Surfaced: 1,525 t.
Submerged: 1,810 t.
Length: 311' 8"
Beam: 27' 3"
Draft: 15' 3"
Surfaced: 20 k.
Submerged: 9 k.
1 - 5"
1 - 40mm
1 - 20mm
10 - 21" torpedo tubes
USS Ronquil SS-396
The "Official RONQUIL History" is very brief and omits many major activities and events that she participated in and the accomplishments that were made by the Boat and her Crew.
This RONQUIL History is a compilation of the Boat’s history from several sources and personal experiences. Extensive efforts were made to resolve conflicts of dates and/or events.
This document is a work in progress. Please help expand this document with your input to fill in the blanks. Input from the 1953 to 1960 is especially needed to document RONQUIL’s history. Please forward your experiences or comments regarding the RONQUIL history, to me via the email address below.
Richard "OZZIE" Osentoski, ETR2(SS)
HISTORY OF USS RONQUIL (SS-396)
The keel of the USS RONQUIL was laid at the Navy Yard, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on 9 September 1943. She was launched on 27 January 1944, with Mrs. C. M ELDER, wife of Captain C. M. ELDER, USN, acting as sponsor. Three months later, 22 April 1944, the new boat was put into full commission and Lieutenant Commander Henry S. MONROE, USN, embarked as her first Commanding Officer.
Immediately following the commissioning, preliminary training was conducted in the Portsmouth, New Hampshire – New London, Connecticut area, and by 9 June 1944, RONQUIL was proceeding out of New London en route Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii (T.H.). After pausing briefly at the Panama Canal for voyage repairs, Commander MONROE took his new command on to Pearl Harbor, arriving 8 July, where an intensive training program was conducted under the direction of Commander Training Command, Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet. By the end of July with three weeks of rugged workouts behind her, RONQUIL was ready for the forward area.
RONQUIL departed Pearl Harbor for her first war patrol on 31 July 1944, arriving in at Midway on 4 August 1944 for fuel and a few last minute repairs en route. Leaving Midway the same day, she cruised steadily westward toward her patrol station – The Northeastern Formosa Sakishima Gunto area. Arriving in the area on 15 August 1944, RONQUIL remained for fourteen days. On 24 August 1944, RONQUIL sank two attack cargo ships, Yoshida Maru No. 3 (4,646 tons) and Fukurie Maru (5,969 tons). During the remainder of the patrol, she made seven more torpedo attacks on enemy vessels and damaged two more. Her Score: 10,615 tons sunk; 10,700 tons damaged. RONQUIL put in at Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands on 8 September 1944 for refit by Submarine Division 141 and the USS BUSHNELL. For this, her first war patrol, the award of the Submarine Combat Insignia was authorized.
The RONQUIL’s second patrol was conducted in two phases. In the first phase, she conducted patrol with a coordinated attack group in the Bungo Suido area. In the last phase, she was one of seven submarines carrying out an anti-patrol vessel sweep north off the Bonin Islands. The first phase lasted from 30 September until 8 November 1944. The last phase was from 10 November to 28 November 1944. Between the two phases, she received voyage repairs from the USS FULTON on Tanapag Harbor, Saipan.
During the last phase of the second war patrol, on 17 November 1944, the RONQUIL and the USS Burrfish SS-312 destroyed the guardboat Fusa M.S of Haciro Jima, Honshu by gunfire. Second patrol score was 400 tons sunk. This gun action was conducted in very heavy seas and with extremely poor visibility. During the action, RONQUIL was hit by one of her own five inch shells exploding prematurely and received two holes in the pressure hull in the After Torpedo Room. A repair party led by Lieutenant Commander Lincoln MARCEY succeeded in repairing this damage so the RONQUIL could dive. For his courage in affecting repairs in the heavy seas that were constantly breaking over the deck, MARCEY was awarded the Navy Cross. The award of the Submarine Combat Insignia was authorized for this patrol. The RONQUIL returned to Pearl Harbor via Midway from this patrol, arriving on 28 November 1944, where refit was accomplished by Submarine Division 43 and the Submarine Base at Pearl Harbor. During this overhaul period Commander Henry S. MONROE was relieved as Commanding Officer by Commander Robert B. "Tex" LANDER. Commander MONROE (Class of 1933) promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral during the Post WWII and Cold War era.
