bow & stern planes circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 control room trim manifold
USS R-14 control room.
The notation says switch board but it looks more like the trim manifold to me.
circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 control room air manifold
USS R-14 control room air manifold circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 control room air manifold
USS R-14 control room close up of the air manifold circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 control room air manifold
USS R-14 control room close up of the air manifold. circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 crew member Ray Suess
USS R-14 crew member Ray Suess. circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 crew member Ray Suess
USS R-14 crew member Ray Suess and other crewmen on pier. circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 gun crew pose for the camera at sea
USS R-14 gun crew pose for the camera at sea. circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 gun crew pose for the camera at sea
USS R-14 gun crew pose for the camera at sea. circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 gun crew pose for the camera at sea
USS R-14 gun crew pose for the camera at sea. circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 crew members Dorsy & Bridges on the pier
USS R-14 crew members John J. Dorsey GM1c & Winfield E. Bridges GM1c on the pier doing laundry. circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

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USS R-14 crew member Valoris E. Field, EM2c, poses with the 3"/50 caliber deck gun. Valoris E. Field's hometown was Minneapolis, Minnesota. He had re-enlisted for another 4 years in the Navy on February 27, 1919, how long he has been in the Navy at this point is also unknown but may have been on submarines during WW I. Though the photo shows his name written as Fields the log book records him several times as Field in the offical muster lists and in the daily log entries.

Field was not aboard the R-14 for her famous "sailing" adventure being in the base hospital with an undisclosed medical problem. He returned to the R-14 two days after they returned to Pearl Harbor.

The R-14 log book shows that the R-14 had left Pearl Harbor between noon and 4 PM on May 24th, 1921 to fire torpedoes. In fact, we even know which torpedoes were used. Two 18 inch diameter, 1,588 lbs, MK 7 torpedoes, numbers #5554 and #5555, were fired successfully at undisclosed targets. This was Field's first time at sea after his stay in the hospital.

The R-14 returned to Pearl Harbor from her firing exrecise and moored along side the USS R-19 seen in the photo on the left, which, is moored to yet another submarine to its left. A small part of that hull can be seen over the deck of the R-19 to the left of Field's right wrist. This photo could very well have been taken on May 24th, though by the shadows on the deck, puts the time of day closer to noon local time and there seems to be no activity for getting underway, so it may have been taken on the 25th or later.

Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 crew member Sulivan posing on the deck
USS R-14 crew member Patrick J. Sullivan F1c posing on the deck. circa March 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 crew member Chief Petty Officer Woodworth
USS R-14 crew member Chief Petty Officer Harry E. Woodworth CTM
standing on the foredeck near the deck gun. circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 crewman working on bow planes
USS USS R-14 crewman working on bow planes. circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 crewman working on bow planes
USS USS R-14 crewman working on bow planes. circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 crewman working on bow planes
USS USS R-14 crewman working on bow planes. circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

Looking forward from the bridge of the USS R-14 at sea
Looking forward from the bridge of the USS R-14 at sea. circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 electric motor controllers
USS USS R-14 electric motor controllers. circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 electric motor controllers
USS USS R-14 electric motor controllers. circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 electric motor controllers
USS USS R-14 electric motor controllers. circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 electric motor controllers
USS USS R-14 electric motor controllers.
It looks like the panal was manufactured by "The Cutler Manufacturing Co, Millwaukee, WS, USA". circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 regulator pump
USS USS R-14 "regulator pump".
This looks like another shot of the Trim Manifold.
circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 regulator pump
USS USS R-14 "regulator pump". Close up.
This looks like another shot of the Trim Manifold.
circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 regulator pump
USS USS R-14 "regulator pump". Close up.
This looks like another shot of the Trim Manifold.
circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 signal flag storage
USS USS R-14 signal flag storage behind the Trim Manifold. circa 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 under sail
USS USS R-14 This is the famous photo of the submarine under sail.
The man in the foreground is Seaman 1/class Raymond R. Suess from Minnieapolis, MN.
On the bridge to the left and hatless is Lt. Alexander Douglas, acting CO of the R-14.
This image is made from one of the few remaining original photos of the event.
May 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 under sail
USS USS R-14 This is a close up of the famous photo of the submarine under sail.
On the bridge to the left and hatless is Lt. Alexander Douglas, acting CO of the R-14.
This image is made from one of the few remaining original photos of the event.
May 1921..
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 under sail
USS USS R-14 This is a close up of the famous photo of the submarine under sail.
This image is made from one of the few remaining original photos of the event.
May 1921..
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 acting CO Alexander Douglas
On the bridge of the R-14 is the hatless Lt. Alexander Douglas, acting CO of the R-14.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 under sail
USS USS R-14 This is a close up of Ray Suess in the famous photo of the submarine under sail.
This image is made from one of the few remaining original photos of the event. May 1921.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

