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The United States Navy Memorial

Navy Memorial Honoring the Men & Women of the Sea Services

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R-12

Ship Designation: 
SS-89
Date Lost: 
Saturday, June 12, 1943
Flooded During Training Exercise

R-12 (Lt. Cdr. E.E. Shelby) was lost between 1220 and 1225 on 12 June 1943 at Latitude 24°24’30” North and Longitude 81°31’30” West in 600 feet of water with the loss of 42 lives. The personnel on the bridge, two officers, including the Commanding Officer, and three enlisted men were the only survivors. Those missing consisted of fours U.S. Naval officers, two Brazilian Naval officers, and thirty-six U.S. Naval enlisted men.

At the time of the accident, R-12 was engaged in normal operations off Key West, Florida, being underway to take up her position for a torpedo practice approach. She was rigged for diving (except main induction was open and batteries were ventilating into the engine room) and riding the vents. The Commanding Officer was on the bridge in the act of turning the Officer of the Deck watch over to another officer when the collision alarm sounded from below and the report that the forward battery was flooding was passed to the bridge. Although the Commanding Officer gave immediate orders to blow main ballast and close the hatches, the ship sank in an estimated fifteen seconds from the time the alarm was sounded until the bridge was completely underwater.

It was the opinion of the Court of Inquiry that the cause of the loss of R-12 was unknown but probably was the rapid flooding of the forward part of the ship through a torpedo tube.

 In 2011 an expedition team aboard the RV Tiburon located and documented the wreck of the USS R-12.  Further work is planned for 2012.

Lost At Sea Log

Number of sailors in this log: 42

Name Service Branchsort descending
LT A.G.D. ALMEIDA
LT J.L. DE MOURA
CRM ELMER  HARMAN USN
F1 LYLE SCHNAKE USN
LTJG J. HORTON USN
F2 CRAIG SCOTT USN
TM1 JOSEPH HORVATH USN
RM2 HOWARD SECOR USN
S2 HOWARD KNAPP USN
F3 HARRY SHELLENBERGER USN
CMoMM EVERETT KRIGBAUM USN
S2 GRANBY SMITH USN
MoMM2 LELAND KYMER USN
LT--XO R. STARKS USN
EM3 GENERAL BACON USN
S1 CHARLES LE VAN USN
RM3 DONALD SULLIVAN USN
F2 ROBERT BRONSON USN
TM3 HENRY LOBECK USN
S2 RUDOLPH THOMPSON USN

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