USS RONQUIL’s third patrol was conducted in the Bonin Island area, where lifeguard duties as well as offensive patrolling was carried out. She got underway from Pearl Harbor on 1 January 1945, making the usual stop at Midway for fuel and then continuing on to the patrol area. No opportunities for rescue work were found on this patrol but on 7 February 1945 she sank a tanker of the TOHO MARU type. After 45 days on patrol, during which time no further targets were sighted, RONQUIL left the area en route for Guam, arriving on 14 February 1945. During a brief refit, the USS APOLLO of Submarine Division 281 performed repairs, while the boat was in Guam. The Submarine Combat Insignia was authorized for this patrol.
Her fourth patrol, beginning 11 March 1945 and lasting 44 days, took her into the area of the Northern Bonin Islands, where nothing more than a few contacts were made on small patrol boats. The hunting was poor, (she damaged one small patrol boat); however, the rescue work was good and the RONQUIL had the pleasure of rescuing 10 Army aviators from a downed B-29 in the water between the Bonins and Japan. The following is the comments of Lieutenant H. Martin MacDonald USAAC, who is the rescued B-29 Pilot.
STATEMENT OF LIEUTENANT H. MARTIN MACDONALD – RESCUED B-29 PILOT
This is my recollection about my experience on or about March 5, 1945.
We were on a saturation bombing mission to neutralize airfields on Kyushu, the southernmost Japanese Mainland Island and one most likely to furnish major air support for the Japanese forces defending Okinawa. The invasion for Okinawa was scheduled for the next day (or so), which would have been Easter Sunday.
Enroute to the target we always flew very low (350 – 450 feet) over the ocean to conserve gasoline. We would fly to a predetermined point and then climb to bombing altitude, which was to be 18,000 feet that day. As we passed through a very strong frontal system we passed over two Japanese DE type warships that fired at us overhead.
They must have struck our starboard inside engine for shortly afterwards we lost oil pressure and tried to feather the propeller. It would not feather and consequently the engine started burning which was magnified due to the failure of the fire extinguisher system. The Central Fire Control Gunner called to say the flames were reaching the tail assembly, which was real serious. I ordered the Bombardier to salvo the bombs, while we prepared to ditch the airplane. The seas were not too high and we made a successful ditching (although we lost one crewman who apparently stood up after we touched the first time). We got into three life rafts and after I recovered a bit from swallowing what seemed like a gallon of gasoline, the crew & I watched the plane sink (it took only a few minutes to go down). Our charts showed we were about eighty miles off shore and would apparently drift shoreward. Since we had not gotten off any distress signals, we were fortunate to spot another B-29 who was separated from his squadron due to the miserable weather. We signaled him with hand mirrors and he swooped down dropping another life raft, which almost hit us. He got off a message to DUMBO (Submarine Rescue Ship) and about five hours we were surprised to see a submarine surface nearby. That was a real tense moment, as we didn’t know whether it was "friend or foe". The sub came over to us and we were relieved to see the sailors in denim, who hurriedly got us aboard as you could see the smoke from the Japanese warships searching for us.
Things were rather CROWDED as the sub was fully manned and our ten men added to the crowd. We had to "hot bunk" whenever we could find an empty bunk. One of the airmen (this was a "makeshift crew" and I had not flown with them before) had sustained compound fractures of both legs and another had died in the ditching as previously mentioned. I believe his name was Sgt. Dewicke. His body went down with the plane, which I think was "T Square 4".
I recall getting off on the "right foot" when I "blew the head" within my first hour on board. RONQUIL shadowed the two Japanese vessels the rest of the day and fired torpedoes at them that night. I learned that our submarines liked to attack on the surface, when they could as they had use of their radar topside. The weather conditions became severe as typhoon passed through RONQUIL‘s operation area. The weather conditions cancelled the scheduled rendezvous with a cruiser to transfer the injured airman. After the typhoon, we surfaced in the midst of a huge area of floating mines, which had been uprooted by the storm. Several of them were sunk by the RONQUIL. The sub’s crew was a bit concerned that one explosion might start a chain-reaction. RONQUIL left that area (I was relieved) and started back to Saipan.
RONQUIL’s Commanding Officer was "Tex" Lander whose wife’s father had an office in the same building in Charlotte, N.C. as my father! Submariner’s chow was better than most served in war zone. The Easter Sunday dinner served was turkey, dressing and ALL the trimmings. We (US Army Air Corps) had been eating DEHYDRATED food a lot of the time on Saipan. I recall that undersea travel was a lot like train travel in an air-conditioned Pullman car. You felt very little motion and during the typhoon we went down deep and felt nothing but on top it was MURDER, as the sub would roll mostly to one side.
