On March 5, 1944, TULLIBEE, commanded by Cmdr.
C.F. Brindupke, departed Pearl Harbor to start her fourth war
patrol. She stopped at Midway to top off with fuel, and having
left that place on March 14, she was not heard from again. The
area assigned to TULLIBEE was an open sea area north of Palau,
and she was to cooperate with surface forces in the first
carrier strike on Palau.
TULLIBEE was to
leave her area not later than April 24, 1944, and on that date a
dispatch was sent directing her to proceed to Majuro for refit.
She was expected at Majuro about 4 May, but instructions stated
that a submarine unable to transmit would not go to Majuro, but
to Midway. On May 6, 1944, Midway was alerted for a submarine
returning without transmission facilities, but the lookout was
not rewarded and TULLIBEE was presumed lost on May 15, 1944.
following story of TULLIBEE’s loss is taken from a statement
made by the lone survivor, C.W. Kuykendall, GM2c. He reports
that the boat arrived on station, March 25, and on the night of
March 26 radar contact was found to be on a convoy consisting of
a large troop and cargo ship, two medium sized freighters, two
escort vessels and a large destroyer.
solved the convoy’s speed and course, TULLIBEE made several
surface runs on the large transport, but held fire, being unable
to see her due to squally weather. The escorts had detected the
submarine’s presence, and dropped 15 to 20 depth charges. The
submarine came in to 3,000 yards, still unable to see the
target, and fired two bow tubes. A minute or two later a
terrific concussion shook the boat, and Kuykendall, who had been
on the bridge, soon found himself struggling in the water. Since
range and bearing of escorts were known, the survivor states
that he is sure the explosion was the result of a circular run
of one of TULLIBEE’s torpedoes.
were shouting men in the water when Kuykendall first regained
consciousness after the blast, but after about ten minutes
everything was silent, and he never again saw or heard any of
the other TULLIBEE men. At 1000 on March 27, an escort vessel
located the swimming man, and after firing on him with machine
guns, came in and picked him up. He learned here that the
transport they had fired at had sunk.
story of his captivity is much the same as the stories of
survivors of GRENADIER, SCULPIN, TANG, PERCH and other U.S.
submarines. He was questioned assiduously by English speaking
officers, and beaten when he refused to give any more
information than international law required. In April 1944, he
was taken to Ofuna Naval Interrogation Camp, where he stayed
until September 30th. From that date until rescue on September
4, 1945, he was forced to work in the copper mines of Ashio.
submarine began her career in the Submarine Force in July 1943,
with a patrol in the western Caroline Islands. In this patrol
she sank one freighter and damaged another. Her second patrol
was in the area south of Formosa off the China coast; here she
sank a transport ship and damaged a large tanker and another
transport. Son her third patrol, in the Marianas area, TULLIBEE
sank a small freighter. This gave TULLIBEE a total of three
ships sunk, totaling 15,500 tons, and three damaged for 22,000