The history of the USS Irex SS-482:
Snorkeling in New London, August 1947–April 1951
Under Captains Moore and Robinson

Captain Ward was relieved on 23 August 1947 by CDR Richard A. Moore, who served until 13 January 1949. Ray Swanbeck was the XO, and the COB at about this time was GMC Spencer.

[ Irex 1948 ]

In February 1948, the Irex successfully completed her sea trials and turned to routine fleet operations, although there is some indication that the first order of business was to introduce some modifications based on the sea-trial experience.

The Irex now reported to New London to join Submarine Squadron 8 as the U.S. Navy's first operational snorkel submarine, and this marks the official date for the introduction of the snorkel. The Irex was designated a “fleet-snorkel” boat rather than the modernized “guppy” type, which was also equipped with a snorkel.

[ steaming ] From February the Irex entered a year of extensive fleet operations. with U.S. and NATO forces, A brief newspaper report states that the Irex returned from a month long east coast patrol under Captain Moore on 27 March 1948. She then tested how long the boat could snorkel by snorkeling to the Mediterranean.

Jim Reynolds has written an interesting account of this attempt to snorkel for thirty days across the Atlantic. This adventure began with a Bermuda fling, which he vividly describes, and from there the Irex followed Columbus's track from San Salvador to the Azores and Portugal, but underwater. The run submerged to Bermuda was for 144 hours, and the second was for 470 hours, a new record.

On 21 August 1948, the Irex did two dives opposite Pier 1 in support of the Sub Base Charity Bazaar.

In January 1949 Captain Moore was relieved by CDR Leslie Somers Robinson. The officers serving in about March 1949 were LCDR L.S. Robinson, Commanding Officer, LCDR J.R. Swanbeck, Executive Officer, LT R.E. Standard, Gunnery Officer, LT D.J. Jacques, Engineering, LTJG A.K, Keevil, Communications, LTJG J.G. Gordon, Assistant Engineering, and ENS R.S. Leddick, Supply Officer. This information was kindly provided by Harvey Westfall. At some point in 1949 the XO became Benjamin Byrnside.

[ COB Blevins ] The COB was TMC E.G. “Bill” Blevins. Bevin's son reports that his dad and mother are still doing well and live in Alabama. The “Submarine Runs over Car” story was one of his favorites.

On 6 January 1949, the boat headed to the Charleston Naval Shipyard for a three-month routine overhaul, which was completed on 14 April 1949. The shakedown cruise following the overhaul was to St. Thomas, where the boat stayed over for two days after loading the magazine with rum (under lock and key, of course).

The trip to St. Thomas was interrupted by a run to Bermuda to discharge one man for illness. The stopover in Bermuda was for only twenty minutes.

The Irex then returned to Squadron Eight in New London.

On 17 June 1949 the decklog of the Sumner (DD-692) notes that it was proceeding to a rendezvous off Chesapeak Bay for anti-submarine operations. At 0821 the Irex submerged to periscope depth, and later the Sumner dropped two depth charges on her presumed location.

I lack information concerning operations of the Irex in 1950.

On 28 April 1951 Captain Robinson was relieved by LCDR McCarty.

History index
History 1951–1954