Commissioned in 1936, the SS-174 Shark submarine was a part of the Asiatic Fleet at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, departing Manila two days later. Returning to Manila on 19 December, Shark took aboard Admiral Thomas Hart, CINC, Asiatic Fleet, and his staff, transporting them to Surabaya, in Java.

On 6 January 1942, Shark narrowly escaped being torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. On 2 February, she reported having survived a depth charge attack by a Japanese destroyer, and had made an unsuccessful counterattack.

On 7 February, Shark radioed her headquarters that she was trailing a Japanese freighter. The following day she was instructed to make for the Makassar Strait. Post war examination of Japanese records suggests that Shark was most likely sunk by gunfire from the Japanese destroyer Yamakaze on 11 February 1942 but, as there were no survivors, this has never been confirmed. Shark was reported overdue, presumed lost on 7 March 1942.