Looking aft from the deck of the USS R-14 at sea
Looking aft from the deck of the USS R-14 at sea. Photo most like likely taken May 16 or 17, 1921 enroute to Pearl Harbor from Hilo Hawaii.
The sub behind is the USS R-12 which had brought fuel to Hilo Harbor so the R-14 could return to Pearl Harbor after having run out of fuel and having to invent sails to rescue herself.
Photo courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Sues now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

Actual size of photo
This is the actual size of the original photo of the R-14 sailing to Hilo, Hawaii.
Photo in the private collection of Ric Hedman
All photos attributed to Robert and Ray Suess are now in the privare collection of Ric Hedman

Crew muster for the USS R-14 March 31, 1921
Lt. Vincent Arthur Clarke jr Captain / Commissioning CO
Lt. Clifford Harris Roper Captain / Assumed Command May 26,1921 from Clarke
Lt. Alexander Dean Douglas Executive Officer
Lt. Roy Trent Gallemore Third Officer
Leland C. Black Sea2c
Winfield E. Bridges GM1c
Jake Brooks Sea2c
William S. Clay SC1c
David W. Camron F1c
Ferdinand Caron Sea On board for training for transfer to "S" boat
Jesse L. Clendenny F3c
Titus J. Debely F3c On board for training for transfer to "S" boat
John W. Dew QM2c
John J. Dorsey GM1c
George E. Dunham F1c
Roy P. Emerline Eng1c
Valoris E. Field E2c (G)
Percy J. Foren E3c (G)
Wallace J. Graham CMM
Herman L. Herron F3c On board for training for transfer to "S" boat
Joseph H. Hearne CE (G)
Walter D. Kaessner MM1c
Edwin H. Kath F3c On board for training for transfer to "S" boat
Ollie F. Kent F2c On board for training for transfer to "S" boat
Leo P. Kruszkowski Sea
Richard Ladd F2c On board for training for transfer to "S" boat
Hansell H. LaFoy E3c
William McGlencey GM1c (G)
Hugh McNamara MM1c
Christain A. Melton F3c On board for training for transfer to "S" boat
Willie K. Riggs F1c
Revie O. Robinson F3c
Albert Ross F2c
Joseph S. Ruchas GM2c (G)
James C. Russell Sea
Albert Skreypczak Sea2c
William A. Stakley E3c (G)
Raymond R. Suess Sea
Patrick J. Sullivan F2c
Lorenzo Verano MAtt2c
Raymond W. Waldron E1c ( R )
Sidney W. Wilde CGM(T)
Henry D. Wilkinson Sea
Dennis P. Wrenn MM1c

USS R-14 under sail news paper article
USS R-14 under sail news paper article
This is a newspaper article about the USS USS R-14 experience.
Unfortuately the owner laminated the clipping after it was scotch taped
and caused some damage to the second part where it described making the sails.
Article courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Suess now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

Another newpaper article

SUBMARINE 5 DAYS DISABLED REACHES HILO

With Fuel Exhausted Diver Rigged Sails From Mattresses and Canvas.


Rigged out with jurymasts built of steel bunk rods and(missing text) sails made out of Mattre (missing text) and canvas hammocks (missing text) Submarine (missing text) arrived at Hilo yesterday afternoon out of oil but still with electrical power in her storage batteries. As a cross between a three masted windjammer and an undersea boat she made a weird appearance.

The R-14 was one of a flotilla of submarines sent out to search for the missing navy tug Conestoga, long overdue here from San Diego and virually given up for lost. In turn she herself has been on the missing list for the last five days.

