Rescue Mission Gone Wrong

10 May 1921 – Submarine R – 14 (SS – 91) was part of a search operation for missing Navy Tug USS Conestoga Approximately 100 miles Southeast of Hawaii. The R-14 was forced to give up the search when it discovered its auxiliary fuel tank, which should have held 10,000 gallons was actually empty; further hampered by a disabled radio and concerned the ships batteries would deplete the ship drifted until the crew fashioned three sails from bunks and various hammocks, blankets and bunk frames. The jury-rigged three sailed submarine, over the course of the next 64 hours managed to ‘sail’ into the harbor of Hilo on the morning of 15 May. Once safely moored word was sent to Pearl Harbor which dispatched fuel to the idled boat, ending the crews brief ‘Liberty’ on Hilo as the boat then returned to Pearl.

© Gregg Smith

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