Launched one year to the day after the events of December 7, 1941, the submarine USS Bowfin, dubbed the “Pearl Harbor Avenger,” completed nine successful patrols before eventually arriving at her final, peacetime berth in the waters of Pearl Harbor.
Like her namesake – a scrappy, mean-looking fish with powerful jaws, sharp teeth, and a voracious appetite – the Bowfin proved to be a formidable underwater adversary, sinking 44 enemy ships during the war. Today, the Bowfin is a National Historic Landmark and museum ship where visitors from all over the world are able to experience what it was like to live and work aboard a World War II-era sub.
Located within walking distance of the Arizona Memorial, the Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park boasts a 10,000-square-foot interior featuring over 4,000 submarine-related artifacts, from recruiting posters to battle flags, and one-of-a-kind exhibits including a cutaway Poseidon missile with its inner workings on full display.
Strolling through the park grounds, visitors will discover an authentic Japanese Kaiten, or manned, Torpedo, as well as the intact conning tower and periscope of the USS Parche, a contemporary of the Bowfin‘s and one of the most decorated World War II-era subs in the Pacific Fleet.
Every year, thousands pay their respects at the Park’s Waterfront Memorial, a fitting tribute to the 52 American submarines lost during the war and the brave servicemen who gave their lives to the Silent Service.
Dedicated to the 52 submarines and more than 3,500 officers and crewmen lost during World War II. This memorial honors their enduring memory by telling the story of each lost submarine and listing those submariners lost in this epic struggle.
Ever heard of receiving your mail via a missile? Sounds crazy, but see a Regulus missile, the earliest attempt at taking missiles to sea on a submarine for deterrent purposes. This missile was the harbinger of things to come, paving the way for the Polaris ’41 for Freedom’ Program that was one of the legs of the strategic Triad providing a protective deterrent umbrella for the United States during the Cold War. Check out this improvement on German World War II V-1 Bomb technology.
USS Parche (SS-384) – Conning Tower
On display is the conning tower of the famed World War II submarine USS Parche (SS-348). Visitors may walk through the cramped space from where submerged attacks were conducted, and also look through two periscopes mounted just outside the conning tower.
See a modified Imperial Japanese Navy Long Lance Torpedo that was improved to be a human guided torpedo approximately 54 feet long and over 18 tons with a 3,000 pound warhead. Learn more about this exciting Japanese weapon and how it came into existence.
McCann Rescue Chamber
The only successful rescue of men from a sunken American submarine played a key role in saving 33 officers and crew from the sunken USS Squalus in May 1939. Check out the chamber and then see the artifacts in the museum that show the bravery of these intrepid heroes.
Hanging from above the WWII section of the museum are reproduction battle flags of U. S. submarines that fought the war in the Pacific. The original battle flags are kept for conservation. These flags are individually designed by the crewmen of the different boats, the creativity, style and design of each varies. The one element common to all of them is the pride of the men who served.
How big is a ballistic missile? Imagine being on a submarine crew with 16 missiles ready to fire. One is on display at USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park with all of its electronics, hydraulics, and propulsion elements accessible.
The Park features the World War II submarine, USS Bowfin (SS-287). The Museum features a variety of Bowfin artifacts including flags and models, telling the story of Bowfin‘s nine successful war patrols.