USS Cavalla - SS-244

Interntational Call Sign: November-Bravo-Papa-Sierra 

Cavalla was a Gato class fleet sub, designed and built in the summer of 1943 by the Electric Boat Company and launched on November 14, 1943. She was commissioned on Feb. 29, 1944, the first “leap year” boat built by E.B.

From 1944-1946, Cavalla was an attack submarine, sinking over 34,000 tons of enemy shipping including the Imperial Japanese Navy’s carrier, Shokaku during the Battle of the Philippine Seas. After the war, she was decommissioned and placed in the Navy Reserve Fleet, New London CT. Decommissioned again after a tour with Submarine Squadron 8, the Electric Boat Company converted her into a hunter-killer submarine (SSK-244) on September 3, 1952. Cavalla was recommissioned and served with Submarine Squadron 10/Submarine Development group 2 to experiment with new sonar equipment.

USS Cavalla (SS-244) was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for actions on her first patrol near the Philippines from May 31 to Aug 3, 1944 under the command of Lt. Cdr. Herman J. Kossler (1911-1988). She was also awarded four Battle Stars for operations in the Pacific. The USS Cavalla is best know as the "Avenger of Pearl Harbor" and earned the prestigious Presidential Unit Citation for sinking the Japanese Aircraft Carrier, Shokaku, a vessel which attacked Pearl Harbor.

The Cavalla was decommissioned in 1946, but was brought back to service in 1951 and assigned to Submarine Squadron 10 in New London, CT. To meet the Cold War Soviet threat, she underwent conversion in 1952 to a new class of American sub–the SSK (hunter/killer) with a new bow and sonar. In 1963, she was again reclassified. This time to AGSS-244 as an Auxiliary Submarine with a continued experimentation mission. On 30 December, 1969, Cavalla was decommissioned for the final time and struck from the Naval Register List.​

On 21 Jan 1971, USS Cavalla became a museum ship at Seawolf Park, in Galveston, Texas. In 1971, the U.S. Navy transferred possession of Cavalla to the Texas Submarine Veterans of WWII as a memorial to the lost submarine USS Seawolf.

Berthed at Seawolf Park, many visitors refer to her as the “Seawolf”, mistaking the name of the memorial park for that of the submarine on exhibit there. Saved from the scrap yard, Cavalla continues to be a “Lucky Lady.”

The USS Cavalla is on the National Register of Historic Places.


Museum info: Galveston Naval Museum
Address: 100 Seawolf Parkway, Galveston, TX 77551
Phone: (409) 770-3196
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