Upon my return to Saipan, I was eager to tell my regular crew, (my buddies), about the "adventure" in the Sea of Japan and rescue by the RONQUIL. I learned then that my regular plane and crew had crashed shortly before my return killing all.
I recall that the Ronquil was SS 396 and about 317 feet long with a crew of 75.
"I WILL ALWAYS BE THANKFUL FOR AND TO THE MEN OF THE RONQUIL FOR WITHOUT THEM I WOULD NOT (PROBABLY) HAVE SURVIVED"!
Lieutenant H. Martin MacDonald USAAC
After depositing the fliers at Saipan on 6 April 1945, she returned to the area for continuation of the patrol, which was terminated at Midway on 24 April 1945. Refit was accomplished at the Midway Submarine Base. Submarine Squadron 24, and Advanced Training Relief Crew Number Two performed the repairs. The Submarine Combat Insignia was authorized for this patrol.
RONQUIL’s last patrol, number 5, was conducted in the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea. During the patrol, she made two determined torpedo attacks, the first resulting in the sinking of a large unidentified ship in a fog. The second target was not as easy to get as the first because of its wild zigzagging. When RONQUIL sent four torpedoes streaming for the target, it countered by firing two torpedoes at RONQUIL. This was bad, but what was worse was the fact that one of RONQUIL’s own torpedoes ran erratic, doubled back on its course, and missed her by ten feet. This last patrol lasted from 19 May to 26 July 1945, a total of sixty-nine days. Stops were made at Saipan en route to the area on 30 May and at Guam when returning from the area on 15 July 1945. RONQUIL arrived at Pearl Harbor on 26 July 1945, where refit was undertaken by the Submarine Base and Submarine Division 104. For her last patrol, award of the Submarine Combat Insignia was authorized.
When the news of the end of the war came, RONQUIL was at sea near Pearl Harbor, training for her sixth war patrol, which was scheduled to begin on 24 August 1945. On 29 August 1945, Commander Romondt RUDD, USN, relieved Commander Robert B. "Tex" LANDER as Commanding Officer of the RONQUIL.
During her five war patrols, the RONQUIL damaged 10,800 tons of enemy shipping and sent 21,600 tons to the bottom. She was awarded the Submarine combat Insignia for all five war patrols, six engagement stars on the Asiatic-Pacific Area Service Ribbon, and the Navy Occupation Service Medal, Pacific.
Training operations near Pearl Harbor were held during the period from 29 August until 15 September 1945. The RONQUIL then entered Pearl Harbor Navel Shipyard for a routine overhaul. Upon the completion of the overhaul in the fall of 1945, she reported to Commander Submarine Group, San Diego, for duty, and was assigned to Submarine Squadron Three. In March of 1946, Commander Frank E HAYLER relieved Commander Romondt RUDD as Commanding Officer. During this period the RONQUIL was engaged in extensive training exercises in the San Diego Area.
In January 1947, RONQUIL returned to Pearl Harbor, T.H., for overhaul. After this overhaul, she departed for her first peacetime deployment to the Western Pacific (WESTPAC). This patrol took her to the French Possession of Papette, Tahiti; Kusaie in the Carolines; Guam; Saipan; Yokosuka, Japan; and the Yellow Sea. On 3 June 1947, RONQUIL crossed the equator at longitude 136 degrees 23.2 minutes West. Neptune ruled over the traditional proceedings. RONQUIL returned to San Diego, California via Pearl Harbor, completing a 114 day training cruise after steaming 20,000 miles.
RONQUIL then resumed local operations in the San Diego area. On 5 June 1948, Lieutenant Commander Charles D. NACE relieved Commander Frank E. HAYLER as Commanding Officer. In July 1948, RONQUIL entered Hunters Point Naval Shipyard for routine overhaul and returned to San Diego in December 1948.
