The SS-307 Tilefish was launched on 25 October 1943, at the Mare Island Navy Yard. After fitting out, she was commissioned on 28 December 1943, with Lieutenant Commander Roger M. Keithly commanding.
Arriving in Hawaii at the end of March 1944, Tilefish began her first war patrol on 3 April, heading for Empire waters. The early part of this patrol was plagued by fathometer problems. She also experienced periscope problems. Despite this, she found a small convoy on 11 May, firing a spread at a passenger liner. One hit was observed under the ship’s bridge.
Diving, Tilefish took on water and plunged to 580 feet before recovering. While unintentional, this depth put her well below the escorts’ depth charges and Tilefish was able to elude and continue her patrol. She found few targets and requested a different patrol area. After a brief period in the northern Marianas, Tilefish concluded her first patrol at Majuro.
At Majuro, Tilefish went alongside Bushnell for refit, departing on her second war patrol on 22 June with Sawfish and Rock for the Luzon Strait area. Division 142 commander Warren Wilkin, riding inTilefish, commanded the wolf pack, called “Wilkin’s Wildcats.”
On 18 July 1944, Tilefish and her group encountered a large convoy. She scored two hits on a freighter, then maneuvered to attack a destroyer that was menacing Rock. One of Tilefish‘s torpedoes hit the destroyer under the forward mount, and a second hit added to the damage. The destroyer was listing, dead in the water, when Tilefish was forced down by enemy aircraft. When she put up her periscope nine minutes later there was no sign of the destroyer.
Tilefish returned to Pearl Harbor on 15 August, credited with sinking one ship for 1,700 tons. The sinking was disallowed post war.
Putting to sea again on 10 September 1944, Tilefish patrolled in the Sea of Okhotsk and off the Kuriles. She used her deck gun to put down a small trawler on 23 September. Two small cargo ships were sunk in early October, and she finished off a grounded vessel on the 17th. She returned to Midway on 24 October 1944. Keithly’s lack of luck with Japanese record keepers seemed to be holding to this point, and the wartime credit of 4 targets sunk for 8,100 tons was again disallowed post war.
Tilefish began her fourth war patrol on 15 November, returning to the Kuriles. Bad weather and mountainous seas forced Tilefish to submerge to ride out a storm on her way to the patrol area. On the 25th, she entered the Sea of Okhotsk. Moving south on 16 December, Tilefish sank the torpedo boat Chidori on the 25th. She returned to Pearl Harbor on 2 January 1945. This time JANAC would allow the sinking post war, though reducing the tonnage to 527.
Tilefish began her fifth war patrol on 31 January 1945, with Walter F. Schlech, Jr. now in command. In company with Thresher and Peto, she set out for the Marianas. She participated in exercises en route, and took part in the search for a downed aircraft.
Stopping in Saipan, she got under way on 13 February on an independent patrol. On 28 February she reported sinking a 90 ton cargo vessel in a gun attack. Following this, she took up station for lifeguard duty supporting strikes on Amami Shima. She picked up one downed flyer from Hancock on 1 March. A fishing trawler was put down on 4 March. The next day Tilefish sank a minesweeper. More lifeguard duty followed.
At the conclusion of her fifth war patrol, Tilefish returned to Pearl Harbor, then continued to San Francisco for overhaul. She returned to Pearl Harbor on 11 July.
Setting out on patrol again at the beginning of August, she was on lifeguard duty off the Ryuku Islands (Okinawa group) when the war ended.
Tilefish returned to San Francisco in early 1946 and operated off the west coast of the United States for most of that year, participating in exercises. She continued to operate out of California until 1950.
In September 1950, Tilefish began operations from Japanese ports, conducting patrols off Korea. Following the Korean War, returned to operating out of west coast and Hawaiian ports until 1957.
In 1959, Tilefish was decommissioned, rebuilt at the San Francisco Navy Yard, and then recommissioned on 30 January 1960. She was decommissioned again in May 1960 and sold to Venezuela, which renamed her Carite. She served in the Venezuelan Navy into the 1970s. At one point, she was modified to resemble a long-range U-boat and used in the filming of the motion pictureMurphy’s War.
Carite was decommissioned on 28 January 1977 and used for spare parts.
|HISTORY FOR U.S.S.|
|10/25/43||Mare Island||Mrs W.D. Leggett||12/28/43||LCDR Roger M. Keithly||1977|
|1||Roger M. Keithly||Pearl||4/3/44||54||0/0||0/0||Majuro|
|2||Roger M. Keithly||Majuro||6/22/44||55||1/1,700||0/0||Pearl|
|3||Roger M. Keithly||Pearl||9/10/44||44||4/8,100||0/0||Midway|
|4||Roger M. Keithly||Midway||11/15/44||48||1/900||1/527||Pearl|
|5||Walter F. Schlech, Jr.||Pearl||1/31/45||56||1/700||1/492||Pearl|
|6||Walter F. Schlech, Jr.||Pearl||8/45||33||0/0||0/0||Pearl|