July 26, 1944 -- 81 Men Lost
A beautiful 1.75 inch brass coin honoring the men of World War II who gave their lives fighting for our country...
The front of the coin honors the USS Robalo SS 273. The back has the following quote:
"To the 374 officers and 3131 men of the Submarine Force who gave their lives in the winning of this war, I can assure you that they went down fighting and that their brothers who survived them took a grim toll of our savage enemy to avenge their deaths."
-Vice Admiral C.A. Lockwood, Jr.
Commander Submarine Force, 1943 - 1946
About the USS Robalo SS-273...
ROBALO under Cmdr. M.M. Kimmel, departed Fremantle on June 22, 1944 to conduct her third war patrol in the South China Sea in the vicinity of the Natuna Islands. After traversing Makassar and Balabac Straits, she was to arrive on station about July 6th and stay there until dark on August 2, 1944.
On July 2nd a contact report stated ROBALO had sighted a Fuso-class battle ship with air cover and two destroyers for escort, just east of Borneo. No other messages were received from ROBALO and when she did not return from patrol, she was reported as presumed lost.
The following information was received via the Philippine guerrillas and an U.S. Navy enlisted man who was a prisoner of war at Puerto Princesa Prison Camp, Palawan, P.I. On August 2, 1944, a note dropped from the window of the prison cell in which survivors from ROBALO were held was picked up by an American soldier in a work detail and given to H.D. Hough, Y2c, USN, another prisoner. On 4 August, Hough contacted Mrs. Trinidad Mendosa, wife of guerrilla leader Dr. Mendosa, who furnished further information on the survivors. From these sources, he put together the following facts.
ROBALO was sunk July 26, 1944, two miles off the western coast of Palawan Island as a result of an explosion of her after battery. Four men swam ashore, an officer and three enlisted men: Samuel L. Tucker, Ens.; Floyd G. Laughlin, QM1c; Wallace K. Martin, SM3c, and Mason C. Poston, EM2c. They made their way through the jungles to a small barrio northwest of the Puerto Princesa camp. They were captured there by Japanese Military Police, and confined in the jail. They were held for guerrilla activities rather than as prisoners of war, it is said. On August 15, 1944, a Japanese destroyer evacuated them, and nothing further is known of their destination or whereabouts. The Japanese may have executed them or the destroyer may have been sunk. At any rate, they were never recovered and their note stated that there were no other survivors.
It is doubted that a battery explosion could be sufficiently violent to cause the sinking of the ship; more likely ROBALO struck an enemy mine.
In her first patrol, in the area west of the Philippines, ROBALO damaged a large enemy freighter. Her second patrol was in the South China Sea near Indo-China where she sank a 7,500-ton tanker.
NOTE: The location of the sinking, previously listed as "two miles off the west coast of Palawan Island, PI," has been changed to "Probably off the east coast of Balabac Island, PI," to reflect current research.
Would make an excellent addition to your collection or for your favorite sailor! Collect the entire series!
OPTIONAL: Our Air-Tite acrylic cases provide the ultimate long-term protection for your coin. They are made of crystal clear, hard Acrylic and will never yellow over time; the foam rings are made of Volara and both are free of PVC that could damage your coin.