The RONQUIL resumed local operations and spent the next three years performing intensive training exercises in offensive and anti-submarine warfare, embodying lessons learned during World War II as well as new post war developments .In San Diego, on 15 January 1950, Lieutenant Commander Harry F. FISHER relieved Commander Charles D. NACE as Commanding Officer. Commander NACE (class of 1939) advanced to the rank of Rear Admiral during the Post WWII and Cold War Era. RONQUIL continued to be based in San Diego and was assigned to Submarine Division 32 Submarine Squadron 3. On 30 June 1950, RONQUIL received a letter of commendation from Commander Submarines Pacific Fleet (ComSubPac) for the Armed Forces Day visit to Seattle, Washington. Commander Thirteenth Naval District commented on the outstanding manner in which RONQUIL executed her Armed Forces Day assignment. In the summer of 1950, RONQUIL completed a routine overhall at Mare Island Naval Shipyard and returned to San Diego for local operations. On 1 February 1951, ComSubPac officially commended RONQUIL as follows: The Force Commander notes with pleasure the high standards of training, readiness and efficiency that exist on RONQUIL as indicated by the report of Operational Readiness Inspection just completed and the mark of OUTSTANDING assigned your vessel. On 5 March 1951, a letter of appreciation was received via the Squadron and Division Commanders from William P. Kroger MD, President, Pacific Coast Surgical Association expressing appreciation for a visit of members and their wives aboard RONQUIL. "The group shared a most interesting and unique experience and the courtesy and hospitality of the Officers and Crew was very much appreciated".
In the summer of 1951, RONQUIL was deployed to WESTPAC and conducted operations in support of Naval Forces Far East efforts in the Korean War. RONQUIL’s primary role was monitoring Soviet and Chinese air and seaborne activity and photography missions. August 1951, RONQUIL was underway on independent operations with orders to conduct undetected reconnaissance of shipping and/or airborne activity in her assigned patrol area. Throughout the patrol, RONQUIL identified and photographed numerous radar targets and made rendezvous with the USS Volador SS-490 and USS Tiru SS-416 to exchange patrol reports and other valuable information. For this Patrol, RONQUIL earned the Korean War Medal for service in the War Zone. During her deployment, RONQUIL was ordered to conduct a survey of Chi Chi Jima Island, including the harbor. RONQUIL was the first U.S. combatant ship to enter the harbor since the conclusion of WWII. The Japanese had lined several large natural caves with copper sheathing and used them for storage of high-value munitions such as torpedoes and mines. The marines who landed on the island had done a very thorough demolition job. They blew up several radio towers including the concrete bases that the Japanese had constructed. An interesting sidelight of the mission was all of the original inhabitants of the island, who where repatriated from prison camps in Japan, were named Christian. All were descendants of Fletcher Christian of HMS Bounty fame. On 18 April 1951, a letter of commendation was received from Commander Task Group Ninety Six Point Seven operating directly under Commander Naval Forces Far East for RONQUIL’s participation in developing a training program for destroyers and destroyer escorts in hunter-killer techniques. For this WESTPAC deployment the RONQUIL Crew was authorized to wear the Korean Presidential Unit Citation.
May 1951, RONQUIL returned to San Diego. In early May 1951, RONQUIL was commended by ComSubPac as follows: ComSubPac is pleased to commend the Officers and Crew of the USS RONQUIL (SS396) for the outstanding state operational readiness maintained in your ship. The fine state of training and organization demonstrated in your recent Operational Readiness Inspection is a credit to the Commanding Officer and indicates a spirit of cooperation and application on the part of all hands.
13 May 1952, RONQUIL was decommissioned in Mare Island Naval Shipyard for the "GUPPY IIA" modernization. On 22 May 1952. Lieutenant J. J. KELLY relieved Commander Harry F. FISCHER as RONQUIL’s Commanding Officer for the GUPPY conversion. "GUPPY" is the Navy acronym for Greater Underwater Propulsion Power Program. Like all programs in the military, a catchy name is required, that would attract and hold attention. Since "GUPPP" didn’t sound quite right, the third P was dropped and a Y was added and "GUPPY" became the name of the program. RONQUIL’s hull and sail were streamlined for greater submerged speed. She received new, increased-capacity batteries for underwater endurance, and a snorkel system, which enabled her to use her diesels while submerged at periscope depth. Number two main engine was removed and all of the mechanical systems, except the low pressure blower were removed from the Pump Room and installed in the Forward Engine Room. Most of the Pump Room became an electronics space for Electronic Countermeasures, Radar Transmitter/Receiver and Power Supplies, Sonar & miscellaneous equipment. New electronics, including improved sonar and fire control systems, were installed. Commander Russell C. MEDLEY was the new Commanding Officer when the RONQUIL was re-commissioned on 16 January 1953. RONQUIL’s XO from 1950 to 1953, Lieutenant Commander Joe WILLIAMS advanced to the rank of Rear Admiral during the Post WWII and Cold War Era.
