From PigBoats.COM

Pike is seen moored to Berth No. 1 shortly after her launch at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME., September 12, 1935. Much work needs to be done before her construction is complete. Notably, her periscopes and supporting shears have not yet been installed. She is sitting high in the water, several feet above her normal waterline. The upper port side forward torpedo tube is visible, and the upward curve of her stern can be seen. Her fitting out process would last another 2½ months. She would be commissioned on December 2, 1935.

USN photo contributed by Senior Chief Don

Pike underway in the Pacific, possibly off Hawaii, circa 1936-1937. Compared with the photo above, the now fully commissioned Pike has been equipped with her full topside kit such as masts, radio aerials, lifelines and stanchions, and a 3"/50 caliber Mk 6 gun on the aft deck. Just visible forward of the conning tower fairwater is a circular LF loop antenna for radio communications, and a mount for a M2 .50 caliber water-cooled machine gun. She still is carrying the original 30 foot periscopes, as the longer 34 foot models were not yet ready. They would be retrofitted later. The longer periscopes kept the boat deeper in the water while at periscope depth, thus improving submerged control.

National Archives photo.

Pike with a "full head of steam" while on maneuvers. At first glance, not much appears in this photo to date it, or to come up with a location where it was taken. However, closer examination reveals numerous clues.

First, the presence of the class identifier "P2" on her conning tower fairwater indicates this picture was taken between her commissioning in December 1935 and September 1938, when the identifiers were replaced with the hull number.

Secondly, there is an aircraft carrier in the background. The overall size of the carrier, the configuration of her stern, and the overall date established above indicates that she is the USS Ranger (CV-4). The only time that the Ranger and Pike could have been photographed together would have been between March 1937 and September 1938, while both were operating with the Pacific Fleet. The place is more than likely Hawaiian waters, where most of the annual "Fleet Problem" exercises took place. The photo was actually taken on June 27, 1938, confirming what the clues are hinting at.

Also of note in the picture is the Pike's deck gun. It is a 3"/50 caliber Mark 6 weapon. The gun's mount is close to the deck, making this weapon incapable of elevating to fire against aircraft. This was the weapon of choice for the fleet boats until the Tambor class of 1940 when it was replaced by a 3"/50 caliber Mark 17 mount, which was now capable of anti-aircraft fire. In an interesting side note, the Mark 6 gun made a brief reappearance on a few of the Gato class boats early in WWII as supply shortages forced the use of the older gun. Also visible on the deck just forward of the conning tower fairwater is a pedestal mount for a water cooled M2 .50 caliber machine gun, the boat's primary anti-aircraft weapon. The gun was dismounted and taken below when the boat dived, leaving the pedestal topside.

Photo in the private collection of Ric Hedman.

Close up of the photo above, showing the bridge/conning tower area. The Officer of the Deck can be seen just above the "P" wearing dark clothing. Aft of the periscope shears a lookout is looking at the cameraman. Three crew are sitting on a bench mounted to the fairwater probably having a smoke and catching some air. The photo has come from a Newspaper archive so touch-up paint and ink are seen on the photo in places to make the photo copy more amenable to printing in a newspaper.

Photo in the private collection of Ric Hedman.

Pike underway in San Pablo Bay near the Mare Island Navy Yard, October 6, 1942, following her first wartime overhaul. She has been fitted with two superstructure mounted 21 inch torpedo tubes in an effort to increase her fire power. An SD air search radar mast has been added to the forward edge of the conning tower fairwater, and it is raised in this photo. The aft end of the fairwater has been cut down in an effort to reduce her silhouette, and a 20 mm anti-aircraft gun has been sited there on a Mk 5 mount. Her main deck gun has been replaced with a 3"/50 caliber Mk 17 gun, with the high pedestal mount that theoretically enabled anti-aircraft fire if the correct ammunition was carried. Some crated supplies are temporarily stowed on the main deck alongside the fairwater. She later received some further modifications, including cutting down the forward part of the fairwater. The older Pike with her riveted hull was pulled from active war patrols in September, 1943 and returned to New London to act as a training boat for submarine crews.

