Launched at the Fore River Shipbuilding Company on 23 September 1918, R-2 was commissioned at Boston on 24 January 1919, with Lieutenant Commander Charles M. Cooke, Jr. in command.
Following trials, R-2 was assigned to New London, joining SubDiv 9. She was transferred to the Pacific in 1921. In 1923 she joined SubDiv 9, Pacific Fleet, in Hawaii, where she remained for 8 years.
Reassigned to the Atlantic Fleet, R-2 arrived back at New London on 9 February 1931. There she was attached to SubDiv 4, serving as a training vessel at the Submarine School, as well as for the Yale NROTC unit.
In June 1941, R-2 was transferred to Key West, where she would remain for the rest of her service. Attached to the Fleet Sonar School, she would also make a few defensive patrols. In May 1945, she was sent to Philadelphia, where she was decommissioned on 10 May 1945, and stricken on 2 June. She was scrapped in early 1946.
Builder: Fore River
Sponsor: Mrs. C.M. Cooke
First Captain: LCDR Charles M. Cooke, Jr