RONQUIL returned to San Diego for training exercises and local operations. On 12 June 1953, RONQUIL departed from San Diego enroute to WESTPAC She arrived in Yokosuka , Japan on 11 July 1953 after making a brief stop in Pearl Harbor. On 19 July 1953, RONQUIL went to Tokyo, Japan, as a guest of the Japanese government to take part in the ceremonies of the "Black Ship Festival" which commemorated Commodore Perry's opening of Japan in 1853. This was the first time a submarine from any nation had ever landed at the Japanese capitol city. Through August and September, RONQUIL participated in antisubmarine and other operations in the waters near Japan, this was to set the pattern for most of her later deployments. 11 August 1953, RONQUIL departed from Yokosuka on a Special Operation, which lasted for a total of 34 days. The Ronquil Crew was awarded 2 Korean War Service Medals for operations performed during 11July to 3 October 1953 and 29 October 29 to 11 November, 1953. She took part in two "Hunter-Killer" operations in Japanese waters as far south as Okinawa. These operations were highlighted by a four day stay in Hong Kong, British Crown Colony (B.C.C.). RONQUIL’s participated in antisubmarine and other operations in the waters near Japan, set the pattern for most of her later deployments. She departed from Yokosuka on 20 November 1953 enroute to San Diego, California, via Pearl Harbor, arriving in San Diego on 11 December 1953. The next seven months were engaged in operational training and fleet exercises. Two Reserve Training periods were also conducted during this period.
On 10 September 1954 RONQUIL entered Mare Island Naval Shipyard for a routine overhaul. RONQUIL returned to San Diego for refresher training, Naval Reserve training and fleet exercises. She sailed for another WESTPAC deployment on 21 March 1955, returning late in September. In 1955, Lieutenant Commander Hal TAYLOR relieved Commander Russell C. MEDLEY as Commanding Officer. The next 2 years were devoted to local operations off the west coast of the United States; on 31 July 1957, the submarine again deployed to the Far East for 7 months. In 1957, Lieutenant Commander Edward FRANZ relieved Commander Hal Taylor as Commanding Officer.
From 3 to 7 July 1958, RONQUIL took part, with other ships of the fleet, in an observance of the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the "Great White Fleet" at San Francisco. She resumed normal operations, then sailed from San Diego on 6 April 1959 for a 5-month WestPac deployment. In 1959, Lieutenant Commander John BOTHWELL relieved Commander Edward FRANZ as Commanding Officer. During July and August of 1960, she participated in extensive antisubmarine exercises in the eastern Pacific with United States and Canadian forces. In the summer of 1961, RONQUIL was awarded the Division and Squadron Battle Efficiency "E" in recognition of her outstanding readiness condition and excellent record of achievement. On 25 August 1961, Lieutenant Commander Gene GAUTHIER relieved Commander John BOTHWELL as Commanding Officer.
In September 1961, RONQUIL again sailed for the Far East. During the West Pac Deployment, RONQUIL visited many ports around Japan, including Hakodate (Hakkaido), Osaka, Sasebo and Maizuru. RONQUIL held "Open House" during these port visits and hosted many visitors. During independent operations in the Sea of Japan, RONQUIL was diverted to the port of Osaka to disembark a sailor with an infected eye. Joint exercises were conducted with the Japanese Self Defense Forces. RONQUIL returned to San Diego in March 1962. For this deployment, the RONQUIL received the Navy Expeditionary Medal.
During the summer, RONQUIL made a port visit to Santa Barbara. After taking part in a demonstration of antisubmarine operations for the national radio and television networks, RONQUIL entered Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in September 1962 for an extensive overhall. During this overhall, the Stepped GUPPY Sail was replaced with the fiberglass High Sail. All of the decking aft of the sail was replaced with the "clamshell" fiberglass decking. Main Ballast Tank #7 was converted to spare parts storage area with a small access hatch in the deck of the After Torpedo Room. RONQUIL was one of the first boats in the fleet to have the Floating Wire Antenna and Edo Fairing on the 8B (number1) periscope installed. The Edo Fairing reduced the periscope’s (feather) wake at high speeds when submerged. It could be raised or lowered independently of the periscope. During the overhall, the USS Diodon SS-349 was moored to a pier that caught fire. When the alarm sounded, the RONQUIL’s duty section ran down to the pier where the Diodon was located and cast off the mooring lines, but the shore power was still hooked up. One of the RONQUIL Crew grabbed a fire ax and chopped through the shore power cable while it was still hot. Others picked up the Diodon’s periscope that was laying on the pier and carried it to safety. Skipper Gene GAUTHIER commented "he was especially proud of RONQUIL’s Crew that night". The Diodon was safe & the pier was completely destroyed.
