The USS Irex SS-482 First Snorkeler' in the Fleet

The Dolphin, Friday 5 August 1955

As Mrs. Allen B. Ellender, wife of Senator Ellender of Louisiana, smashed the bottle of champagne over her bow, the submarine USS Irex (SS-482) slid down the ways at Portsmouth (N.H.) Naval Shipyard. beginning her career in the ”silent service” on January 25, 1945.

Rear Admiral Thomas Withers, Commandant of the Portsmouth Naval shipyard, had the honor of putting this fleet type submarine into commission on May 14, 1945. Commander Jack D. Crowley, former skipper of the submarine Flier, which had struck a mine in the Pacific, took command of the Irex.

After two months of rigorous and realistic training in the New London area, Irex sailed south for the Panama Canal; her ultimate destination: the war zones of the Western Pacific. But her crew was to be deprived of the action they so eagerly awaited, for “V-J” day came while the Irex was training in the Panama area. She was then ordered to Key West, Florida, for duty with Submarine Squadron 4.

By December 1946, the Navy had completed plans for snorkel installation in our submarines. The Irex was the first U.S. sub to be equipped with this new breathing device, which was invented by the Dutch and developed by the Germans to permit their U-Boats to remain submerged while operating on diesel engines.

Irex reported to her home yard at Portsmouth for conversion. There she underwent a change of hull design for the fitting out of the revolutionary snorkel. When she emerged from the yard, Irex had the “new look” in submarines.

In the summer of 1947 Irex commenced her snorkel sea trials. Operating until February, 1948, she put the new equipment though its paces, evaluating it in all phases of operations and under all types of weather conditions. Upon completion of these tests, and resulting modifications of the snorkel, Irex reported for duty as a unit of Squadron 8 here.

After a year of extensive fleet operations with U.S. and NATO forces, Irex proceeded to the Charleston (S.C.) Naval Shipyard for a three-month overhaul. Upon completion of her refitting period, she conducted a shake-down cruise in the Caribbean Sea, visiting St. Thomas, V.I.

In 1952, Irex was cited by ComSubLant for having achieved the highest standards of battle efficiency in Squadron 8 during the fiscal year.

One of the most active boats of our submarine fleet, Irex has taken part in many fleet exercises, including: PORTREX, MICOWEX, LANTFLEX 52, CONVEX II, PACKEX I and SPRINGBOARD 55.

Since her commissioning Irex has made various Caribbean and Mediterranean areas. Among these were Halifax, Havana, San Juan, and Gibraltar, and ports in Italy, Spain, Portugal and France.

Other Commanding Officers of the Irex have been Cdr N.G. Ward, Cdr. R.A. Moore, Cdr L.S. Robinson, Lcdr. McCarty and Lcdr R. W. Phipps.

[ Lcd E.K. Snyder ] Her present commanding officer is Lcdr. Edwin K. Snyder, son of Mr. and Mrs. Snyder of 823 Colonial Court, Birmingham, Mich. He has been skipper since August 1954.

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, class of 1943, Lcdr Snyder attended the Submarine School here in September-December of the same year. During World War II, he participated in six war patrols in the Pacific.

After serving more than four years aboard the submarines Hake (SS-256), Diablo (SS-479) and Irex (SS-482) he attended the Deep Sea Divers' School in Washington, D.C. In March 1949, Lcdr. Snyder became Executive Officer of the submarine rescue vessel Greenlet (ASR-10). from 1950-52 he served at the Fleet Sonar School, San Diego, Calif. His next tour of duty was aboard the submarine Catfish (SS-339) as Executive Officer. Irex if Lcdr. Snyder's first command.

Lieutenant Commander and Mrs. Snyder, the former Nancy E. McCarty of Detroit, Mich., reside with their four children at Harvard Terrace, Gales Ferry, Conn.

[ COB Larch ]

Aboard the longest and shorest period of time—J.B. Lynch, TM1, (left) who has been aboard the Irex the longest, five years, talks with Frederick Reising, FN (center) who has been aboard only 20 days, and Chief-of-the-Boat, L.J. Larch, TMC.

Irex has a complement of eight officer and 69 enlisted men. She is 311 feet long and displaced 1 850 tons on the surface. She is a unit of Submarine Division 81, under the command of Cdr. Frederick L. Taeusch, based at the Submarine Base here.

Like all Submarines, Irex is named after a fish. The Smithsonian Institute provides this information about her name-sake: “The Irex belongs to the Carandidae fish family, a large group which includes the Pompanos, Skipjacks, and many other related forms. Its scientific name is “Irex Americanus”, but more recently has been known as “Elagatis Bipinnulatus”. Irex is commonly known by sportsmen as the Rainbow Runner, and found in warm seas. As a game fish, it ranks with the Yellow Tail and takes lures of various kinds in trolling. Irex weights up to 12 ;pounds or more and is over three feet long. In coloration, the back is bluish to greenish, sides have a rainbow-like band with blues as the outstanding color, and its finds are yellowish-olive.”

The Irex, on the other hand, is gray, boasts the roomiest bridge in the Force, and sports a white “482” on her conning tower. She has made some 4,2000 dives, and her crew consider her the “tops”.


Lcd Edwin K. Snyder, USN
Commanding Officer

Lcdr Lando W. Zech, Jr., USN
Executive Officer


Linus J. Larch, TMC
Chief of the Boat