Reserve Tanks Empty

On the night of May 10 in lat. 18 north, logitude 153.33 her fuel oil gave out it was found out that the reserve tanks when called on were empty. Lieut. A. D. Douglas, in command, sent out a general wireless call, which Rear Admiral Shoemaker, commandant of the Pearl Harbor Naval station, said today had been received by the R-12 and relayed to Pearl Harbor. But no answer was ever recieved by the R-14. Lieutenant Douglas today told the Star-Bulletin's correspondent at Hilo that he was unable to account forthe reserve fuel tank being empty and could not understand why his call for help had not been answered. The sub carried 10,000 gallons of fuel when she left Pearl Harbor.

Not knowing whether his call for help had been heard or not the commander of the helpless submarine rigged two jurymasts and with thtier aid and that of trhe wireless mast managed to spread enough canvas to make headway toward land. On the slow voyage to Hilo he sighted the Matson liner Enterprise and mistook her for a SHIPOP bringing succor, but no other vessels were seen.

Food Supply Low


Within five miles of Hilo the storage batteries were switched on and the R-14 rounded the breakwater and came into port on her own power. She had left only suficient rice and bully beef to last her crew of 27 men and two officers four days more.

This morning the R-12 also arrived at Hilo to give the R-14 fuel. Informed by the Star-Bulletin this morning that the R-14 was at Hilo, Rear Adimeral Shoemaker said he had been expecting news of her arrival there at any moment. No anxiety had been felt, he said, because from her reported position it was evident that she would have enough power left in her storage batteries to make Hilo. The power he supposed, had been held in reserve in case the vessel got into difficulties on a lee shore and needed it to work into safe water again. Why the reserve tank was empty he did not know.

Article courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Suess now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-14 under sail news paper article
The above newspaper article about the R-14.
Article courtesy of Robert Suess son of Ray Suess now in the private Collection of Ric Hedman

USS R-15 SS 92 under construction Union Iron Works, san Francisco, CA
USS R-15 SS 92 under construction Union Iron Works, San Francisco, CA

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USS R-15 crew portrait. The location could be San Pedro or San Francisco, Calif circa July 1918. The submarine looks to be almost unused and the paint fresh. This could be a commissioning photo. That would make one of the two Lieutenants seen on the deck, Lt. Thales S. Boyd, the commanding officer. By count there are 36 crew members on deck. Three Officers, six Chiefs and twenty seven Enlisted. The class was designed with two Officers and twenty seven Chiefs/Enlisted as ships company. So, she was over complimented by nine.

At the bow stands a lone man. It is hard to make a good judgment based on this photo on who this might be but the man looks faintly to be oriental and may be the officers Mess Attendant. Or, maybe, just a visitor to the sub and was standing out of the way of the photo.

Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum


R-15 Crew Photos
USS R-15 crew portrait.

Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum


R-15 Crew Photos
USS R-15 crew portrait.
One of the two Officers maybe Lt. Thales S. Boyd, the commanding officer

Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum


R-15 Crew Photos
USS R-15 crew portrait.

Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum


R-15 Crew Photos
USS R-15 crew portrait.

Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum


R-15 Crew Photos

USS R-15 crew portrait. During this time frame many different races were employed as Mess Attendants. Chinese, Japanese, Guamanians, Blacks and even a few Hawaiians and Puerto Ricans as well as Whites. Or, maybe, just a visitor to the sub and he was standing out of the way of the photo.

Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum


R-15 Crew Photos
Sailors on the pier observing the picture taking. Most likely from other submarines.

Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum


R-15 at Pearl Harbor Circa 1923
R-15 transiting at Pearl Harbor Circa 1923

R-15 at Pearl Harbor Circa 1923
R-15 transiting at Pearl Harbor Circa 1923

R-15 at Pearl Harbor Circa 1923
R-15 transiting at Pearl Harbor Circa 1923

R-15 moored alongside unidentified vessel Pearl Harbor Circa 1923
R-15 moored alongside unidentified vessel Pearl Harbor Circa 1923

R-15 moored alongside unidentified vessel Pearl Harbor Circa 1923
R-15 moored alongside unidentified vessel Pearl Harbor Circa 1923

R-15 (L) and R-17 (R) moored pierside Pearl Harbor Circa 1923
R-15 (L) and R-17 (R) moored pierside Pearl Harbor Circa 1923

R-15 ships bell September 2006
The USS R-15 ships bell. Photo taken September 2006

R-15 ships bell September 2006
The USS R-15 ships bell. Photo taken September 2006

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The USS R-15 seen in the Panama Canal. The date is most likely Late December 1930 on her trip from Hawaii to Philadelphia for decommissioning.

