World War II Sub To Be Moved to New Berth
MANITOWOC, Wis. (AP) _ Retired U.S. Navy Capt. Albert Becker, who fired the torpedoes when the USS Cobia sank Japanese ships, made one last trip aboard the World War II submarine Wednesday.
Becker, 74, the first officer to command the Cobia, stood on the conning tower as the submarine was towed about a quarter mile down the Manitowoc River, turned around and docked on the other side of the river at the Manitowoc Maritime Museum site.
Thousands of people lined the riverbanks to watch and a U.S. Navy band played ″Anchors Aweigh″ as two tug boats pulled the submarine to its new berth as part of the $2.1 million museum.
Becker, whose first command during a 34-year navy career was the Cobia, said the submarine built by Electric Boat Co. in Connecticut has a proud history.
The submarine’s first patrol was off the Bonin Islands just north of Iwo Jima before the American landings there, he said. The Cobia sank four large ships with torpedoes and five small ships by gunfire.
″Our most significant sinking was of a large troopship bringing a battalion of Japanese soldiers to Iwo Jima,″ Becker said. ″We learned later that the battalion lost all their equipment and a third of their men.″
Under Becker, the Cobia made its second patrol between the Philippines and Formosa (Taiwan) and three more from Perth in western Australia. The Cobia also rescued downed U.S. airmen in the waters between the Philippines and Vietnam.
″Our last patrol was in the Gulf of Siam,″ Becker said. ″We sank two Japanese landing craft carriers and an oil tanker and a Siamese wooden freighter.″ The Siamese were allies of the Japanese.
The Cobia was decommissioned in 1946 and returned to service in 1951 as a training vessel. The Cobia was based in Milwaukee as a training ship for naval reservists from 1959 until 1970 when she was sent to Manitowoc. Many World War II submarines were built at the shipyards in Manitowoc.
Becker, of Brookhaven, Mass., visited Manitowoc two years ago when 32 former crew members held a reunion aboard ship.