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SSO-362 Guavina

Guavina (SS-362) was laid down 3 March 1943 by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company, Manitowoc, WI as a Balao-class submarine. GUAVINA received five battle stars for World War II service. On 6 December 1945 she was decommissioned.

From March 1949, GUAVINA underwent extensive overhaul and modification for conversion to a submarine oiler at Mare Island, and was even equipped with a snorkel. GUAVINA recommissioned in the active fleet as SSO-362 6 February 1952 at Mare Island. After operations along the West Coast, she sailed to Norfolk via Balboa and San Juan 24 July to 25 August. Further operations out of Norfolk were followed by overhaul at Philadelphia and on 29 January 1951, GUAVINA reported to Key West, her new homeport.

Operating out of Key West, GUAVINA cruised to the Caribbean and up the East Coast to Nova Scotia to test the concept of fueling seaplanes and other submarines, although most of her work was in the Gulf of Mexico and the Straits of Florida. After overhaul at Philadelphia 18 April to 26 July 1552, GUAVINA was redesignated AGSS-362. Two more years of operations along the East Coast and in the Gulf were followed by a second extensive overhaul at Philadelphia. To aid refueling, GUAVINA gained a large, raised platform over the after torpedo room, which was soon dubbed the "flight deck."

And a flight deck it soon became as in January 1956 GUAVINA began testing the concept of mobile support of seaplanes from a submarine oiler. After an initial 2-week trial period, GUAVINA and a variety of seaplanes carried out refueling development for most of 1956. Sailing from Charleston 18 September, the submarine headed for the Mediterranean. After her 2-month deployment there with the 6th Fleet and Patrol Squadron 56, GUAVINA returned to Key West 1 December, then put into Charleston for overhaul.

The Navy planned to use submarines to refuel the new jet powered P6M flying boats. As part of this program Guavina was converted to carry 160,000 gallons for aviation fuel, with blisters added to her sides and two stern torpedo tubes were removed. When the P6M project was canceled, there was no further need for submarine tankers.

Emerging from overhaul 12 July 1957 with the new designation (AOSS-362), GUAVINA resumed her established pattern of testing various applications of submarine oiler and seaplane refueling concepts, operating principally in the Caribbean. Ranging along the coast from New London to Bermuda, she also engaged in antisubmarine exercises and other peacetime training missions. GUAVINA sailed into the Charleston Navy Yard 4 January 1959, going into reserve. She served as a training ship for reservists in the 5th Naval District until struck from the Navy List 30 June 1967 and used as a target for USS CUBERA (SS-347) off Cape Henry.

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Page last modified: 22-07-2011 17:42:48 ZULU