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U.S.S. Euryale's last voyage, in concert with

USS Current, ARS22

USS Current
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The story of Japanese submarines I-201 and I-203

Current arrived at Sasabo Harbor on January 8, 1946 and found Sasabo a wretched, burnt out city with an oily harbor and littered with sunken Japanese aircraft carriers, destroyers, submarines and other naval vessels. Sasabo's business district was totally destroyed by a B-29 fire bombing raid.

Current's assignment was to escort the newly built Japanese submarines, HIJMS I-201 and the HIJMS I-203 to Pearl Harbor. Two Navy prize crews were formed and trained to sail the I-201 and I-203 in the transpacific voyage to Pearl Harbor. After supplies and spare parts were taken onboard the submarines and preparations for sea completed, the formation left Sasabo at 0800, on a bleak, raw and windy morning of January 12, 1946.

Current departed Sasabo in accordance with CTU 55.5.3 instructions in a formation comprised of the submarine tender USS Euryale AS-22 as guide, the I-201, 1,500 yards astern, the I-203, 3,000 yards astern and Current 4,500 yards astern of the Euryale. The formation set an initial course of 180 true, to Guam. The formation was forced to ride out a severe typhoon and then slowed during the next few days to make engine repairs on both Japanese subs as well as the loss of steering on I-201.

At 1615, on January 20, the ships arrived in Guam to a noisy welcome and remained there for liberty until January 25, then departed for Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands. At 0900, on January 26, I-201 again had an engine failure so Current took I-201 in tow. The day before arrival at Eniwetok, I-203 had a major engine failure, forcing an additional night at sea. The formation arrived at Eniwetok on January 31.

The next planned leg of the voyage was to Johnston Island, but Commodore Stanley P. Moseley decided to skip the stop at Johnston Island and head straight for Pearl Harbor. Since the direct route from Eniwetok to Hawaii was beyond the cruising range of the two submarines and because of their gross fuel waste through leaky gaskets and engine inefficiencies, he decided that both subs should be towed. The formation was again underway at 0700, February 1.

Euryale began the towing of I-203 and Current resumed towing I-201 for the final leg of the voyage to Pearl Harbor. On February 14, the unique formation triumphantly arrived at Pearl Harbor solemnly dipping their ensigns in salute as they passed Battleship Row and the gutted hulk of the USS Arizona on their way to the sub base. The I-201 and I-203 were docked at the Pearl Harbor Submarine Base and placed in caretaker status with skeleton crews.

They were studied and eventually towed to sea off Oahu and scuttled. Shortly after arrivial at Pearl Harbor, Current refueled then departed for San Francisco, arriving at the Golden Gate Bridge on February 27, 1946, ending its involvement in the war in the Pacific. Current was awarded two battle stars for service during World War II.

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