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World War II submarine to be repaired in Erie, PA

The USS Cod, a Gato-class submarine built by General Dynamics Electric Boat, is coming to Erie in October for repairs at Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair. (CONTRIBUTED/Erie Times News/TNS)
October 05, 2020

The USS Cod, a historic World War II submarine that makes its home port in Cleveland, is heading to Erie for repairs at Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair.

Tentative plans call for the 312-foot submarine to be towed to Erie around Oct. 13, said Paul Farace, president of the Cleveland Coordinating Committee for Cod.

Crews at Donjon, located at 220 E. Bayfront Parkway, will tackle a $1.25 million project to repair and renew the submarine’s underwater hull. The work is expected to take about 60 days.

Launched in March 1943, midway through U.S. involvement in the war, the Cod played a key role during its third patrol on May 10, 1944, when it helped sink the the Japanese destroyer Karukaya, which was part of a convoy bound for the Philippines.

According to a history of the USS Cod written by Farace, the submarine’s greatest claim to fame took place on its seventh and final war patrol on July 8, 1945, when it performed the only international submarine-to-submarine rescue in history.

Sailing in the South China Sea, the Cod rescued 56 sailors from the Dutch Submarine O-19.

The Cod was decommissioned in 1946, reactivated in 1951 and mothballed again in1954. The Cod was later towed through the newly opened St. Lawrence Seaway en route to Cleveland in 1959, where it served as a training vessel until 1971.

The Navy granted guardianship of the ship in 1976 to the Cleveland Coordinating Committee. Ten years later, the U.S. Department of the Interior designated the ship a National Historic Landmark. Since then, the submarine has been open to public and private tours.

The ship’s last visit to a shipyard for repairs came in 1963. For the most part, Farace said, the “relatively benign” waters of Lake Erie have been kind to the Cod.

“I think it’s in pretty good shape for a boat that hasn’t been in a shipyard for 50 years,” he said.

In August, the National Parks Service announced a $395,000 grant to help pay for repairs through the Saving America’s Treasures program.


© 2020 the Erie Times-News