USS GROUPER (SS-214) was laid down by the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT 28 Dec 1940 as a Gato-class fleet boat. In 1946 GROUPER became the first submarine to have a Combat Information Center installed.
On 05 March 1950 GROUPER entered the Mare Island Ship Yard for conversion to the Navy's first "killer" submarine. Her classification was changed to SSK-214 on 2 January 1951. With the addition of a snorkel and extensive sonar and radar facilities GROUPER emerged from the yard 27 June 1951 to pioneer in research on the deadly submarine-versus-submarine warfare. For the next 8 years, as a unit of Submarine Development Group 2, GROUPER worked to develop and test concepts of hunter-killer antisubmarine warfare. In this duty she ranged along the East Coast from Nova Scotia to Florida as well as participating in Caribbean exercises. In 1953 and 1955 exercises took GROUPER across the Atlantic to Rothesay, Scotland, via Iceland. In the fall of 1957 she then participated in NATO maneuvers. GROUPER was reclassified AG(SS)-214, 17 May 1958, and on 28 November 1959 she entered the Portsmouth, N.H., Navy Yard for extensive modification.
Angler was decommissioned and entered the General Dynamics Corp. yard at Groton, Conn., for overhaul and conversion. She was redesignated SSK-240 in February 1953. Upon completion of overhaul, Angler was recommissioned in September 1953 and rejoined the Atlantic Fleet. Following her shakedown in the West Indies from November through March 1954, she returned to New London. She then operated along the east coast and in the West Indies for the next two years, taking part in numerous Atlantic Fleet exercises, and spent the period from January through April 1956 undergoing overhaul at the Portsmouth (N.H.) Naval Shipyard. Angler made a training cruise to the West Indies, then returned to the east coast. On 3 November, Angler once again entered the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for overhaul. Repairs were completed in March 1959, and the submarine resumed her schedule of operations and exercises along the east coast. She also rendered services to the Submarine School, New London. In 1960, the ship was redesignated as SS-240.
Between May 1952 and March 1953 Bashaw (SS-241) underwent conversion at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard to an anti-submarine submarine and was reclassified SSK-241, 18 February 1953. Bashaw was recommissioned 28 March 1953 and reported to Submarine Division 33 at San Diego. Between March and August 1954 Bashaw made a Far Eastern cruise. During the following year she took part in several type exercises, including one major exercise in the Hawaiian area, before being overhauled at San Francisco. Between January and August 1956 Bashaw conducted her second postwar tour of the Far East. On 14 August 1956 she arrived at the Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor. She was subsequently decommissioned and stricken 13 September 1969 and reportedly sunk as a target in July 1972.
On 7 July 1952 Bluegill (SS-242) was placed out of commission in reserve and underwent conversion to a "killer" submarine. Conversion completed, she was reclassified SSK-242 and recommissioned 2 May 1953. On 2 November 1953 Bluegill was deployed to the Western Pacific where she participated in training exercises and operations with various United Nations forces. She returned to San Diego 15 May 1954 and took part in intensive anti-submarine exercises with other fleet units in the area. On 1 July 1955 Bluegill's home port was changed to Pearl Harbor and since that time she has conducted two cruises in the Far East and local operations in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands before being decommission and stricken 28 June 1969. She was subsequently sunk in Hawaiian waters to be used as a salvage trainer.
On 10 September 1952 Bream (SS-243) went out of commission in reserve at San Francisco. BREAM was converted to a killer submarine and reclassified SSK-243, 18 February 1953. Following recommissioning 20 June 1953, BREAM participated in all phases of peacetime submarine operations in the Pacific Ocean. She conducted an Alaskan training cruise in September 1954, returning to San Diego 5 November 1954 via Pearl Harbor. BREAM carried out operations off California until she made another trip to Pearl Harbor during 7-24 May 1955. Her next departure from the west coast was on 6 March 1956 for a cruise in the Western Pacific, which terminated at San Francisco in early 1957. On 7 November 1969 she was sunk as a target off the coast of Southern California by SCULPIN (SSN-590).
CAVALLA (SS-244) was placed out of commission 3 September 1952 and entered Electric Boat Co. yard for conversion to a hunter-killer submarine (reclassified SSK-244, 18 February 1953). CAVALLA was recommissioned 15 July 1953 and assigned to Submarine Squadron 10. Her new sonar made CAVALLA valuable for experimentation and she was transferred to Submarine Development Group 2 on 1 January 1954, to evaluate new weapons and equipment, and participate in fleet exercises. She also cruised to European waters several times to take part in North Atlantic Treaty Organization exercises, and visited Norfolk, Va. for the International Naval Review (11-12 June 1957). She remained active with the Fleet through 1963; on 15 August 1959, her classification reverted to SS-244. She was decommissioned 30 Dec 1969. Stricken from the Navy Register on 30 December 1969, CAVALLA has been a memorial at Galveston, Texas since 21 January 1971.
Croaker (SS-246) decommissioned at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for conversion to a hunter-killer submarine. She was reclassified SSK-246 on 9 April 1953, and was recommissioned 11 December 1953 as a hunter-killer submarine. A new sail had been fitted, along with a snorkel and a long range sonar in a bulb on the bow. This cost her two of her six bow torpedo tubes, but increased her underwater listening capability immensely. Much of her equipment was given special silencing treatment to reduce her noise underwater. Returning to active duty in February 1954, she operated along the east coast and in the Caribbean, visiting ports in England while taking part in NATO exercises in 1957 and 1958. Special submarine exercises took her to England once more in February 1960, after which she resumed local operations out of New London. In September 1960, CROAKER departed on a cruise which saw her sailing through the Mediterranean and Suez Canal to call at various Near Eastern ports and Karachi, Pakistan. She returned to New London in mid-December, retracing her outward track. She was decommissioned 2 Apr 1968 and transferred to the Naval Reserve for use as a trainer and she spent the next three years, until 1971, in this capacity. She was stricken 20 Dec 1971. In 1976 Croaker was transferred to the Submarine Memorial Association in Groton, Connecticut. In 1988 she was moved to Buffalo to become a part of the Buffalo Naval and Servicemen's Park. She is now in the company of USS Little Rock (CLG-4), and USS The Sullivans (DD-537).
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