Photo NH 19-N-36006 courtesy of the Naval History & Heritage Command.

USS Pike (SS-173) Welcome Home cake is being cut by her Commanding Officer, Commander Rowland Clifford Lawver, who is the CO who returned Pike to New London after she had been retired from Pacific combat. She had a respectable combat record but was an aging boat having been commissioned in 1935. She was ordered back to New London for training. McGregor turned command over to Commander Rowland C. Lawver who was the Flag Secretary COMSUBPAC and being rotated back to the mainland.

In this photo we can see a Ship's Cook on the left side of the picture with his arm around a woman who may be his wife. On the right are two 3rd class Torpedomen. A Lieutenant, possibly his Executive Officer, stands to Lawver's left, (photo right).

Photos taken in January 1944 at Polly's Inn off West Norwich Road, Montville, CT.

Original photo in the private family collection of Kyle Jeske

Pike Commanding Officers and their wives. Commander Rowland C. Lawver and his wife are seated on the left in this photo. Commander Louis D. McGregor, Jr. and his wife are seated on the right. McGreger had been relieved of command to become the Prospective Commanding Officer of the Redfish under construction at Portsmouth Naval Shipyards in Kittery, Maine. They had made the trip down to New London for the Welcome Home party, probably by special invitation.

Interesting to note that in no pictures of Lawver can we find he is wearing submarine qualification Dolphins though in other photos to be seen here he is wearing a Combat Patrol pin. He had been assigned to the submarine tender USS Griffin AS-13 at the time of his brothers death as an Army Air Corps pilot. Second Lieut. Lawrence Lawver was killed in a training accident on September 9, 1942. He had probably been assigned to make a patrol aboard aboard one of her submarines. Since he wasn't likely going to command the submarine in a combat situation he was given command of Pike for her trip "home".

Original photo in the private family collection of Kyle Jeske

Pike Officers and Chief Petty Officers pose for the camera. Former Commanding Officer, Commander Louis D. McGregor, Jr. is sitting fourth from the left. Commander Rowland C. Lawver is sitting to McGregor's left. Second from the left is LT John F Callahan.

Original photo in the private family collection of Kyle Jeske

Pike Officers and Crew with wives and girlfriends posing for the camera at Polly's Inn off West Norwich Road, Montville, CT. in January 1944.

Third from the right is former Commanding Officer Commander Louis D. McGregor, Jr. and his wife. Next to McGreger to the left in the photo is Commander Rowland Clifford Lawver, his wife is obscured by the officer in the front row. Standing in the second row from the top, third man from the left in the photo is Electrician 1/c Lawrence R. Jeske (face circled in ink) father of Kyle Jeske who submitted these photos. The last man on the right is Lt. John F Callahan with his wife, Muriel, behind his right shoulder.

Original photo in the private family collection of Kyle Jeske

Pike Officers and Crew formal portrait taken at Polly's Inn off West Norwich Road, Montville, CT. in January 1944.

In the front row, holding either end of the USS Pike Battle Flag are (L) former CO Commander Louis D, McGregor and current CO Commander Rowland Clifford Lawver. Behind the Lieutenant to Lawvers left is Electrician 1/c Lawrence R. Jeske.

Original photo in the private family collection of Kyle Jeske

Pike Battle Flag being held by an unidentified Chief Petty Officer, (quite possibly the Chief of the Boat, COB), and the Pike's last combat Commanding Officer, Commander Louis D. McGregor. The calendar in the background shows it to be January 1944. Photo taken at Polly's Inn off West Norwich Road, Montville, CT.

Original photo in the private family collection of Kyle Jeske

Return to the Porpoise class page | Return to the Submarine Classes page

Page created by:
Ric Hedman & David Johnston
1999 - 2023 - PigBoats.COM©
Mountlake Terrace, WA, Norfolk, VA
webmaster at pigboats dot com