Due to the flooding of the Arkansas River, the USS Batfish has taken once again to the water. The WWII era submarine has been landlocked since 1973 at the Muskogee War Memorial Park in Oklahoma. The flooding this year is the worst on the Arkansas since 1943, when the Batfish first entered WWII.
The last time the Arkansas flooded enough to float the Batfish was 1986, when the sub almost broke a line and floated away downstream. The moorings of the landlocked submarine have been strengthened since the ’86 flood, still concerns remained. When the Batfish first started to rise with the water, she was listing considerably. Firemen then filled the sub’s ballast to right the sub.
The USS Batfish has a distinguished history. During its two years of service in WWII, the USS Batfish fired 71 torpedoes, sinking 15 ships total, officially credited with 9 Japanese ships sunk. During its sixth war patrol in the South China Sea, the Batfish and her crew sank three Japanese submarines over a 76 hour period. The Batfish received six battle stars for her WWII service.
For six years after WWII, the Batfish was used as a training submarine. She then went back to active duty, serving 5 years in the Korean War, spending much of her time in Caribbean waters. After Korea, she saw another decade of training exercise, before being decommissioned for a final time in November of 1969.