RONQUIL resumed operations in February 1963. In early May 1963, black residue was noticed on the hydraulic cylinder of the Main Induction Valve Operating Gear, which is located in the overhead in the Mess Hall. An inspection found the Main Hydraulic System was extensively contaminated with salt water. Further inspection found the source of the salt water contamination to be the new Edo Fairing. Major emergency repair of the Main Hydraulic System took over two weeks to complete. A serious design flaw was discovered in the new Edo Fairing and it was replaced the standard periscope fairing in use at the time.
On 27 July 1963, Lieutenant Commander Peter BLOCK relieved Commander Gene GAUTHIER as Commanding Officer. The submarine departed San Diego in November 1963 for duty in WESTPAC with the 7th Fleet. During a brief stop in Pearl Harbor, a K Band Electronic Countermeasures (RW-1) system, at was installed in the 8B (number 1) periscope. While enroute to Yokosuka, Japan, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and RONQUIL was ordered to Defcon 3 status. During the West Pac tour, an extended independent operation extended from mid December 1963 to early February 1964. RONQUIL became the first US Submarine to intercept K Band airborne surface search radar signals. Also, RONQUIL participated in extensive training exercises that were conducted with US, Japanese & SEATO Navies. Port visits were made in Sasebo and Aomori, Japan. The "Good Will " visit to the city of Aomori located in northern Honshu was the highlight of the deployment. RONQUIL was the first US Submarine to visit Aomori, since the end of World War II and several thousand visitors toured the boat during the port visit. RONQUIL departed Yokosuka, Japan and returned to San Diego in May 1964 via the "Great Circle Route" and provided target services for our Anti Submarine Forces while transiting back to homeport. While enroute to San Diego, on 22 April 1964, the Crew celebrated RONQUIL’s 20th Birthday with a special birthday cake and ice cream in the Mess Hall.
RONQUIL resumed local operations before entering Hunters Point Naval shipyard in June 1964, for a new battery. RONQUIL was one of the first boats in the fleet to have the Mk. 37 Mod. 1 Torpedo Fire Control System installed. The helm was moved from the Conning Tower to the Control Room to make room for the new fire control system director. After completing the Battery Change, RONQUIL operated with the USS Volador SS-490 off the coast of San Francisco. Volador was checking out & calibrating the new PUFF passive sonar system. The PUFF system provided target range on a passive sonar by measuring the time difference that target sounds were detected by three large hydrophones located on the deck. RONQUIL used the AN/BQS4A active sonar to provide accurate ranges between the boats throughout the operation.
RONQUIL resumed local offensive and anti-submarine training exercises during September 1964. Many of the exercises were related to the shakedown of the new MK 37-1 Wire-Guided Torpedo System that was installed during the Battery Change. The advantage of the MK 37-1 system was that the torpedo was steered into the target by the Weapons Officer operating the MK 37-1 Director over a wire paid out from a reel within the torpedo as it made its run. Steering signals were sent to the torpedo over the wire to keep the bearing of the torpedo aligned with the bearing of the target until the torpedo acquired the target with its own sonar and made its attack. Signals also were sent back from the torpedo to the Director indicating the weapons status and progress of the attack. Operational testing of the system aboard the RONQUIL off San Diego proved the system more capable of successful hits than the unguided MK 37-0 torpedo. The system did have a couple of drawbacks. Although the torpedo tube also included a reel of wire to allow for the sub’s movement, the sub’s maneuvers were very restricted during the torpedo run and the torpedo tube outer door had to remain open until the end of the torpedo run to avoid cutting the wire. Another drawback was the system did not have a simulation mode to allow for training MK 37-1 Director operators or allow practice runs. Lieutenant Junior Grade Larry STOORZA, RONQUIL’s Weapons Officer, designed and developed a compact and inexpensive MK 37-1 Torpedo Simulator that could simulate a full torpedo run, acquisition of the target and attack, as well as system failures. For his effort, Lieutenant Junior Grade Larry STOORZA was awarded the Navy Commendation for Achievement Medal. Lieutenant Commander Reginald BURGET, RONQUIL’s XO, and the USS Sperry AS-12 Weapons Shop also assisted in the construction of the simulator.