She is backing away from either a pier or maybe a tender. The exact location is in some doubt but the area seems to fit the Rio Chagres vicinity with the rail lines in the background and pairs of power poles as a clue.

Photo in the collection of Ric Hedman


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Close up of crew activity. The big white square was the visual marker assigned to the R-15 while she was stationed out of Pearl Harbor. Aft of the conning tower fairwater are three coils of lines no doubt to be used as lock lines. There, also, appears to be some sort of fairing placed around the Engine Room hatch. A crew man is seen sitting on its edge with feet braced on the wire lifelines.

Photo in the collection of Ric Hedman


R-16 under construction
The USS R-16 under construction at the Bethleham Ship Building, San Francisco, CA January 3, 1918
Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum

R-16 stern planes while under construction
The USS R-16 stern planes while under construction at the Bethleham Ship Building, San Francisco, CA January 3, 1918
Photo courtesy of The US Navy Submarine Force Museum

R-16 crew photo
The USS R-16 crew photo

US Navy Photo

USS R-17 underway
USS R-17 underway. Color tinted photo.
National Archives Photo

USS R-17 under construction
USS R-17 under construction. About 5 weeks before commissioning.
Union Ship Building, San Francisco, Ca.
National Archives Photo

USS R-17 underway
USS R-17 underway.
National Archives Photo

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USS R-17 at sea in very rough weather. The sub looks to be diving but men can be seen on the bridge. The sub just happens to be in trough between waves to make it look that way. The Triangle painted on the conning tower superstructure has identified this as the R-17. Location most likely off Hawaii circa; early 1920's

Photo in the collection of Ric Hedman


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USS R-17 at sea in very rough weather. The sub looks to be diving but men can be seen on the bridge. The sub just happens to be in trough between waves to make it look that way. A man can be seen standing on the bridge. The Triangle painted on the conning tower superstructure has identified this as the R-17. Location most likely off Hawaii circa; early 1920's

Photo in the collection of Ric Hedman


5 sailors aboard the R-17

Photo of 5 sailors aboard the R-17. The date and location is unknown. Triangle on conning tower, seen above the head of the man in front, has helped identify this photo. The man standing on deck is wearing sandals.

Photo in the collection of Ric Hedman


USS R-17 diving off the Hawaii
USS R-17 diving off Hawaii. Circa 1925.
National Archives Photo

USS R-17 underway with an Admiral aboard
USS R-17 underway with an Admiral aboard. His flag is flying from the bridge.
National Archives Photo

USS R-17 receiving a civilian dignitary. USS R-16 moored outboard.
USS R-17 receiving a civilian dignitary.
This could possibly be Secretary of the Navy Denby who visited Pearl harbor in 1922.
USS R-16 moored outboard.
National Archives Photo

USS R-17
USS R-17 crewman having photo taken. The man is a third class Petty Officer.
USS R-18 moored inboard.
National Archives Photo

USS R-17 & USS R-18
USS R-17 & USS R-18 moored to dock..
National Archives Photo

r-17 view looking aft
R 17, the view is looking aft from the bow.
Deck hatch is open to the free flood superstructure.
A sailor can be seen on the dock talking to another sailor in the shade beside the conning tower.


R 17, view looking aft
Close up of conning tower of R 17.
Sailor on the dock talking to sailor in the shade beside the conning tower.

R-17 hatch looking aft

R-17 looking foreward
R-17. Photo shot from the aft deck looking foreward. Circa 1925

After hatch close-up
Close-up of the after hatch dogging mechanism. You can see the lanyard
for pulling the hatch closed from below and the cross bar dogging latch.
Circa 1925.

R-class subs moored at Pearl Harbor
R-class subs moored at Pearl Harbor.
L to R: R-18, R-16, R-20, R-17, R-15 and R-19.

Circa early 1920's.

R-class subs moored at Pearl Harbor
R-class subs moored at Pearl Harbor.
L to R: R-18, R-16 and R-20.

Circa early 1920's.

R-class subs moored at Pearl Harbor
R-class subs moored at Pearl Harbor.
L to R: R-17, R-15 and R-19.

Circa early 1920's.

Pearl harbor Sub Base
Pearl Harbor submarine base.
This is before the arrival of the former cruiser Chicago to be used for a barracks ship.

