The second Argonaut (SS-475) submarine was laid down on 28 June 1944, at the Portsmouth Navy Yard. Launched on 1 October 1944, she was sponsored by Mrs. Allen R. McCann. Commissioned on 15 January 1945, her first commanding officer was Lieutenant Commander John S. Schmidt.
Following shakedown in the Portsmouth area, she sailed for Key West on 14 April 1945, where she conducted special tests for lighter-than-air craft and participated in training with the Fleet Sound School. Argonaut left Florida on 13 May and, after transiting the Panama Canal and additional training off Balboa, reached Pearl Harbor on 11 June. She spent the next two weeks conducting voyage repairs and doing yet more training, then departed on her first (and only) war patrol on 28 June 1945.
Argonaut arrived in Saipan on 10 July, where she took on fuel, and then patrolled in the Formosa Strait and the East China and Yellow Seas. She picked up a downed aviator on 16 July, later transferring him to U.S.S. Quillback (SS-424). Her only attack occured on 12 August, when she destroyed a 25-ton junk by gunfire. On 13 August, Argonaut spent several hours working into position to attack what was tentatively identified as a Japanese submarine. At the last minute the target disappeared, and Schmidt later wrote that he suspected the target might have had radar detection gear, or even a 10 cm radar set, and had been aware of their presence for some time. This missed opportunity was their last of the war, as the order to stand down was received three days later.
Argonaut ended her patrol at Guam on 21 August, and departed for home on 1 September. She arrived in New York on 4 October, then proceeded to Portsmouth for overhaul. Early in 1946,Argonaut was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet. While en route to Panama, she collided with the light cruiser Honolulu (CL-48) of the east coast between New York and Philadelphia. Both ships sustained only minor damage, and Argonaut was able to continue on the Panama. Later in 1946 Argonaut was reassigned to SubRon 2 at New London, Connecticut.
In July 1952, Argonaut entered the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for conversion to a Fleet Snorkel boat. This involved addition of a snorkel, and the installation of a streamlined conning tower fairwater, allowing greater underwater endurance. The Fleet Snorkel program was intended to extend the usefulness of the fleet type submarines, but involved less expense and less extensive modifications that the GUPPY progam, which also included steamlining the superstructure and replacement of the batteries and electric motors.
Argonaut was assigned to New London until July 1955, when she was reassigned to SubRon 6 at Norfolk, Virginia. Following that move she was converted to a guided-missile submarine, equipped with the Regulus I missile.
In 1958 she was reassigned to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she remained for the next year. She returned to Norfolk in 1958. A 1960 overhaul saw the removal of her missile equipment. After this, she continued routine training duties, mostly as a target for surface anti-submarine warfare training.
In October 1962, Argonaut saw service during the Cuban Missile Crisis, serving as part of the blockading squadron. This was followed by another overhaul, this time at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Following refresher training at New London, and additional training off the Virginia Capes, she departed for the Mediterranean on 19 August 1962, for service with the Sixth Fleet. She returned to her home port on 15 December.
The next several years consisted of training duties, as well as deployments in European waters. On 2 December 1968 here long active service with the United States Navy came to an end as she was decommissioned and stricken from the Navy List.
This did not, however, end her active service. Argonaut was sold to Canada, where she entered service as HMCS Rainbow. Her Canadian service lasted until 1974, and she was finally sold for scrapping in 1977.
|HISTORY FOR U.S.S. Argonaut (2)|
|10/1/44||Portsmouth||Mrs. Allen R. McCann||1/15/45||LCDR John S. Schmidt||Canada 1968|
|1||John S. Schmidt||Pearl Harbor||6/45||52||0/0||0/0||Guam|
Recommended Reading:U.S.S. Argonaut (SM-1 & SS-475): American Submarine War Patrol Reports (American Submarine War Patrol Reports Series Riverdale Books)