S-16 was laid down on 19 March 1918 at the Lake Torpedo Boat Company, in Bridgeport, CT, and launched on 23 December 1919, sponsored by Mrs. Archibald W. McNeil. She was commissioned on 17 December 1920, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Andrew C. Bennett.
Departing from New London, CT on 31 May 1921, S-16 was attached to SubDiv 18 and proceeded, via the Panama Canal, California, Hawaii, and Guam to Cavite, in the Philippines, arriving on 1 December.
Sailing from Cavite on 11 October 1922, she visited Hong Kong, returning to Cavite on 1 November. Sailing from Manila on 15 May 1923, she visited Shanghai, Chefoo, and Chingwangtao before returning, via Woosung and Amoy, to Cavite on 11 September. In the summer of 1924, she visited Shanghai, Tsingtao, Chefoo, and Chingwangtao, returning to Olongapo on 23 September. This was a fairly typical pattern for Asiatic Fleet submarines, departing the Philippines during the heat of the summer for the cooler climate of Chinese waters. She departed Cavite for the last time on 3 November 1924, arriving at Mare Island on 30 December.
She remained at Mare Island during 1925 and 1926, operating along the California coast during 1927, with a visit to Hawaii in July and August. From February 1928 through 1935, S-16 was assigned to the Panama Canal Zone, with a visit to Baltimore in 1933. Departing Coco Solo on 25 January 1935, S-16 was decommissioned at Philadelphia on 22 May 1935.
As war became more likely, S-16 was recommissioned on 2 December 1940. Following voyages to Bermuda and the Panama Canal Zone, S-16 operated out of St. Thomas from December 1941 through March 1942. From April through August, she operated out of Coco Solo, sailing to New London in September 1942, where she remained until June 1944.
S-16 was decommissioned on 4 October 1944 and stricken from the Navy List. She was employed as a target and sunk off Key West, FL, on 3 April 1945.
On a literary side note, a fictional version of S-16 appears in the opening chapters of Edward L. Beach’s Run Silent, Run Deep.
Sponsor: Mrs. Archibald W. McNeil
First Captain: LCDR Andrew C. Bennett
Stricken/Lost: Target 1945