Circa early 1920's.

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The USS R-18 seen here circa mid 1920's at Pearl Harbor. She is making some sort of test dive or submergence test of the forward section of the submarine. On the Bridge can be seen an Officer or maybe a Chief Petty Officer observing what is happening. There is a crewman standing on the back deck, perhaps to tend lines to the dock and other submarine.

The submarine along side to the left in the photo is the USS R-12. That is known from the "X" marking on the side of the fairwater.

Original Photo in the collection of Ric Hedman


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The USS R-19 crew photographed at Pearl Harbor in 1921. The officer on the left is Lt. Roy Kehlor Jones, captain of the R-19. Jones was to later loose his life while captain of the USS S-4 when she was fatally rammed and sunk with all hands on December 17, 1927.

The submarine that the R-19 is moored to is the USS R-12. The R-19 was stationed at Pearl Harbor from June of 1919 until December of 1930 when she left to go to Philadelphia for decommissioning. The R-12 arrived at Pearl Harbor in September 1920 and left with the R-19 for the trip to the east coast but was not decommissioned until September 27, 1932.

Original Photo in the collection of Ric Hedman


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The USS R-20 and the USS R-16, to the right in the background, with the circle on her conning tower fairwater. Location most likely off Hawaii circa; early 1920's. The photo was taken from the deck of the USS R-14.

Photo in the collection of Ric Hedman


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The USS R-20 operating, most likely, off the Territory of Hawaii circa 1920's time frame. The R-20 was in Hawaiian waters from June 25, 1919 until her departure for inactivationat at Philadelphia on December12, 1930 via the Panama Canal.

Photo in the collection of Ric Hedman


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A close-up of the USS R-20 from the above photo. Note shirtless crew members on the left in the photo. These boats had no air conditioning and were very hot inside in tropical climates.

Photo in the collection of Ric Hedman


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USS R-20 at Pearl Harbor some time 1924 or after. The time frame is based on the presence of the USS Seagull, (behind the R-20), which arrived in June 1922 when she was ordered to serve as submarine tender at Pearl Harbor. The other surface craft is thought to be the USS Widgeon ASR-1 which arrived in Pearl sometime after Novermber 21, 1923 when she was ordered there from Charleston, SC after her conversion to and testing as a Submarine Rescue Vessel.

US Navy Photo


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A close-up of the crew on deck of USS R-20 at Pearl Harbor from the above photo. You can see the anchor and part of the "0" of the number "30" on the bow of the USS Seagull AM-30.

US Navy Photo


A bit of life aboard the USS R-20 during WW II.

Since it has been a couple of days since I served on the R 20 I wasn't sure I could remember too much to tell you but after reading Guy's, (Guy Covert, EMC(SS), USS R-7, see above), comments lots of it sorta flooded back. 

Like Guy, I didn't really care for a riveted submarine but when your only 18 who knows. If it made it thru one war it ought to make another. Till the day the 12 boat went down. (USS R-12 was lost on 12-Jun-1943 with the loss of 42 officers and men when it foundered off Key West). We operated out of Key West mostly training fly boys in detection and also working with destroyers. Hind sight tells me we put lots of those boys in bad positions because we could only dive to 90 feet and when they got into real action they had a bit of trouble with subs at over 200'. 

I came from Diesel school at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. to New London for sub school and then to Key West to the R 20 as an MOMM2/c (Motor Machinist Mate second class) (no EN (Enginemen) in those days). Quite a change from a classroom with lots of space around the engines to a sardine can where when you oiled the valve push rods , which were on the outboard side of the engines, the sweat that was pouring off you evaporated totally on the side of your body next to the engine and ran like a river on the other side. And the exhaust manifolds, which were also on the outboard side would sear your flesh if you fell against them when the ship rolled in a storm. I carried the scars for many years. 

I fully understand Guy's feeling when the ship rolls so far that you ship water down the conning tower hatch and with the engines on line they pull a vacuum thru out the whole boat and really do a job on your ears. I know well the feeling when you can't dive over 90' and in a storm that is worse than on the surface so you stay on the surface. 
That is about the time one gets a distinct longing for the open ranges of Montana where the antelope roam! 