On 19 November 1964, RONQUIL slid beneath the surface for it’s 6,000 dive.
In early February 1965, RONQUIL due to the outstanding readiness that she had demonstrated in the past, was given ten days notice to prepare for an unscheduled West Pac deployment, because of the developments in Vietnam. RONQUIL sailed to Southeast Asia and a short five month deployment. The primary mission was supporting the Fleet’s efforts at Yankee Station and the surrounding area with two extended independent operations. RONQUIL operated out of Yokosuka, Japan, where minor upkeep repairs were performed. June 1965, RONQUIL made a brief stop in Hong Kong B.C.C.and continued on to Yokosuka, Japan for minor upkeep. 13 July 1965 in Yokosuka, Japan, Lieutenant Commander James NAUGLE relived Commander Peter BLOCK as Commanding Officer. RONQUIL returned to San Diego after backtracking a day or two to Midway Island for a brief stop while a crewmember was checked out and released by the hospital because of an appendicitis inflammation and an eight hour stopover in Pearl Harbor in July 1965. RONQUIL crew earned their choice of either the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal or the Vietnam Service Medal during this deployment.
Sept. 1965, RONQUIL entered Hunters Point Naval Shipyard for major overhaul. The major change accomplished was the installation of a much needed 60 ton air conditioning plant. RONQUIL completed her overhaul at the end of January 1966 and proceeded to Keyport, Washington for extensive tests and evaluations of her weapon systems. While there, RONQUIL became the first submarine to fire the MK48 torpedo. RONQUIL then proceeded to Vancouver, B.C. arriving on 19 February 1966 and departing 23 February 1966. RONQUIL was opened to visitors on two consecutive days and over 3,000 people visited the boat. RONQUIL then departed for San Diego for an extensive training period prior to deploying to the Western Pacific. During this period the many new members of the crew were fashioned into a well knit team, able to accomplish any assigned task. As an example of the extensive training accomplished, RONQUIL fired more than 30 exercise torpedoes.
On 20 July 1966, RONQUIL left for the Western Pacific on an extended deployment, her fourth in as many years. After a two week upkeep in Yokosuka, RONQUIL spent the next four weeks at sea, operating with 7th Fleet aircraft and dogging typhoons. These operations were capped off by a visit to Osaka, Japan after which RONQUIL once again returned to Yokosuka for two weeks of upkeep. RONQUIL spent the next 50 days at sea on independent operations. After another short upkeep in Yokosuka, RONQUIL once again headed for sea. Both Christmas and New Year’s were spent at sea on this cruse but a redeeming factor was the seven-day liberty period the ship enjoyed in Hong Kong, B.C.C. early in January 1967.
RONQUIL returned to San Diego on 22 February 1967 for further work off the coast of California. In April 1967, RONQUIL commenced a six week battery renewal in Hunters Point naval shipyard. In San Diego, on 27 July 1967, Lieutenant Commander Robert TOLG Jr. relieved Commander James NAGLE as Commanding Officer.
Extensive training obtained on local operations was interrupted in August 1967, when RONQUIL provided services to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for the filming of "Ice Station Zebra". Upon completion of her very successful film debut, RONQUIL again returned to sea and training in preparation for her forth-coming overseas deployment. For the first time in three years, RONQUIL spent Christmas in her homeport of San Diego. The following day, RONQUIL departed San Diego enroute to Japan for another extended deployment in the Western Pacific. After a week of upkeep in Yokosuka, the ship operated locally with the Japanese Self Defense Forces conducting the first pro-submarine exercises with the Japanese in recent years. While the RONQUIL was making a port visit in Sasebo, Japan in January 1968, orders were received by the RONQUIL to proceed immediately to support the mobilization response to the capture of the USS Pueblo AGER-2, by the North Koreans. This effort was very personal to many of the RONQUIL Crew, because the Pueblo’s CO Commander Lloyd "Pete" Bucher was the RONQUIL’s XO from 1962 to 1964. RONQUIL deployed for operations in support of the 7th Fleet. RONQUIL spent much of her 1ater deployment providing services to U.S., Australian, British and Canadian forces. During this period from March to June, she visited Okinawa, Hong Kong, B.C.C., the Philippine Islands, Kobe, Japan, and was again awarded the Vietnam Service Medal for operations off the coast of Vietnam .The RONQUIL was highly commended for her services to U.K. forces in exercises GUILE in May 1968. On 2 June 1968, after completing her final upkeep in Yokosuka, Japan, and a very successful Western Pacific deployment, RONQUIL headed for home, arriving back in San Diego on 2 July 1968.
