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James H. Blessing
TM1, United States Navy
Armed with the pride born of her successes on eleven previous war patrols, GUDGEON, under Lieutenant Commander R.A. Bonin, sailed from Pearl Harbor on April 4, 1944 to conduct her twelfth patrol in an open area in the northern Marianas. She left Johnston Island on April 7, 1944, after having topped off with fuel, and was never heard from again.

Originally scheduled to leave her area on 16 May, she was ordered on May 11th to depart her area in time to take station for a special assignment. An acknowledgment for this message was required and when none was received, it was asked for again on May 12th. On May 14th, her special assignment was give to another submarine, and GUDGEON was told to return to Midway. She should have arrived at Midway about May 23rd, but failed to do so and on June 7th she was reported as presumed lost.


USS Gudgeon (SS-211)

GUDGEON sailed for her 12th war patrol 4 April 1944.The battle-tested submarine stopped off at Johnston Island 7 April, and was never seen or heard from again. On 7 June 1944, GUDGEON was officially declared overdue and presumed lost.

Captured Japanese records shed no lighton the manner of her loss, and it must remain one ofthe mysteries of the silent sea.

Mr. Michael Ostlund, nephew of one of the officers aboard has done some research on the loss of the boat and has published his results in the Submarine Review.

JH Blessing Gravesite PHOTO

JH Blessing Gravesite PHOTO
Photos Courtesy of Roxsanne Wells-Layton, 4 September 2006


Posted:4 September 2006
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