The one really nice thing about serving on the R20 was that you could go up into the conning tower when submerged and look out thru the glass port holes and watch all the critters swimming along with you. And also the crew was one of the guttiest and bravest I have ever know and I'm honored to have served with them. 

I left the 20 boat to put the Angler, SS 240, into commission and stayed with her for 5 patrol runs until 1945. Left the service in 1948 and went home to Montana to be a cowboy! 

Hope this helps a little! 

John Clarke EN 1/c


R-boats
The ex-USS R-25, R-21, R-22, R-27, R-23, R-24 & R-26 all moored together at Hampton Roads, VA circa 1930.
Closer boats in photo seem to be a mix of classes but no identification can be found.
From the Private Collection of Ric Hedman
R-21 bow
The bow of the R-21 can be seen here.
She was in dry dock with two other R-boats, one of which was the R-25.

Circa early 1920's. Location Unknown.

USS R-22 in dry dock
USS R-22 in dry dock
Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, N.H.

R-22 dockside
USS R-22 dockside showing her bow buoyancy conversion bow.
The R-22 was the second R-boat constructed by the Lake Torpedo Boat company
During 1921, R-22 was transferred back to the Connecticut Submarine Base
for duty with SubDiv0 an experimental division of submarines.

USS R-22 bow
Lake added this same bow to the USS S-2 over his concerns about reserve bouyancy.

R-22 gun deck
Notice the unusual design of the gun platform area. It is unlike other boats

R-25 in Dry Dock
The R-25 is seen here in dry dock.
She was in dry dock with two other R-boats, one
of which was the R-21 just to the left in the photo.
An unidentified sub is in the lower right corner of the photo.

Circa early 1920's. Location Unknown.

R-25 bow
A close-up of the bow area of the R-25 can bee seen here.
Crew are gathered around the deckgun.

Circa early 1920's. Location Unknown.

R-25 Gun
The gun area of the R-25 is seen here.
Crew are gathered around the deckgun.

Circa early 1920's. Location Unknown.

USS R-26 SS 103 under construction
This is the USS R-26 SS 103 under construction at the
Lake Torpedoboat Company yard in Bridgeport CT on July 10, 1919.

National Archives Photo

USS R-26 SS 103 bow detail
This is the USS R-26 SS 103 bow detail while under construction at the
Lake Torpedoboat Company yard in Bridgeport CT on July 10, 1919.

National Archives Photo

USS R-26 SS 103
USS R-26 SS 103. This photo is usually seen with the background and ships
removed and R-26 details hand painted in. This is the un-retouched version.

National Archives Photo

USS R-26 at Coco Solo, Panama 1923
USS R-26 at Coco Solo, Panama 1923 with the O-7 and O-3

USS R-27 pre-launch photo
USS R-27 pre-launch photo, Sept 23, 1918.
Lake Torpedo Boat Co, Bridgeport, CT.
National Archives Photo

USS R-27 underway
USS R-27 running on the surface.
National Archives Photo

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Grandson Jon Sarubbi relates: "My grandfather, Henry Jappell, severed in the US Navy in the early 1920s. I do not have a complete record of his service. According to the 1920 US Census, he served as a Fireman 1st class aboard the USS R-27 in Panama in 1920." He is identified as the second man from the left.

The photo is taken with the men standing in front of the 4"/50 caliber deck gun. One man seems to have missed getting in the photo as all that is visible of him are his legs, seen to the right side of Henry Jappell.

The odd looking assortment of wood seen attached to the steel deck are cleats used by the men working the gun so their feet don't slip on the slick decking.

Seen in the background between the two men on the left is one of Henry Ford's Eagle Boats. A periscope of another sub is seen behind the men on the right. Photo location is Panama.

Photo Courtesy of Jon Sarubbi whose Grandfather, Henry Jappell, Severed On the R-27


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Henry Jappell is again identified as the second man from the left in this photo. There is a Chief Machinist Mate and to the right of him is a First Class Machinist Mate. The man on the left is a Second Class Machinist Mate. The rest of the men appear to be non-rated strikers. One man is in working clothes. This is possibly the whole Engine Room Gang.

Photo Courtesy of Jon Sarubbi whose Grandfather, Henry Jappell, Severed On the R-27


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Henry Jappell is identified as being in the middle in this photo. Five buddies posing for the camera.

Photo Courtesy of Jon Sarubbi whose Grandfather, Henry Jappell, Severed On the R-27


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