Shortly after returning to San Diego, RONQUIL was awarded the Division and Squadron Battle Efficiency "E" in recognition of her outstanding readiness condition and excellent record of achievement. On 21 August 1968, RONQUIL began a five and one-half month major overhaul in Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California. The overhaul was terminated on 12 February 1969 after successful completion of Consolidated Operability Trials (COT), Bay Trials, and Sea Trials and RONQUIL returned to her homeport of San Diego, California. On 1 March RONQUIL transited to Dabob Bay, Washington, to conduct Weapons System Accuracy Trials. After certification of the weapons system, RONQUIL moved on to Carr Inlet for calibration of her sonar and other sensors on the 3-D range. RONQUIL made a port visit to Vancouver, British Columbia before returning to San Diego.
Upon returning to San Diego on 30 March 1969,RONQUIL commenced a series of underway training periods and inspections designed to prepare her for her forthcoming WESTPAC deployment. These included a Command Inspection, an Operational Readiness Inspection, and FORAC’s certification. On 30 April 1969, Commander Jack STONE Jr. relieved Commander Robert G. TOLG Jr. as Commanding Officer. On 9 July 1969, RONQUIL departed San Diego for WESTPAC. During her deployment RONQUIL spent more than 80% of her time at sea. She conducted two extended independent operations and visited the ports of Yokosuka, Japan, Sasebo, Japan, and Hong Kong, B.C.C. while attached to the operational control of COMSEVENFLT. The Vietnam Service Medal was awarded for this deployment. RONQUIL returned to her homeport of San Diego on Christmas Eve 1969, where the RONQUIL and her crew took a very welcomed period of R and R that extended into January 1970.
Mid January 1970,RONQUIL departed San Diego enroute to Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, San Francisco, for a new battery, upgraded electronics and other needed repairs. After a busy two months for the crew, RONQUIL departed Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in early April for her return to San Diego. For the next four months, RONQUIL participated in numerous training and fleet exercises in the Southern California operating area.
RONQUIL departed in mid August for the Far East. After a one week stay in Pearl Harbor, RONQUIL continued her voyage to WESTPAC and arrived in Yokosuka, Japan in September. After a minor upkeep, RONQUIL commenced operational commitments under the operational control of the Commander Seventh Fleet. She conducted two more Special Operations for which the crew received the Navy Unit Commendation. After a minor upkeep in Yokosuka, on New Year’s Eve, RONQUIL arrived in the port of Sasebo, Japan for short visit. On 3 January 1971, RONQUIL left Sasebo, Japan and stopped in Keelung, Republic of China, Hong Kong B.B.C., Subic Bay, Republic of Philippines and the Admiralty Islands. Late in the deployment, a message was received stating that the RONQUIL would be transferred to Spain shortly after arriving back in San Diego. She was routed home via Brisbane, Australia, Pago Pago, American Samoa and Papeete, Tahiti. On 25 January 1971, RONQUIL crossed the Equator in route to Australia. YNC(SS) E. VUKALCIC was Neptunus. Lieutenant Commander Sam ADAMS Jr. reported aboard RONQUIL in Australia as Perspective Commanding Officer. In February 1971, Lieutenant Commander Sam ADAMS relieved Commander STONE at the French Naval Base in Tahiti. RONQUIL returned directly to her homeport of San Diego arriving on 5 March 1971. The Vietnam Service Medal was awarded for this deployment. The RONQUIL Crew enjoyed a 30day R and R period followed by two months of local operations. RONQUIL began a 30 day training period for The Spanish Crew after their arrival in San Diego.
On 1 July 1971, RONQUIL was decommissioned and was transferred to the Government of Spain.
She was commissioned as the ISAAC PERALl S-32. in the Spanish Navy following the signing of the transfer documents. Lieutenant Commander Pedro SOLER assumed command of the ISAAC PERAL S-32 and planned to sail the boat to her new homeport (Cartagena, Spain) in August 1971. The Spanish Navy decommissioned the ISAAC PERAL S-32 in 1984.
The following document and personal sources were used to compile RONQUIL’s History. RONQUIL Shipmates are listed with their highest Rank/Rate, while on the RONQUIL.
Last update date: July 23, 2002